Globalisation, Inclusion and the Web in the Context of COVID

The Web has enabled a globally connected network of individuals and communities, but divides still exist and emerge in various online environments. Fostering an inclusive and just online environment is a persistent challenge: Web technologies can hinder or promote equity, and can exacerbate intersectional disadvantages. In recent years, this challenge has been amplified by the increasing prevalence of artificial intelligence and the automation of Web-based tasks as well as ongoing divides in Web access, use, and skill.

The theme for WebSci 2021, Globalisation, Inclusion and the Web in the Context of COVID, calls attention to these challenges, particularly in light of the ongoing global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Web Science is an interdisciplinary field dedicated to understanding the complex and multiple impacts of the Web on society, and vice versa. As such, the field of Web Science is particularly well situated to address these pressing issues.

This year’s theme seeks to call attention to core issues facing the field, but as always we welcome a broad array of submissions relevant to Web Science.


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Here are some highlights from last year’s conference:

Many of the sessions from last year are reviewed in our blog.

Latest news

The 2021 ACM Web Science Conference: Globalisation, Inclusion and the Web in the Context of COVID is now less than 4 days away!

In addition to the keynote talks and paper presentations, we have a number of special activities planned:

We have created our own virtual conference in Gather Town for our conference delegates to socialise and network in the breaks.  Delegates will be able to explore the space, listen to the “Untangling the Web” podcast series, visit our publishers and authors “booths”, and have fun at the Comedy Club and the “Web and Surf” pub.   The password for accessing the space will be sent to registered participants. 

Brave Conversations Global 2021 runs from 9:00 BST to 13:00 BST on Monday 21st June. The objective is to bring Web Science to mainstream discussions that take place in everyday life. Participants will discuss how the global pandemic has changed the way we live, work and play online. This event is now fully booked, and has a waiting list. 

Our first Spotlight Panel on Tuesday from 17.30 – 18.30 BST is titled “The Coded Gaze: algorithmic bias, facial recognition and beyond – How research can change the law and influence people”. All conference delegates will receive a link to watch the Coded Bias film generously supplied by the distributor, Women Make Movies, from June 18th to June 25th inclusively.

In the “Meet the Authors” Session on Wednesday from 10:00 – 11:00 BST, Anni Rowland-Campbell will chair a conversation with Kieron O’Hara & Wendy Hall,

Authors of Four Internets: Data, Geopolitics and the Governance of Cyberspace. Don’t miss our Featured Books page for purchase discounts on this book and a number of titles authored by conference contributors.

Now Publishers is supporting our conference by making relevant free Foundations and Trends content for conference attendees for the duration of the conference.  Registered participants will receive an access code, giving access to 10 free downloads.  You can also find information about the Journal of Web Science on our Featured Journals page.

Registration is open and the cost for the full week of events is just £50. 

Keep an eye on our tweets via the #WebSci21 hashtag, and check out our website for further updates. We look forward to welcoming you to the second wholly online Web Science conference!


Coming next

Thursday 24 June

• 08:00 – 09:00 Spotlight Panel: The Future of the Web in a Post-COVID World (in English and Chinese)

• 09:00 Paper Sessions begin

• 13:30 – 14:30 Keynote: Daniel J. Weitzner

• 14:30 – 15:30 Spotlight Panel: AI, Media and the Future of News on the Web

• 17:30 – 18:30 Spotlight Panel: Directions in Digital Government

• 19:00 – 19:30 Ultimate Web-Sci Quiz (Gather Town Garden)

Conference countdown