We are saddened to announce the passing of Michael Haley, Ph.D., who served as the AoIR Conference Coordinator from Fall of 2016 until his death on January 2, 2020. Michael worked with AoIR for the Tartu, Montreal, and Brisbane conferences, following 16 years in his position as Executive Director of the International Communication Association. He died after an extended battle with cancer, leaving his husband Edward, his sister Beth, his niece Kimberly, and his stepdaughters Nicole and Amanda, as well as his many friends. We extend our sympathies to them.

Michael brought unparalleled expertise in conference planning to his consultant position as the first AoIR Conference Coordinator. He served as a consultant to three of AoIR’s Presidents, first working with Jenny Stromer-Galley, who initially recruited him for the position, and then with Axel Bruns and most recently with Lynn Schofield Clark. Michael also worked closely with longtime AoIR Treasurer Kelly Quinn and AoIR Association Coordinator Michelle Gardner and with many host committee members, leading contract negotiations with venues and assisting with on-site registration as well as providing invaluable insights for the many volunteers who have contributed to the organization of AoIR annual conferences. In Montreal, Michael’s magnificent diplomatic skills saved the organization from significant losses. AoIR will continue to benefit from his legacy with the organization. Michael had been eagerly anticipating our 2020 conference in Dublin, and he will be missed there.

To all who had the good fortune to work with him, Michael was widely recognized for his professionalism, kindness, and sense of humor. He invested himself deeply in coming to understand the culture of AoIR as he sought to align his work with the organization’s formal as well as informal mission and vision. Michael provided calm leadership and was deeply committed to fairness, treating all with equal respect.

Prior to working with AoIR, Michael, who was a Certified Association Executive, had provided leadership to ICA as that organization increased its visibility, size, and international scope. He had also steered ICA toward increasing its participation with related professional organizations and government agencies. Before his work in conference administration, Michael had a 25-year history of involvement in public policy debates, and he had served as the Executive Director of both the California Psychological Association (CPA) and the CPA Foundation. He taught in several universities and co-authored public policy research articles.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to GreySave, a Greyhound rescue organization about which Michael cared deeply.

We are happy to announce that the new guidelines for Internet Research Ethics (IRE) are now available on the AoIR Ethics page: “Internet Research: Ethical Guidelines 3.0”

IRE 3.0 serves as a supplement to the IRE guidelines from 2002, 2012 and addresses among other issues the ethics of (big) data research and AI. As characterized by Charles Ess at the AoIR2019 conference in Brisbane, IRE 1.0 (2002) starts with a largely pragmatic approach to internet research ethics, while IRE 2.0 (2012) is more reflective of internet research practices & contexts. IRE 3.0 (2020) helps expand our thinking to include the broader research lifecycle and the ethical protection of researchers themselves.

We are grateful for the hard work of the Ethics Working Group, and its co-chairs aline shakti franzke (University of Duisburg-Essen), Anja Bechmann (Aarhus University), Michael Zimmer (Marquette University), and Charles M. Ess (University of Oslo).

The Executive Committee of the Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR) is now seeking expressions of interest (EOI) from prospective Conference Hosts for the annual meetings of the Association for October 2022, 2023, AND 2024. In keeping with our regular rotation schedule, the 2022 conference will take place outside North America or Europe for the AoIR conference, the 2023 conference will take place in Europe, and the 2024 conference will take place in North America. See our list of previous conference locations

EOI are due to the AoIR Executive Committee by March 1 2020. EOIs will be reviewed by the AoIR Executive Committee, who will then gauge feasibility through a series of follow-up discussions with proposers. Proposers for the 2022 conference will be informed of decisions regarding conference hosting by August 1. The general AoIR membership will be informed of the 2022 conference location at the 2020 AoIR conference.

The AoIR conference draws an international group of 500-700 researchers and practitioners to present and discuss work at the cutting edge in understanding the individual, social, political, economic and cultural aspects of the internet and related technologies. Serving on the Conference Hosting committee is a large commitment that is greatly appreciated by all members of AoIR and highlights the contributions being made to internet, digital and mobile media, and related fields of research from certain regions of the world. The role of the Conference Host and committee is to oversee region-specific fundraising (where possible, provide venue space at cost or in kind), make contributions to the conference theme and call for papers, identify keynote and plenary speakers, plan and oversee the conference programming, and provide crucial local knowledge and connections. Dedicated AoIR staff, including the Association Coordinator and Conference Coordinator, lead much of the practical conference planning, including negotiating contracts with hotels, meeting venues, catering, and the like, and partner with the host committee on many of the administrative details of the conference, such as registration, reception and meal planning, possibly AV and wifi provision, and exhibitor displays.  

The Conference Host Committee is comprised of a regional group of scholars that may be part of the same or different organisations. They are also invited to propose a Program Chair. The Program Chair oversees the submissions and review process of papers, panels, workshops, and preconferences, and schedules the conference sessions. The Program Chair may be a member of the organization that acts as Conference Host. Members of the Conference Host Committee should have a strong existing connection to the Association of Internet Researchers.

Seeking three Expressions of Interest in the same year is a change from previous years. We are making this change in recognition of the changing landscape of conference organization and negotiations with conference hotels. Previous experience has demonstrated that hotels may prefer to negotiate with (and provide better terms to) AoIR, rather than individual organizing institutions. AoIR works with a Conference Coordinator, who will handle all negotiations, obtains proposals, and other contractual arrangements. We now ask, therefore, that prospective conference hosts do NOT contact area hotels when exploring an interest in serving as AoIR Conference Hosts. However, we explicitly invite prospective Conference Hosts to indicate possible venue options, including on-campus venues and in-kind donated venues where feasible, as these often offer more favourable arrangements than hotels. Before initiating any action with venues, Hosts and prospective Hosts need to be in touch with the Executive Committee, which is ultimately responsible for the organization’s fiduciary commitments and conference budgeting. 

Organizations or consortia that may be interested in serving as Conference Host should contact President Lynn Schofield Clark  at prez (at) aoir.org by 1 March 2020 with a brief expression of interest, and while preparing the EOI. The EOI should include the following and be no longer than 5 double spaced pages:

  1. the individuals and organization(s) involved, and their proposed roles; 
  2. the connection of proposers to internet research and to AoIR;
  3. a description of any prior experiences proposers have had with organizing or hosting a conference, and the roles played in this;
  4. an argument to support the proposed conference location, especially with respect to ease of travel for AoIR’s multinational community of conference participants;
  5. initial thoughts on local venue options (AoIR has in the past held the annual conference at a variety of venue spaces including universities, conference centers, and hotels);
  6. prospective conference dates, keeping in mind any major local, national, and international holidays, semester schedules, or other aspects that might affect the timing of the conference;
  7. a firm indication of whether you will be attending AoIR 2020 in Dublin and are available to meet for further discussions about hosting AoIR 2022, 23, or 24.