Knowledge Media institute
The Open University
Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA
United Kingdom

h alani at open ac uk

Professor of Web Science and leader of the Social Data Science group at the Knowledge Media institute, The Open University. I have been researching social media and networks for nearly two decades. My work is mainly focused on applying computational social science methods and social media analytics to better model, understand and track various social phenomena on the web. I have published over 150 scientific papers in various leading journals and conferences, and have taken various roles in the organisation of top tier scientific conferences, such as The Web Conference, ACM Web Science Conference, and the International Semantic Web Conference. Previously to joining KMi, I was a senior research fellow at the School of Electronics and Computer Science, University of Southampton.

Current Projects
Co-Inform (2018-2021) An international research project funded by the European Commission to study and co-create tools for tackling online misinformation.

NoBias (2020-2022) NoBias is a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Innovative Training Networks that aims tounderstand legal, social and technical challenges of bias in AI-decision making, to counter them by developing fairness-aware algorithms, to automatically explain AI results, and to document the overall process for data provenance and transparency.

TRIVALENT (2017-2020) EU H2020 project to develop advanced method for detecting and measuring violent radicalisation behaviour on social media.

Past Projects
COMRADES (2016-2019) a European H2020 project to research and develop a collaborative platform for supporting communities during crises, which incorporates automated methods for processing and linking of crowdsourced information and for safeguarding communities during critical scenarios from inaccurate, distrusted and fragmented information posted about the crises on social media

DecarboNet (2013-2016) EU FP7 project to develop platforms for raising collective awareness and influencing behavioural change using a suit of socio-technical strategies and techniques.

Sense4Us (2013-2016) EU FP7 project that aims to develop tools and techniques to enable policy makers to gather, integrate, and analyse policy-related discussions and networks on social media.

ReelLives (2013-2016) EPSRC project that aims to develop filmic representations of social media content for individuals and groups using a mixture of semantic, content, and network analysis and narrative generation techniques.

ROBUST (2010-2013) The objective of ROBUST was to analyze, manage and care for online communities, in order to support their well being, to measure their created values and to exploit the knowledge and information contained within.

WeGov (2010-2012) EU project WeGov developed a toolset so full advantage can be taken of well-established social networking sites when engaging citizens as part of governance and policy-making processes.

TAGora (2006-2009) This EU funded project helps to define Semiotic Dynamics, a new field that studies how semiotic relations can originate, spread and evolve over time in populations. It investigates web-scale collaborative tagging behaviour to further our understanding of the dynamics of information in online communities.

OntoMediate (2006-2009) Aims to explore the extent to which collaborative environments can be used to support the identification of mappings between ontologies.

BioOntoSearch: A three month project funded by the Leverhulme Trust to investigate searching and ranking of biomedical ontologies at the Stanford Medical Institute


All my publications are available here in ePrints.


  • "Co-Creating Misinformation Resilient Societies", presentation about the Co-Inform project, delivered at the Paris Peace Forum, Paris, France, 2019. (slides)
  • "Improving the digital landscape for our children", reflections on the Online Harms White Paper published in April 2019. Presented at a workshop organised by the Security Awareness Special Interest Group SASIG, London, UK, 2019. (slides)
  • "Co-Creating Misinformation Resilient Societies", invited talk at the event: "Why does fact checking matter? @ImagineBelfast" which was organised by FactCheck Northern Ireland. (slides)
  • ”Crises information analysis", keynote at the International Conference on Social Informatics (SocInfo18), Saint Petersburg, Russia, 2018. (slides)
  • "Detecting online grooming and radicalisation", invited talk at the Society of Evidence Based Policing (SEBP) conference, Milton Keynes, UK, 2018. (slides)
  • ”Making more sense out of social data”, invited talk at the 4th Workshop on Linked Science 2014 — Making Sense Out of Data (LISC2014) , at 13th International Semantic Web Conference (ISWC), Trentino, Italy, 2014. (slides)
  • "Social Media Analytics with a pinch of semantics" . Invited lecture at the The 10th Summer School on Ontology Engineering and the Semantic Web (SSSW'13), DERI, NUIG, Cercedilla, Spain, July 2013. (slides)
  • "Monitoring and Analysis of Online Communities". Invited lecture at the Web Science Doctoral Summer School, DERI, NUIG, Galway, Ireland, July 2011. (slides) (video)
  • "Live Social Semantics", invited lecture at 8th Summer School on Ontology Engineering and the Semantic Web (SSSW 2011), Cercedilla, Spain, July 2011. (slides)
  • "I know what you did last conference: Tracking and analysis of social networks", invited talked at Social Data on the Web (SDoW) workshop, at 9th International Semantic Web Conference (ISWC), Shanghai, China, November 2010. (slides)
  • "Interlinking Semantics, the Social Web, and the Real-world", keynote at Workshop on Adaptation, Personalization and REcommendation in the Social-semantic Web (APRESW), at the Extended Semantic Web conference (ESWC), Crete, Greece, June 2010. (slides)

Conference Organisation

Program Committees

  • Senior Programme Committee member (SPC) of the 28th International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI), 2019.
  • International Semantic Web Conference (ISWC), 2019.
  • International Conference on Semantic Systems (SEMANTICS), 2019.
  • Web and Society track of The Web Conference 2019 (WWW), 2019.
  • International ACM Web Science Conference (WebSci), 2019.

  • Senior Programme Committee of the International Semantic Web Conference (ISWC), 2018.
  • "Journalism, Misinformation and Fact Checking" alternate track at the 27th World Wide Web Conference (WWW), 2018.
  • International Workshop on Social Web in Emergency and Disaster Management (SWDM 2018, ACM International Conference on Web Search and Data Mining (WSDM 2018).

  • Senior Programme Committee of the International Semantic Web Conference (ISWC), 2017.
  • International Conference on Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining (ASONAM), 2017.
  • International Knowledge Capture Conference (K-Cap), 2017.
  • International Conference on Semantic Systems (SEMANTICS), 2017.
  • International Conference on Social Informatics (SocInfo), 2017.
  • Seventh International Multidisciplinary Conference on e-Technologies, 2017.

  • The 25th World Wide Web Conference (WWW), Montreal, Canada, 2016
  • ACM Conference on Web Science (WebSci), Hannover, Germany, 2016
  • The 15th International Semantic Web Conference (ISWC), Kobe, Japan, 2016
  • The 8th International Conference on Social Informatics (SocInfo), Bellevue, WA, USA, 2016