Internet Rules!

Workshops and Opening Keynote: 5 October 2016
Main Conference: 6-8 October 2016

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Berlin, Germany

AoIR 2016 is the 17th annual conference of the Association of Internet Researchers, a transdisciplinary gathering of scholars interested in the place of networked technologies in social processes. This year’s conference ist jointly hosted by the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society and the Hans-Bredow-Institut for Media Research.

AoIR 2016 will emphasize the relevance of the Internet in today’s culture and politics. The conference theme addresses the significance of the codes and rules that frame the Internet, as well as their playful circumvention, from technical protocols and popular platforms to the emerging, established, and contested conventions of online communities. Who are the actors both in practices of rule-making and rule-breaking, what are their motivations and resources, and how can their power relations and communicative figurations be described? How does the Internet influence the proliferation of the values that its platforms, services and infrastructures embody, and what spaces of creative resistance persist? How do various forms of technical, social, and cultural hacking subvert these orders?

The committee calls for proposals for papers, panels, workshops, roundtables, and other events that engage with the conference theme or the field more generally. Topics could include (but are not limited to):

– coordination and rule-making online
– media, culture and identity
– (h)activism and social justice
– critical approaches to algorithms, platform studies
– codes and practices of internet culture
– connected devices and the internet of things
– big data and predictive analytics
– techno-social interfaces
– digital labor, crowdsourcing and co-creation
– internet governance and regulation
– (global) social media
– communication, participation and polarization online
– philosophy of information and knowledge

We particularly invite submissions that engage with or challenge the conference theme in new and exciting ways, are innovative, or present a novel approach to the topic. We encourage “experimental sessions” that extend research in unusual directions (via method, topic or presentation structure). We also welcome submissions on topics that address social, cultural, political, legal, aesthetic, economic, and/or philosophical aspects of the internet beyond the conference theme. The committee extends a special invitation to students, researchers, and practitioners who have previously not participated in an Internet Research event to submit proposals.


We seek proposals for several different kinds of contributions to encompass the breadth of relevant research. We welcome proposals for traditional academic conference PAPERS, organized PANELS, ROUNDTABLES, FISHBOWLS, EXPERIMENTAL SESSIONS, and PRE-CONFERENCE WORKSHOPS. We invite proposals that will focus on discussion and interaction among conference delegates. Finally, doctoral students are invited to participate in the DOCTORAL COLLOQUIUM preceding the main conference.


15 January 2016
Submission site opens for AoIR 2016 in Berlin

1 March 2016

15 May 2016
Nominations for Nancy Baym Book award and Best Dissertation Award due

5 May 2016
Notification of acceptances for presenters

15 June 2016
Applications due for conference travel SCHOLARSHIPS and for DOCTORAL COLLOQUIUM

1 August 2016
Early Bird Registration Deadline for all presenters


Traditional papers: Paper submissions should articulate the issue or research question to be discussed, the methodological or critical framework used, and indicate the findings or conclusions to be presented and/or the relevance to wider conference themes. Papers can present any kind of research or analysis, but should be written so that the importance of the work can be understood by reviewers working in different disciplines or using different approaches. Cross- or trans-disciplinary work is especially encouraged. Paper submissions should be approximately 1200 words long, including references. Please note that paper submissions must adhere to AoIR’s pre-formatted template and should give an indication as to the consistency, rigor and relevance of the work. Presentations at the conference are generally intended to be dynamic, and provide a broad overview of the scholarship being engaged, with the hope of generating useful conversation.

Preconstituted panels: Panels should present a coherent group of papers on a single theme. Panel proposals should include 1200-word abstracts as above for each of the constituent papers, as well as a brief statement articulating the papers’ relationship to each other. It is recommended that panels include four papers, although submissions of three to five papers will also be considered. The organizer is responsible for compiling the proposal into a single document for submission.

Preconference workshops: Workshops may be either half or full-day events that occur on the first day of the conference and focus on a particular topic. They may be a workshop of some kind (e.g., a publishing workshop), a methodological “bootcamp” (e.g., on ethnography or statistical analysis), an exploration of a theoretical tradition or topical area (e.g., symbolic interaction, political economy, or GIS) or anything else that may be of interest to conference delegates. Proposals for workshops should explain for a general scholarly audience the goals of the workshop, the way it will operate, and an indication of potential audience or attendees who may be interested in attending (such as “early career scholars” or “researchers using statistical analysis”). Proposals for workshops should be approximately 600-800 words in length, and should name the workshop facilitators.

Roundtable Sessions: Roundtables encourage discussion and interaction among delegates. They may involve brief introductory presentations by organizers. Proposals should include details on the theme or topic of discussion and its relevance, along with names of the organizers/initial participants. Roundtables can include no more than 5 initial participants. Roundtable submissions should be between 250-300 words long (to be included as the “abstract” in the submissions process–no separate document need be uploaded).

Open Fishbowls: Fishbowl sessions should cover broad topics of interest to a wide segment of the AoIR community, and create a space for dialogue across different types of research. Submitted proposals should include a brief statement as to the core idea or theme for the fishbowl, emphasizing its relation to conference themes or relevance to the IR community. Fishbowls can include no more than 5 initial participants (named fish).

Experimental Sessions: Experimental sessions are those that, while of interest to members or engaging with conference themes, meaningfully “push the envelope” beyond more traditional forms of conference engagement and participation and as such do not fit into any of the other proposal formats. Examples may include Ignite or pecha-kucha presentations, demonstrations, performances, installations, short-form workshops, unsessions, maker or code-based projects, or interactive experiences. Proposals for experimental sessions should describe for a general scholarly audience the goal or idea of the session and how it will operate, and discuss why the proposed format will be of interest to AoIR delegates. Organizers of experimental sessions will be responsible for supplying any necessary equipment beyond that usually provided for conference presentations, and should be prepared to coordinate closely with the conference committee as necessary to enable a successful presentation of the alternative format.

Doctoral Colloquium: The Association of Internet Researchers believes that its emerging researchers are the best in its disparate constituent fields. In keeping with its commitment to students’ scholarship, we continue the tradition of bringing emerging and established scholars together through the AoIR 2016 Doctoral Colloquium. The colloquium offers PhD students working in internet research or a related field a special, day-long forum, to be convened on 5 October 2016. For many years, this pre-conference event has provided students with the opportunity to a concentrated amount of time with senior scholars to share research projects, address methodological and theoretical challenges, and exchange informal advice on juggling the multiple pressures associated with job searching, publishing, and finishing the dissertation
Interested students should prepare a) a two-page summary of your research. This should provide a context for the research, describe the methods being used, the progress to date, and primary concerns and issues; and b) A brief statement indicating why you want to participate in this doctoral colloquium and what you hope to get out of it. These are due on or before 15 June 2016. For further questions, don’t hesitate to contact Ben Light, the doctoral colloquium chair, at aoir2016dc [at] aoir [dot] org.


In order to increase the diversity of participation in the AoIR conferences, the Association of Internet Researchers makes available conference fee waivers and partial travel stipends ($500) per year. The number of fee waivers and travel stipends will depend first of all upon the ability of the conference budget to sustain such waivers (a judgment to be made by the AoIR Executive Committee upon the advice of the AoIR Treasurer and the local organizing committee) as well as upon the quality of the applications for fee waivers. Conference scholarships are made available only to participants who have had papers accepted via the peer review process, and applications are due on 15 June 2016, after acceptances have been announced.


Please address any questions to the conference chair, Cornelius Puschmann, Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society, aoir2016 [at] aoir [dot] org.