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Web science

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Human behavior co-constituting the web.

Web science is an emerging interdisciplinary field concerned with the study of large-scale socio-technical systems, particularly the World Wide Web.[1][2] It considers the relationship between people and technology, the ways that society and technology co-constitute one another and the impact of this co-constitution on broader society. Web Science combines research from disciplines as diverse as sociology, computer science, economics, and mathematics.[3]

An earlier definition was given by American computer scientist Ben Shneiderman: "Web Science" is processing the information available on the web in similar terms to those applied to natural environment.[4]

The Web Science Institute describes Web Science as focusing "the analytical power of researchers from disciplines as diverse as mathematics, sociology, economics, psychology, law and computer science to understand and explain the Web. It is necessarily interdisciplinary – as much about social and organizational behaviour as about the underpinning technology."[5] A central pillar of Web science development is Artificial Intelligence or "AI". The current artificial intelligence that in development at the moment is Human-Centered, with goals to further professional development courses as well as influencing public policy. Artificial intelligence developers are focused on the most impactful uses of this technology, while also hoping to expedite the growth and development of the human race.[5]

Areas of activity[edit]

Emergent properties[edit]

Philip Tetlow, an IBM-based scientist influential in the emergence of web science as an independent discipline,[6] argued for the concept of web life,[7] which considers the Web not as a connected network of computers, as in common interpretations of the Internet, but rather as a sociotechnical machine[8] capable of fusing together individuals and organisations into larger coordinated groups. It argues that unlike the technologies that have come before it, the Web is different in that its phenomenal growth and complexity are starting to outstrip our capability to control it directly, making it impossible for us to grasp its completeness in one go. Tetlow made use of Fritjof Capra's concept of the 'web of life' as a metaphor.[9][10]

Research groups[edit]

There are numerous academic research groups engaged in Web Science research,[11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18] many of which are members of WSTNet, the Web Science Trust Network of research labs. Health Web Science emerged as a sub-discipline of Web Science that studies the role of the Web's impact on human's health outcomes and how to further utilize the Web to improve health outcomes.[19][20][21][22] These groups focus on the developmental possibilities, provided through Web Science, in areas such as health care and social welfare. Discussion of web science has been widely adopted as a method in which the internet can have a real world impact in the field of medicine, currently coined Medicine 2.0. The World Wide Web acts as a medium for the spread and circulation of knowledge, though these various research groups consider themselves responsible for maintaining verifiable and testable knowledge. Using their knowledge of the healthcare system as well as web science, researchers are focused on formatting and structuring their knowledge in a way that is easily accessible throughout the internet. The World Wide Web is quickly evolving meaning that the information we provide and its formatting must also. Recognizing the overlap between both aspects, the spread of knowledge and development of the internet, allows us to properly display our knowledge in a manner that evolves as quickly as the internet and everyday medical research. The accessibility of the internet and quick development of knowledge must be companied with efficient formatting to allocate successful dissemination of information, as described by these various researcher groups.[21]

Related major conferences[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Berners-Lee, T.; Hall, W.; Hendler, J.; Shadbolt, N.; Weitzner, D. (2006). "Computer Science: Enhanced: Creating a Science of the Web". Science. 313 (5788): 769–771. doi:10.1126/science.1126902. PMID 16902115. S2CID 5104030. Archived from the original on 2021-04-24. Retrieved 2021-11-26.
  2. ^ Hendler, Jim; Shadbolt, Nigel; Hall, Wendy; Berners-Lee, Tim; Weitzner, Daniel (2008). "Web science: an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the web" (PDF). Communications of the ACM. 51 (7). doi:10.1145/1364782.1364798. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2021-01-23. Retrieved 2021-11-26.
  3. ^ "Why Do We Need Web Science Research?". 6 December 2009. Archived from the original on 19 October 2012. Retrieved 29 June 2011.
  4. ^ Shneiderman, Ben (2007). "Web science". Communications of the ACM. 50 (6): 25–27. doi:10.1145/1247001.1247022. S2CID 37743564.
  5. ^ a b "What is Web Science? – Web Science Institute – University of Southampton". Archived from the original on 2021-11-22. Retrieved 2021-11-26.
  6. ^ "WSI Distinguished Lecture, Dr Phil Tetlow | Web Science Institute | University of Southampton".
  7. ^ Tetlow, Philip D. (2007). The Web's awake: an introduction to the field of Web science and the concept. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-0-470-13794-9.
  8. ^ Nijholt, A. (2009) Socio-Technical Implementation: Socio-technical Systems in the Context of Ubiquitous Computing, Ambient Intelligence, Embodied Virtuality, and the Internet of Things. In: Handbook of Research on Socio-Technical Design and Social Networking Systems. IGI Global.
  9. ^ Capra, Fritjof (1997). The Web of Life: A New Scientific Understanding of Living Systems. Anchor.
  10. ^ Tetlow 2009, Investigations into Web science and the concept of Web life
  11. ^ "WSTNet at RPI: Web Science Research Center". 30 October 2012. Archived from the original on 25 June 2013. Retrieved 17 April 2013.
  12. ^ "웹사이언스 공학". eng.webst.kaist.ac.kr. Archived from the original on 2013-10-17. Retrieved 2013-03-23.
  13. ^ "Institute WeST". Archived from the original on 2013-01-16. Retrieved 2012-10-14.
  14. ^ "E-Business and Web Science Research Group at Bundeswehr University Munich". Archived from the original on 2011-07-01. Retrieved 2011-06-29.
  15. ^ "Education – Web Science Institute – University of Southampton". Archived from the original on 2013-08-07. Retrieved 2013-07-30.
  16. ^ "JKU » Webwissenschaften – Master". Archived from the original on 2018-01-17. Retrieved 2013-11-29.
  17. ^ "New Web Science Institute to explore how the Web will shape our future – Electronics and Computer Science – University of Southampton". Archived from the original on 2013-12-03. Retrieved 2013-12-01.
  18. ^ "UIR Web Science @CEMAM – USJ – Beirut / Lebanon". Archived from the original on 2020-07-13. Retrieved 2021-11-26.
  19. ^ http://www.websci11.org/workshops/health-web-science-workshop/ Archived 2013-11-25 at the Wayback Machine>
  20. ^ "Health Web Science | ACM Web Science 2012". Archived from the original on 2014-09-03. Retrieved 2021-11-26.
  21. ^ a b Luciano, Joanne S; Cumming, Grant P; Wilkinson, Mark D; Kahana, Eva (1 January 2013). "The Emergent Discipline of Health Web Science". Journal of Medical Internet Research. 15 (8): e166. doi:10.2196/jmir.2499. PMC 3758025. PMID 23968998.
  22. ^ Luciano, Joanne S. (2013). "Health Web Science". Foundations and Trends in Web Science. 4 (4): 269–419. doi:10.1561/1800000019.

External links[edit]