Workshop on Web Science for Digital Capabilities (WSDC 2021)

June 21, 2021
Online workshop

Empowerment of individuals and communities is a critical factor for achieving several of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) formulated by the UN. World over, development economics has come to define empowerment as the ability of individuals and societies to protect and enhance an abstract notion of “well-being”. This in turn, is facilitated by an abstract notion of “capability” that is sought to be enhanced with relevant interventions. Depending on the context, the terms “well-being” and “capability” can take on different definitions, and may be composed of different building blocks– be it education, health-care, safety, wealth creation, and so on. 

Digital Capabilities is an emerging term that relates the development economics notion of capability with ICT– especially Web and Internet technologies, as an enabler. The idea of digital capabilities is not just concerned with developing economies, but is fast becoming center-stage worldwide, following the COVID pandemic and the resultant disruptions in the functioning of societies, economies and countries. Digital capabilities in areas like mobile payments, online learning, online political campaigns, virtual conferences, tele-medicine, remote working, and so on, have grown tremendously during the pandemic, and are likely to stay on even beyond the pandemic. 

It is hence timely and relevant to develop and establish the concept of Digital Capabilities, that can give us a framework to interpret, analyze and design in the context of social empowerment and well-being. The proposed workshop aims to bring together a disparate and eclectic population of researchers, practitioners and policy-makers to help build this emerging discipline.

Call for papers

Capabilities framework presents a people-centric approach to conceptualise and evaluate ideas of  human development, justice and individual well-being. At the core of this approach is the idea of people’s valued functioning, that is, real opportunities to achieve what a

person values to do and to be (Sen 1993; Zheng 2007). With this primary focus on human freedom and well-being, it is considered to be an appropriate framework to assess the developmental potential of technologies – be it education, health-care, safety, wealth creation, and so on. While Information and Communication Technology (ICT), especially web and mobile technologies, has been recognised as a critical factor in improving human well-being, Capabilities framework allow us to treat them as enablers that help in formulating the real opportunities for valued functioning and also acknowledges the interpersonal and demographic variation in converting those opportunities. Moreover, without discounting the importance of technology for development, it underlines the significance of context and situated agency of users to evaluate the actual effectiveness of technologies (Dreze and Sen 2002).

We invoke the term “digital capabilities” to refer to the possibilities and potential of digital technologies for human development across varied contexts. This concept from human development literature becomes even more relevant in the promptly changing world in the wake of the pandemic. Web and mobile technologies in areas like mobile payments, online learning, online political campaigns, virtual conferences, tele-medicine, remote working, and so on, have grown tremendously during the pandemic, and are likely to stay on even beyond the pandemic.

It is hence timely and relevant to develop and establish the concept of Digital Capabilities, that can give us a framework to interpret, analyze and design web and mobile technologies in the context of socio-economic diversity, well-being and justice. The proposed workshop aims to bring together a disparate and eclectic population of researchers, practitioners and policy-makers to help build this emerging interdisciplinary field of knowledge and practice.

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • AI for empowerment
  • Data-driven Governance
  • Data privacy and security
  • Digital Surveillance and its impacts
  • Mobile and e-Administration
  • Mobile payments
  • Remote health-care
  • Remote learning and literacy
  • Social Cognition and worldviews
  • Social media and community empowerment
  • Technology for public health and epidemic response
  • Technology and mental health
  • Technology and social inclusion
  • Technology-enhanced learning

Papers developing some concept of digital capabilities, showing either finished results or work in progress, are all welcome. Experience reports and application papers are also welcome.

Papers should be formatted according to the ACM SIG Conference proceedings template (acmart.cls). Please submit papers as PDF files using the ACM Submission template (single column). To create your PDF submission, you may use either Microsoft Word format or the ACM LaTeX template on Overleaf (ACM Conference Proceedings “Master” Template) using the “manuscript” option. A full description of the procedure can be found in this link (https://www.acm.org/publications/taps/word-template-workflow). For the review process, manuscripts should be of approx. 9-13 pages length single column (inclusive of references, appendices, etc.)

Papers should be uploaded using the EasyChair portal for the workshop on this URL: https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=wsdc2021

Accepted papers will later be re-formatted with the sigconf style (double column) at camera-ready time. When changing to this style manuscripts may also need to be adjusted to the corresponding final page limit of between 6 and 10 pages (inclusive of references, appendices, etc.).

Proceedings of the workshop will be published as a companion volume to the ACM WebSci proceedings.

Important Dates:

April 23, 2021: Workshop paper submission deadline

April 30, 2021: Acceptance Notification

May 10, 2021: Final (camera-ready) submission deadline June 21-22, 2021: Workshops and Tutorials

Source: http://wsl.iiitb.ac.in/wsdc-2021/