Web Science Summer School

9 - 13 July 2012

Venue: Lorentz Center@Oort

If you are invited or already registered for this workshop, you have received login details by email.


9-13 July 2012

Lorentz Center, Leiden, The Netherlands

Organized by

   the Web Science Trust,

   the Lorentz Center,

   the Network Institute


The area of Web Science is an exciting new inter-disciplinary research area, that takes the Web as the scientific phenomenon of study.  Working in Web Science requires a broad view of the scientific playing field, with a need to combine a range of scientific skills from different disciplines. The underlying rationale of Web Science as a separate field comes from the observation that many "traditional" scientific theories and laws do not hold or behave differently on the Web.

The school will give the participants a chance to join tutorial talks of leading researcher in the field, to actively participate in practical work sessions on Web Science problems, and to engage in discussions and debates with tutors and fellow students.  The Lorentz Centre in Leiden is an ideal environment to foster such a week of strongly interactive learning experiences.


We are proud to host a number of internationally renowned and leading scientists as speakers in our programme, including Nosh Contractor, Wendy Hall, Jim Hendler, Maarten de Rijke, Nigel Shadbolt, Steffen Staab and Chris Welty.


Important dates:

- deadline for applications: 20 May 2012

- notification of admission to the school: 23 May 2012

Who can apply?

The school will accept a maximum of 40 applications. We expect the majority to be PhD students interested in Web Science, but the school is also open to post-docs and (junior) faculty staff.

How to apply?

People interested in applying should send a 1-page application letter before the deadline to Renee Blaisse <blaisse@lorentzcenter.nl>. This letter should contain a short statement of the background of the applicant, a short description of his/her research and a short statement of the applicant's interest in Web Science.


Due to generous sponsorship of the Lorentz Centre and the Network Institute, participation in the school is free of charge.  Travel and local accommodation costs are to be worn by the

participants. (Accommodation is available for 75EU per person per night for a single room, or 44,50EU per person per night for 2-bed shared room).


Lorentz Center organizes scientific meetings for small groups of up to 55 participants, including both senior and junior scientists. Lorentz Center meetings dedicate a considerable amount of time to discussion sessions, thus stimulating an interactive atmosphere and encouraging collaborations between participants. This format typically generates extensive debates and enables significant progress to be made within the research topic of the meeting.

The meeting is held at the Lorentz Center, located at the Faculty of Science campus of Leiden University, the Netherlands. The Lorentz Center provides each participant with office space and wireless internet access (LINUX and Windows). For further information, please refer to our website: http://www.lorentzcenter.nl.


The Web is the largest technological artefact in existence, comprising a global network of information sites and services. It is a social machine, delivering information between people and communities, embedded in almost all processes of human society: education, medicine, science and technology, commerce, entertainment and social activity. It is often taken for granted that the Web is a neutral technology, a stable computing platform for the delivery of information and services. What is overlooked is that the Web is changing constantly in response to the demands of human society. The objective of Web Science is to better understand the complex, cross-disciplinary dynamics driving the development of the Web. Web Scientists need new methodologies for gathering evidence and finding ways to anticipate how human interaction affects development of a system that is constantly adapting. For example, game theoretic analysis from economics may provide analysis of the impact of selfish or collaborative behaviours, sociological analysis will explain social motivations, legal analysis will underpin analysis of the impact of policy and governance, complex system analysis provides models of how macro behaviours emerge and mathematical and computing analysis are required to engineer appropriate solutions to support the Web's evolution. These are only a few of the disciplines required to create holistic understanding of the Web as a dynamic, socially adaptive technology.

For more information about Web Science, ongoing initiatives, introductory material, etc.: please consult <http://www.webscience.org>


The program will be a mix of:

* Tutorial-type talks with ample time for discussion about the research issues involved. Length typically 60 min + 30 min discussion. These talks are given by international experts who will stay during (most of) the week.

* Student work sessions: groups of 3-4 students work on during the week on a Project Assignment. On the last day each group will present its results. To each group one of the speakers/tutors will be assigned as coach, but the groups should feel free to seek the advice of other tutors with particular background.


The students will be expected to prepare for the School by proposing in advance potential topics for the projects, together with data sets that could be used. The students are also expected to prepare a poster, which will be discussed at the poster session of the first day, but will also be available during the rest of the week for further discussion with fellow students and lecturers.

The organizers will make Web additional data sets available for the students as material for the work sessions. The objective is to work with realistic data. Data are in abundance available, for example from the Linked Data Cloud. The organizers will list sample research question from a Web Science perspective, typically involving cross-disciplinary issues. These questions are meant for inspiration: students can come up with their own questions, in consultation with the tutors. When forming groups we take care to mix backgrounds of students in groups.

Participants will have office space in the Lorentz Centre to work alone or in groups, both during the day and in the evening. The speakers also act as tutors; at any given time 8-10 tutors will be present for interaction with the students.


Guus Schreiber, VU University of Amsterdam

Hans Akkermans, VU University of Amsterdam

Frank van Harmelen, VU University of Amsterdam

Wendy Hall, University of Southampton

James Hendler, Rensselaer Polytechnic, Troy (NY)


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