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Call for Papers: Social Science of Cyberspace Security & Creating Social Cyber Value

The Social Cyber Institute, a non-profit research centre, is making an open call for proposals for research papers or policy briefs in the field of social cyber security for publication in our online working paper series.


Our foundational principle is that security outcomes in cyberspace are determined by individual people, whose behaviour is shaped by themselves and their social setting, either organisational or cultural. Yet there has been little evidence globally of the necessary adjustment of policy or practice that gives due weight to these behavioural science and social science dimensions. There is a sharp imbalance between investments in technology for security in cyber space as against investments in social and behavioural analysis at almost every level: national government, business enterprise or academia.


The Institute acknowledges the significance of the valuable work which has already been undertaken and recognised in practice on the role of psychology and sociology in cyber security over two decades. There are other areas where some social sciences are an accepted element of the field, especially as relates to law and regulation. However, important gaps remain and much more work is needed.


In this call for papers, the Institute would like to publish high quality research or analysis in this broad field, especially work that reflects on or documents the value of according such social science approaches a much higher standing alongside technological or engineering approaches.


The SCI has published a foundational paper, ‘Creating Social Cyber Value’ (Austin and Withers 2019). There are several exemplars of related  concepts too that we might cite as useful for understanding our interests, such as Jan Tobias Műhlberg (2022) ‘Sustaining Security and Safety in ICT: A Quest for Terminology, Objectives and Limits’. A useful literature review has been offered by Wu, Edwards and Das (2022), ‘SoK: Social Cyber Security’. These allow more holistic perspectives about both the social cyber ecosystem and its many sub-components.  Similarly, the work in this field of Professor Kathleen M. Carley at Carnegie Mellon University and Professor Atif Ahmad at Melbourne University provide important beacons for our orientation.


We would welcome submissions of paper proposals where these challenges are addressed in novel ways, with either universal application or more localised orientation (for example in a single business entity). We are interested in any subject or disciplinary sub-field across the entire range of behavioral and social sciences, law and regulation, or public policy. These do include politics, security studies and international relations.


The Director of the Social Cyber Institute, Professor Glenn Withers AO, a former Chair of the Australian Council of Learned Academies and former President of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia, and current Chair of the Global Development Learning Network, will chair the review process for paper proposals and a separate wider process for peer review of submitted papers.


Paper proposals should include an abstract of the proposed paper, other useful background information on how the research or analysis has been or will be conducted, and links to any related publications by the contributor or other researchers. The proposal should be less than one page. All resulting papers will be peer reviewed. Once published with the permission of the author or authors, the discussion paper will remain copyrighted to them as Working Papers and available for republication in journals or books.


The proposals can be sent in the first instance to Professor Greg Austin ( Proposals are accepted on a continuous  basis and the Institute will aim to respond within two weeks.


By mid-2024, we will review options for an international conference or publication of  an edited volume of the papers for which we receive proposals.

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