Oxford Internet Institute

The Oxford Internet Institute (OII) serves as a hub for interdisciplinary research, combining social and computer science to explore information, communication, and technology. It is an integral part of the University of Oxford's Social Sciences Division in England.

Entrance to the Oxford Internet Institute on St Giles, Oxford



The OII is spread across three locations on St Giles in Oxford, with its main hub at 1 St Giles, owned by Balliol College. This department focuses on exploring digital life to influence Internet research, policy, and usage.

Founded in 2001, the OII explores how the Internet affects our lives. It unites experts in fields like politics, sociology, and science to study online behavior. The current director is Professor Victoria Nash.[1]



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

Studies of Wikipedia


OII has published several studies on 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 of Computer Science, and the Oxford Martin School.[citation needed]

In 2020, OII researcher Fabian Stephany and his colleague Hamza Salem published a study on using information-seeking behaviour patterns of Wikipedia users to predict US congressional elections.[7] Their model accurately predicted the election outcome for 31 of 35 states in the 2020 United States Senate elections.[8]

Studies of Internet Economics


Several researchers at the OII study the digital economy. The OII is home of the Online Labour Index (OLI), the first economic indicator measuring the activity of the global online gig-economy,[9] which was created and is administered by the OII researchers Otto Kässi, Vili Lehdonvirta, and Fabian Stephany. The index is a globally recognised reference for the measurement of the online freelance economy.[10][11][12][13] Since 2021, the Online Labour Index is hosted on a new research hub, the Online Labour Observatory[14] jointly administered by the OII and the International Labour Organisation.[15]

In 2020, OII researchers initiated the CoRisk Index,[16] the first economic indicator of industry risk assessments related to COVID-19.



Since 2006, the OII has offered a DPhil (doctoral) degree in "Information, Communication, and the Social Sciences."[17] Since 2009, it has offered a one-year Master of Science (MSc) degree in "Social Science of the Internet".[18] From 2015, prospective students can apply to study the MSc degree part-time over two years.[19] 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.[20] From 2018, prospective students also have the option to apply for a one-year Master of Science degree in Social Data Science[21] with the related DPhil in Social Data Science available from 2020 onward.[22]



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.[23]

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.[23]

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 the Yale Law School. But it is the only one that functions as a fully functioning, degree-granting department.[citation needed]





OII awards


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.[26]

See also



  1. ^ "Announcing the OII's next Director". www.oii.ox.ac.uk. 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". UK: Oxford Internet Institute. Retrieved 14 June 2013.
  4. ^ Graham, Mark (10 November 2011). "Mapping Wikipedia's augmentations of our planet". www.zerogeography.net. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
  5. ^ "Wikipedia's Networks and Geographies: Representation and Power in Peer-Produced Content". UK: 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. ^ Salem, Hamza; Stephany, Fabian (28 June 2021). "Wikipedia: a challenger's best friend? Utilizing information-seeking behaviour patterns to predict US congressional elections". Information, Communication & Society. 26: 174–200. doi:10.1080/1369118X.2021.1942953. ISSN 1369-118X. S2CID 237857935.
  8. ^ "Wikipedia: A Challenger's Best Friend?". www.oii.ox.ac.uk. Retrieved 22 September 2022.
  9. ^ Kässi, Otto; Lehdonvirta, Vili (1 December 2018). "Online labour index: Measuring the online gig economy for policy and research" (PDF). Technological Forecasting and Social Change. 137: 241–248. doi:10.1016/j.techfore.2018.07.056. ISSN 0040-1625. S2CID 54193279.
  10. ^ "India largest provider of 'online labour' - Times of India". The Times of India. 20 July 2017. Retrieved 27 December 2021.
  11. ^ "Online jobs in gig economy growing fast, finds new index". the Guardian. 21 September 2016. Retrieved 27 December 2021.
  12. ^ Meaker, Morgan (29 December 2020). "Britain employs more 'crowdworkers' than anywhere in Europe". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 27 December 2021.
  13. ^ Staff Writer. "The most in-demand job skills in South Africa right now". Retrieved 27 December 2021.
  14. ^ "Online Labour Observatory". Retrieved 27 December 2021.
  15. ^ @ilo_research (20 May 2021). "Register" (Tweet). Retrieved 27 December 2021 – via Twitter.
  16. ^ Stephany, Fabian; Neuhäuser, Leonie; Stoehr, Niklas; Darius, Philipp; Teutloff, Ole; Braesemann, Fabian (2 February 2022). "The CoRisk-Index: a data-mining approach to identify industry-specific risk perceptions related to Covid-19". Humanities and Social Sciences Communications. 9 (1): 1–15. doi:10.1057/s41599-022-01039-1. hdl:20.500.11850/532071. ISSN 2662-9992. S2CID 246481158.
  17. ^ "Oxford Internet Institute's D. Phil programme". Archived from the original on 29 April 2011. Retrieved 29 April 2011.
  18. ^ "Oxford Internet Institute's one year MSc". Archived from the original on 15 April 2011. Retrieved 29 April 2011.
  19. ^ "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.
  20. ^ "The OII Summer Doctoral Programme". The OII Summer Doctoral Programme. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  21. ^ "MSc in Social Data Science". www.oii.ox.ac.uk. UK: Oxford Internet Institute. Retrieved 11 September 2017.
  22. ^ "DPhil in Social Data Science". www.oii.ox.ac.uk. UK: Oxford Internet Institute. Retrieved 1 September 2019.
  23. ^ a b Graham, Andrew. "The Origins of the Oxford Internet Institute: A brief history" (PDF). UK: Balliol College, Oxford. Retrieved 8 October 2021.
  24. ^ "Professor Helen Margetts Appointed Director of the Oxford Internet Institute". Retrieved 7 November 2011.
  25. ^ "OII | Announcing the OII's next Director". www.oii.ox.ac.uk. Oxford Internet Institute. Retrieved 15 April 2021.
  26. ^ OII Awards | OII Awards Archived 2 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine. Blogs.oii.ox.ac.uk (18 July 2013). Retrieved 2014-04-12.

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