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.

The Student Paper Award for the #AoIR2019 for Brisbane goes to Alice Witt for their paper, ‘A New Black Box Methodology: The challenges and opportunities of interrogating the moderation of images depicting women’s bodies on Instagram’, was reviewed amongst the 45 accepted student papers and is regarded the most outstanding paper of those submissions for this year.

Specifically, we were most interested in this paper because of its focus on the Instagram platform and the seemingly automatic representation of women’s bodies, the increasing significance of this very important subject area, and also because of the innovative methodological approach. These three aspects made the paper the most interesting and stand-out student paper of the conference.

You will be able to hear Alice’s paper and meet them in Brisbane, Saturday, 05/Oct/2019: 11:00am – 12:30pm.

We would also like to recognize, Brydon Timothy Wang’s Paper, Can We Automate Trust? Assessing the Trustworthiness of Machine Superintendents on Smart City Building Projects with an Honorable Mention.