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Date: Mon, 7 Sep 2020 14:36:00 +0100
Reply-To: Arkaitz Zubiaga <[log in to unmask]>
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Online Social Networks and Media Journal (OSNEM)

Special issue on Detecting, Understanding and Countering Online Harms

** Submission Deadline: 15th November 2020 **

Online Social Networks and Media have revolutionized society, and are now a
key part of how most people work, live, socialize, find information and
entertain themselves. But whilst they have generated huge benefits, leading
to unprecedented connectivity across the globe, online social networks have
also enabled the spread of hazardous and dangerous behaviours. Such ‘online
harms’ are now a pressing concern of policymakers, regulators and big tech
companies. Building deep knowledge about the scope, nature, prevalence,
origins and dynamics of online harms is crucial for ensuring we can clean
up online spaces. This, in turn, requires innovation and advances in
methods, data, theory and research design -- and developing multi-domain
and multi-disciplinary approaches. In particular, there is a real need for
methodological research that develops high-quality methods for detecting
online harms in a robust, fair and explainable way.

This special issue seeks high-quality scientific articles (including
data-driven, experimental and theoretical research) which examine harmful
behaviours, communities, discourses and ideas in online social networks and
media. We welcome submissions on any online harm but particularly encourage
papers which focus on online hate, misinformation, disinformation,
extremism and terrorism. Data-driven approaches, supported by publicly
available datasets, are strongly encouraged.

Areas of interest are (1) detecting and measuring online harms, (2)
analysing online harms through the use of advanced modelling techniques and
(3) developing and interrogating ways to tackle online harms. This includes
but is not limited to:

* The prevalence of online harms, either on one online platform or several.
* The efficacy, usability and appropriateness of different counter measures
to tackle online harms; both policies and new technologies.
* The impact of large trigger events, such as COVID19 or the murder of
George Floyd.
* Niche and smaller online platforms, including how they differ from
mainstream spaces.
* Modelling and analysis techniques to predict online harms, as well as
their dynamics and associated factors.
* Machine learning (e.g. natural language processing and computer vision)
to detect and categorise online harms.
* The prevalence and role of counter speech online.
* Biases in methods and analyses, including how explainable, accessible,
fair, transparent and interpretable they are.
* Integrated analysis of different online harms (e.g. studying how
misinformation, hate and extremism intersect).
* Cross-platform and inter-platform dynamics, such as user migration from
mainstream to niche spaces.
* Strategies for online harm dissemination used by malicious actors and
* Community-based detection methods.
* The ethics and social implications of socio-technical research to study
and target online harms.

Online Social Networks and Media is a multidisciplinary journal for the
wide community of computer and network scientists working on developing
OSNEM platforms and services and using OSNEM as a big data source to mine,
learn and model the (online) human behaviour. Manuscripts only based on
questionnaires, even focused on the reported use of social media, are
outside the scope of the journal. On the other hand, the journal welcomes
papers which present analyses based on big data mined from social

Tentative timeline

  Manuscript submission deadline: 15th November 2020
  First notification: 15th January 2021
  Submission of revised paper: 15th February 2021
  Notification of acceptance: 15th March 2021

Guest Editors

  Arkaitz Zubiaga, Queen Mary University of London <[log in to unmask]>
  Bertie Vidgen, Alan Turing Institute <[log in to unmask]>
  Miriam Fernandez, Open University <[log in to unmask]>
  Nishanth Sastry, University of Surrey <[log in to unmask]>

Instructions for submission

Manuscripts must not have been previously published nor currently under
review by other journals or conferences. Papers previously published in
conference proceedings are eligible for submission if the submitted
manuscript is a substantial revision and extension of the conference
version. In this case, authors should indicate the previous publication(s)
in the cover letter and are also required to submit
their published conference article(s) and a summary document explaining the
enhancements made in the journal version. The submission website for this
journal is located at

Please select ''VSI:Online Harms'' when you reach the ''Article Type'' step
in the submission process. To ensure that all manuscripts are correctly
identified, for consideration by the special issue, the authors should
indicate in the cover letter that the manuscript has been submitted for the
special issue on ''Detecting, Understanding and Countering Online Harms''.

Manuscripts can be submitted continuously until the deadline. Once a paper
is submitted, the review process will start immediately. Accepted papers
will be published continuously in the journal (in the first issue available
as soon as the paper is accepted). All accepted papers will be listed
together in an online virtual special issue published in the journal

For further information, please contact the guest editors at
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