What is the Web Science Institute (WSI)?
The WSI is an umbrella organisation (a virtual centre) that brings together all the researchers and students in every faculty whose work is relevant to the Web. It includes technologists, social scientists and humanities researchers from all eight faculties in the University of Southampton.
Why Do We Need a Web Science Institute?
The aim of the WSI is to make us more visible outside the University, to help us bridge the disciplinary and organisational silos that still exist within our work environment and to help us respond better to external stakeholders and funding opportunities.
Who’s in Charge?
There is a team of directors from different faculties headed up by Wendy Hall.
Who is part of the WSI?
Everyone – academics, researchers and research students – whose work is relevant to the Web. If you think your research is about the Web or Internet, then you are part of the WSI.
What Difference Will it Make to Me?
The WSI will:
- provide PhD studentships through the Doctoral Training Centre
- provide a high profile platform to promote you and your research to contacts from industry, government and funding organisations
- provide a national and international network of researchers and groups actively involved in the Web
- invite you and your postgraduates to be involved in the networking events, such as its forthcoming Research Week
I’m a Computer Programmer. Isn’t Web Science all about Sociology?
No! Web Science is genuinely about the technology of the web. It’s also about the way that this technology impacts individual users and society as a whole, and the way that personal and societal pressures (e.g. legal, economic, government, criminal, personal, political and social factors) in turn influence the development of the technology. The Web has developed in tandem with other technologies and scientific innovations and as a ‘social machine’ it has also developed as part of changes in society.
Why Haven’t I Heard About It?
The WSI’s first activity is the Research Week (Feb 24th-28th) which we really hope that staff and students will take part in! The University agreed to form the WSI at the start of the 2013/4 academic year, and is still trying to sort out web sites and mailing lists and all the organisational gubbins. There was a small internal launch event in November to announce its presence to the Deans and Faculty Managers. We are planning a big public event in London after Easter to generate wider interest.