Oxford Internet Institute

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Front door of the Oxford Internet Institute on St Giles, Oxford.

The Oxford Internet Institute (OII) is a multi-disciplinary department of social and computer science dedicated to the study of information, communication, and technology, and is part of the Social Sciences Division of the University of Oxford, England. It is housed over three sites on St Giles in Oxford, including a primary site at 1 St Giles, owned by Balliol College. The department undertakes research and teaching devoted to understanding life online, with the aim of shaping Internet research, policy, and practice.

Founded in 2001, the OII has tracked the Internet's development and use, aiming to shed light on individual, collective and institutional behaviour online. The department brings together academics from a wide range of disciplines including political science, sociology, geography, economics, philosophy, physics and psychology.

The current director is Professor Victoria Nash.[1]


Research at the OII covers a huge variety of topics, with faculty publishing journal articles and books on issues including privacy and security, e-government and e-democracy, virtual economies, smart cities, digital exclusion, digital humanities, online gaming, big data and Internet geography. The OII currently has the following research clusters reflecting the diverse expertise of faculty:

  • Digital Politics and Government
  • Information Governance and Security
  • Social Data Science
  • Connectivity, Inclusion and Inequality
  • Internet Economies
  • Digital Knowledge and Culture
  • Education, Digital Life and Wellbeing
  • Ethics and Philosophy of Information

The research conducted at the OII covers a wide range of topics in Internet studies and social impact of online technologies. Online politics, online education, social media and mental health, Internet-based collaboration, online dating, digital economy, geography of the internet, and ethical and legal aspects of the online technologies are among the main research topics followed at the Oxford Internet Institute.[citation needed]

Studies of Wikipedia[edit]

OII has published several studies in Internet geography and Wikipedia. In November 2011, the Guardian Data Blog published maps of geotagged Wikipedia articles written in English, Arabic, Egyptian Arabic, French, Hebrew and Persian.[2] OII researcher Mark Graham[3] led the study and published the results on his blog, Zero Geography.[4]

Graham also leads an OII project focused on how new users are perceived, represented, and incorporated into the Wikipedia community.[5]

In 2013, OII researchers led by Taha Yasseri published a study of controversial topics in 10 different language versions of Wikipedia, using data related to "edit wars".[6]

The OII has also been involved in research on the effects of computational propaganda, the ethics of big data in different contexts and the political implications of the Internet and social media. It collaborates with other institutions of the University of Oxford such as the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, the department for computer science and the Oxford Martin School.[citation needed]


Since 2006, the OII has offered a DPhil (doctoral) degree in "Information, Communication, and the Social Sciences."[7] Since 2009, it has offered a one-year Master of Science (MSc) degree in "Social Science of the Internet".[8] From 2015, prospective students can apply to study the MSc degree part-time over two years.[9] In addition, the department also runs an annual Summer Doctoral Programme which brings outstanding PhD students to study at the OII for two weeks each July.[10] From 2018, prospective students also have the option to apply for a one-year Master of Science degree in Social Data Science[11] with the related DPhil in Social Data Science available from 2020 onward.[12]


The Oxford Internet Institute was made possible by a major donation from the Shirley Foundation of over £10m, with public funding totalling over £5m from the Higher Education Funding Council for England.[citation needed]

The idea originated with Derek Wyatt MP and Andrew Graham, then Master-Elect of Balliol. Two Balliol Alumni, who knew Dame Stephanie from The Worshipful Company of Information Technologists, persuaded Dame Stephanie to meet Andrew Graham and it was following their meeting that she agreed to give the idea her support. A full account of the history of the OII is available at https://www.balliol.ox.ac.uk/sites/default/files/andrew_graham_origins_of_the_oii.pdf

The Oxford Internet Institute is part of a small network of research centres that includes the centres like the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society and Information Society Project at Yale Law School. But it is the only one that functions as a fully functioning, degree-granting department.[citation needed]



OII awards[edit]

For its 10th anniversary, the OII launched the OII awards for lifetime achievement awards on the internet research field and the Internet & Society awards for significant recent contribution to develop the internet for public good.[15]

Lifetime achievement awards winners[edit]






Internet and society awards[edit]






See also[edit]


  1. ^ "OII | Announcing the OII's next Director". www.oii.ox.ac.uk. Oxford Internet Institute. Retrieved 15 April 2021.
  2. ^ Rogers, Simon (11 November 2011). "The world of Wikipedia's languages mapped". The Guardian.
  3. ^ "Dr. Mark Graham". Retrieved 14 June 2013.
  4. ^ Mark Graham (10 November 2011). "Mapping Wikipedia's augmentations of our planet". Retrieved 4 September 2014.
  5. ^ "Wikipedia's Networks and Geographies: Representation and Power in Peer-Produced Content". Oxford Internet Institute. November 2010. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
  6. ^ Yasseri, Taha; Spoerri, Anselm; Graham, Mark; Kertész, János (2013). "The most controversial topics in Wikipedia: A multilingual and geographical analysis". arXiv:1305.5566v2 [physics.soc-ph].
  7. ^ "Oxford Internet Institute's D. Phil programme". Archived from the original on 29 April 2011. Retrieved 29 April 2011.
  8. ^ "Oxford Internet Institute's one year MSc". Archived from the original on 15 April 2011. Retrieved 29 April 2011.
  9. ^ "The OII's MSc in Social Science of the Internet is now available for part-time study | Oxford Internet Institute". www.oii.ox.ac.uk. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  10. ^ "The OII Summer Doctoral Programme". The OII Summer Doctoral Programme. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  11. ^ "MSc in Social Data Science – Oxford Internet Institute". www.oii.ox.ac.uk. Retrieved 11 September 2017.
  12. ^ "DPhil in Social Data Science – Oxford Internet Institute". www.oii.ox.ac.uk. Retrieved 1 September 2019.
  13. ^ "Professor Helen Margetts Appointed Director of the Oxford Internet Institute". Retrieved 7 November 2011.
  14. ^ "OII | Announcing the OII's next Director". www.oii.ox.ac.uk. Oxford Internet Institute. Retrieved 15 April 2021.
  15. ^ OII Awards | OII Awards Archived 2 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine. Blogs.oii.ox.ac.uk (18 July 2013). Retrieved 2014-04-12.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°45′28″N 1°15′34″W / 51.7578°N 1.2595°W / 51.7578; -1.2595