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Crowdsourcing for public policy and government

Crowdsourcing for public policy and government

If elections were invented today, they would probably be referred to as “crowdsourcing the government.” First coined in a 2006 issue of Wired magazine (Howe, 2006), the term crowdsourcing has come to be applied loosely to a wide variety of situations where ideas, opinions, labor or something else is “sourced” in from a potentially large […]

Evidence on the extent of harms experienced by children as a result of online risks: implications for policy and research

Child Internet safety is a topic that continues to gain a great deal of media coverage and policy attention: but online risk and harm are not equivalent and should not be conflated. OII Fellow Victoria Nash discusses the results of her review (with Vera Slavtcheva-Petkova and Monica Bulger) of the available empirical evidence detailing Internet-related harms experienced by children and adolescents, to gain a sense of the types of harm recorded, their severity and frequency. Read the full article: Evidence on the extent of harms experienced by children as a result of online risks: implications for policy and research (iCS journal).

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Past and Emerging Themes in Policy and Internet Studies

What kind of research does the journal Policy & Internet publish? Editor Vili Lehdonvirta approaches the question from two angles; first, by examining the question empirically, through a brief thematic analysis of the articles published since its launch in 2009; second, by considering what kind of research the journal is likely to publish in the future, both in terms of what kind of trends can be seen emerging in policy and Internet research, as well as in terms of what challenges outlined in the journal’s original vision that continue to be pertinent today. Read the full editorial.

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Five recommendations for maximising the relevance of social science research for public policy-making in the big data era

In a previous post, OII Director Helen Margetts outlined ways in which the environment in which public policy is made has entered a period of dramatic change; one in which ‘big data’ presents both promises and threats to policy-makers. Here she discusses how social scientists can help policy-makers in this changed environment, ensuring that social science research remains relevant, and warns that social science concerns or questions may be increasingly ignored if ‘big data’ education and training is left completely in the hands of computer scientists.

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The promises and threats of big data for public policy-making

The environment in which public policy is made has entered a period of dramatic change; one in which ‘big data’ presents both promises and threats to policy-makers. Big data offers a chance for policy-making and implementation to be more citizen-focused, taking account of citizens’ needs, preferences and experience of public services. But it is also technologically challenging for government, and presents new moral and ethical dilemmas to policy makers. OII Director Helen Margetts discusses how policy-makers might respond to this changed environment.

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Responsible research agendas for public policy in the era of big data

The availability of big datasets offers great potential to shape and influence policy outcomes, as well as the means by which policy-making is undertaken. But it remains unclear how government might make best use of this rich source of information, or with what practical and ethical implications. Victoria Nash (OII) discusses a recent OII workshop that explored how policy-makers, analysts and researchers should respond to the threats and promises offered by big data to public policy making and government services.

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Online collective action and policy change: shifting contentious politics in policy processes

Internet mediated communication facilitates new forms of involvement in policy making processes for social movements, but also generates contentious politics as such. This is the central issue explored in this article by Andrea Calderaro, Guest Editor (with Anastasia Kavada from the University of Westminster) of the Special issue on “Online Collective action and Policy Change”, and researcher at the European University Institute / Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies.

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Online collective action and policy change: new special issue from Policy and Internet

Digital communication technologies are altering the interface between policy makers and social movements. Anastasia Kavada, Senior Lecturer at the University of Westminster, and Guest Editor (with Andrea Calderaro from the European University Institute) of the Special issue on “Online Collective action and Policy Change”, provides an introduction to the papers published in this issue, noting that the internet constitutes both a tool and an object of activism and policymaking.

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Experiments are the most exciting thing on the UK public policy horizon

OII Professor Helen Margetts discusses how the massive growth in Internet-mediated interactions creates a need for innovative methods to research online activity. Experimental laboratories — where subjects participate in games or information-seeking tasks on networked computers — have been used by experimental economists for some time, but the great expansion in online social and commercial activity means that they have growing utility in sociology and political science.

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