The Internet, Policy & Politics Conferences

Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford

Call for Papers

Location: Thursday 25 - Friday 26 September 2014, University of Oxford.
Convenors: Helen Margetts (OII), Vili Lehdonvirta (OII), David Sutcliffe (OII), Sandra Gonzalez-Bailon (Annenberg, UPenn), Andrea Calderaro (EUI / ECPR).
Abstract deadline: 14 March 2014.

This conference is convened by the Oxford Internet Institute for the OII-edited academic journal Policy and Internet, in collaboration with the European Consortium of Political Research (ECPR) standing group on Internet and Politics.


Crowdsourcing – the provision of goods by large numbers of people contributing via an online platform – is used to generate and sustain policy ideas, labour markets, business investment, charitable donations, knowledge commons (such as Wikipedia), cultural goods and artefacts, libraries, government transparency, public management reform, education, scientific development and the institutions of democracy itself. This pattern of technology-enabled institutional change, where a known few are replaced by an indefinite many, has deep and diverse implications for government, business, civil society, democratic life and public policy-making. Researchers and policy-makers have barely begun to examine the opportunities and challenges that the crowdsourcing model presents.

The Internet, Politics, Policy 2014 conference is dedicated to facilitating discussion on crowdsourcing across disciplinary boundaries. The conference calls for papers on the observed and potential implications of crowdsourcing for politics, policy and academic practice. Perspectives are welcomed from across science, social science and the humanities as well as from academic and policy-making communities. We aim to identify both what is novel in crowdsourcing, and the ways it enables and extends existing social and political processes.


The conference aims to attract papers from a range of disciplines analysing crowdsourcing-related phenomena. We welcome both theoretical and empirical papers reporting original research on crowdsourcing and related concepts such as microwork, peer production, human computing, co-creation, open innovation and e-government. We particularly welcome comparative approaches and papers drawing on new empirical findings and novel research methods.

Topics of interest include (but are not limited to):

  • How is crowdsourcing changing politics? Topics of interest include citizen participation in government and the political process, and online collective action.

  • Uses of big data in evidence-based public policy, including probabilistic, and conditional and predictive policy-making and the use of social media data for government self-improvement.

  • Online labor markets, new organizational forms, and the blurring of boundaries between work and play, as well as the economics of crowdsourcing more generally.

  • Co-production and co-creation of public policy, through (for example) the use of feedback facilities, rating, ranking and reputation applications.

  • Crowdsourcing for conflict management, peace building and humanitarian intervention, including crisis mapping.

  • Crowdsourcing for educational, scientific and technological development, such as citizen science, crowd-funding, massive online open courses, and the methodological, epistemological and ethical issues involved.

  • New methods for analyzing crowdsourcing, such as computational social science and big data analytics, including sentiment analysis, topic classification, sampling from social media platforms, and inferring from socially generated data to the wider population.

  • Ethical issues arising from the use of such methods, such as de-anonymisation,privacy, and inequalities created by the use of predictive analytics in decisions concerning individuals.

  • When crowds turn into mobs: online hate groups, organized cyberbullying, their dynamics and effective policy responses.

Perspectives from any academic discipline are welcomed, including: political science, economics, law, sociology, medicine, information science, communications, philosophy, computer science, physics, psychology, management, organization science, geography and humanities. Papers should attempt to frame their object of study in relation to established concepts and theories. ‘Crowdsourcing’ need not be the central concept in a paper as long as it deals with the issues and topics identified in this call. 

Proposal submission

Paper proposals

Paper proposals should consist of a title and a 1,000-word extended abstract that specifies and motivates the research question, describes the methods and data used, and summarises the main findings. Abstracts will be peer reviewed, and the authors of accepted proposals are expected to submit full papers prior to the conference. Applicants will have the opportunity to co-submit their paper to the journal Policy and Internet, which will operate a fast-track review process for papers accepted to the conference.

Paper submissions can also be considered for a Best Paper Award (sponsored by the journal Policy and Internet). The prize will be awarded at the closing session of the conference. As the paper is intended to be published in a future issue of the journal, authors should indicate whether they would like their paper to be considered for the prize.

Poster proposals

Posters should summarise in a visually engaging manner the purpose, methods and results of an original piece of research. All accepted submissions will be considered for a Best Poster Award. The prize will be awarded at the closing session of the conference.

Important dates

  • Extended abstract submission deadline: 14 March 2014
  • Decisions on abstracts: 30 April 2014
  • Full paper / poster submission deadline (for accepted abstracts): 15 August 2014
  • Conference dates: Thursday 25 - Friday 26 September 2014.