Evidence and Experimentation (JRA3)
About this Working Group
This JRA will focus on infrastructures to foster studies and experiments for Internet Science. Essentially, this is at the crossroads of what is a common practice in various fields (computer science, physics, sociology, anthropology, communication studies, and economics). The core activities of JRA3 are related to identifying, assessing and providing methodologies, datasets and tools for Internet Science research. The ultimate objective of this JRA is to provide an online resource that will support the co-creation of knowledge on Internet Science research methods, and list available datasets and analytic tools. It will provide an empirical evidence base by measuring and adequately representing Internet data (Metrology) and information (Mediametry) and complement this with experimental investigation (including social testbeds), while, at the same time, it will encourage the engagement of scientists of related disciplines with Internet Science.
The role of JRA3 in the project is thus directly linked with JRA1 and JRA2, being the third element of the cyclic process as described in our vision. JRA3 aims at: (i) classifying and contextualizing the research methods outlined in JRA1 and JRA2 into a knowledge base; (ii) providing an online empirical evidence base in terms of relevant datasets and analytic methods and tools on specific focuses, compatible with the outputs of other EINS JRAs. Because we conceive the Internet as a human as well as a technological artefact, experimentation includes games, markets and policy-making conducted over the Internet in order to provide greater control over the conditions affecting Internet users’ behaviour and enhanced ability to measure interactions and their functional consequences. Moreover, this JRA is closely linked to the vertical JRAs 4 to 8 in spurring a multi-disciplinary cross-fertilization to spread the experimental methodologies and advances from one science to the other, aiming ultimately to establish integrated tools for experimentation and measuring to assess the implications of the tested designs under a holistic perspective, as opposed to the fragmented, one (or low) dimensional view of current approaches.
With respect to experimentation and measurements in the Internet, the ICT community has been actively engaged in intensive research with respect to low-level network parameters, such as speed, QoS, security and availability guarantees. This approach is valuable but far too limited in this context. Therefore, JRA3 will seek existing resources to developing studies and analytic methods and tools on issues related to network analysis no only from technical but also from economic, and social perspectives. Such issues include: cyber-security; traffic management and network neutrality; scientific, technical and political controversies; e-democracy and online social and political interactions; the emergence and behaviour of new forms of markets; and the impact of the Internet on such vital ‘intangibles’ as trust, privacy and the non-technical aspects of security. This will lead, in turn, to identifying the needs and criteria for the developments of additional tools and web-based methodologies for network analysis even after the end of the EINS project.