November 14, 2013

two new researcher positions at the Oxford Internet Institute

We're happy to announce two new researcher posts that have been made available at the Oxford Internet Institute. Both positions link into Mark's larger ERC and IDRC funded research into knowledge economies and virtual labour in Sub-Saharan Africa.

One post is for a researcher with quantitative and statistical skills. 

The other is targeted towards a researcher that has experience using qualitative methods. 

Mark will be working closely with the two successful candidates, and is looking forward to the exciting research possibilities in both projects. Please feel free to get in touch with any questions.


Grade 7: Salary £29,541 - £36,298 p.a.

The research focuses on how new economic practices and processes are taking root in Sub-Saharan Africa as a result of changing connectivities. We plan to map formal and informal types of participation in ‘knowledge economies’ in order to investigate why certain places have sustained their dominance, why others have become more central, and why some places, practices, and initiatives have declined.

To do this we are seeking a researcher with experience in quantitative social research. The researcher will work on three stages of the project. First, collecting and bringing together all necessary data. While some of the data are readily available in existing and open datasets, others require the creation of custom scripts and data collection tools. Second, using GIS and statistical packages to comprehensively analyse the data. We plan to employ both inferential models and descriptive graphics and maps. Finally, broadly disseminating this work in a variety of open and accessible formats including a data-sharing tool, an interactive website, open reports, and peer-reviewed academic journal articles. The work will also be used as a base for detailed qualitative research performed by two other members of the research team.

The successful applicant will demonstrate an ability to carry out social and spatial statistical analysis, visualise results, write for both public and academic audiences, and work with an interdisciplinary team. We also welcome applications from candidates who are additionally eager to design a future research programme in order to extend the position.

Based at the Oxford Internet Institute, this position is available from 1st March 2014 for 36 months in the first instance, with the possibility of renewal thereafter funding permitting.

Only applications received before 12:00 midday on 9th January, 2014 can be considered. Interviews for those short-listed are currently planned to take place in the week commencing 27thJanuary 2014.

To apply for this role and for further details, including a job description, please click on the link below:


Grade 7: Salary £29,541 - £36,298 p.a.

The Oxford Internet Institute is a leading centre for research into individual, collective and institutional behaviour on the Internet. We are looking for a full-time Researcher to work with Dr Mark Graham and Dr Vili Lehdonvirta on the IDRC-funded project Microwork and Virtual Production Networks in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia. Combining archival research, surveys, and interviews, this ambitious project will critically assess the impact of Internet and mobile connectivities on social and economic development, particularly insofar as they open up opportunities for novel forms of online work, such as ‘e-lancing’, ‘microwork’, and ‘game labour’.

In this exciting role, the Researcher will carry out a total of approximately six months of fieldwork among virtual workers and organizations in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, as well as working at OII’s premises in Oxford. The Researcher will also contribute to the dissemination of the findings through peer-reviewed academic papers, project reports, events, blogs and social media.

Candidates should have experience of social science research in Development Studies, Geography, Sociology, Social Anthropology, Communications, Organization Studies, Management or related disciplines, training and practical experience in qualitative research methods.

Based primarily at the Oxford Internet Institute (with periods of fieldwork), this position is available immediately for 2.5 years in the first instance, with the possibility of renewal thereafter, funding permitting. For qualified candidates, there may also be opportunities to teach course modules on our ‘Social Science of the Internet’ MSc course.

Only online applications received before 12:00 midday on 13 December 2013 can be considered. Interviews for those short-listed are planned to take place on 16 January 2014.

To apply for this role and for further details, including a job description, please click on the link below:

November 12, 2013

Crisis Mapping in the Philippines: Efforts and Resources

Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda in the Philippines has resulted in catastrophic loss of life and deprivation and our hearts go out the people and towns affected. Response to this crisis (as in the case of Hurricane Katrina, the Haitian Earthquake and Hurricane Sandy) includes a range of efforts that leverage user-generated data and the volunteer mapping efforts of individuals and organizations. We thought it useful to highlight some of these unfolding efforts here as resource for our readers and ourselves. At present this is just a listing of some of the things we've seen in our feeds, please add additional ones to the comments.

MANY of these Maps are actively seeking volunteers so please join in. 

A Variety of Crisis Maps for the Philippines:
News Articles about Current Crisis Mapping Responses:
Previous academic work on crowd-sourced crisis mapping responses:

November 06, 2013

The Geography of Top Level Domain Names

Some of the sheep team have just published a new map over at the Information Geographies project. This one draws on some of Matt's long term research into the geography of domain names which dates back more than fifteen years.[1]   Egads, where did the time go?.

The map offers a detailed overview of one-facet of the geography of content production.  While not the normal kind of user generated data we use in our work at FloatingSheep, domain name registrations are an indicator of content production.

Some results are unsurprising (for instance the low scores in many countries that have low numbers of internet users). However, other unexpected patterns also reveal themselves (such as the relatively low numbers of domains in many Asian countries).  For a more detailed description of results take a look at the discussion on the map's Internet Geography home.

Also, to give some perspective on how much things have changed, here is map of .com domains in San Francisco (and zoomed into just the South of Market region) back in 1998 when there were less than 2 million rather than 110 million that exist today.

Distribution of .com domains by Registrant Address, San Francisco, Summer 1998
Source: Matthew Zook, 2005 (see below)

Distribution of .com domains by Registrant Address, 
South of Market, San Francisco, Summer 1998
(apologies for the low quality image, it is the only one available)
Source: Matthew Zook, (see below)
[1] If you are interested in reading more domain name work check out.

Zook, M.A. (2001). Old hierarchies or new networks of centrality? The global geography of the internet content marketAmerican Behavioral Scientist. (June). Vol 44. No. 10. 1679-1696.
Zook, M.A. (2000). The web of production: The economic geography of commercial internet content production in the United StatesEnvironment and Planning A. Vol. 32. 411-426.