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Professor Harith Alani

Profile summary

  • Central Academic Staff
  • Professor of Web Science
  • Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics
  • Knowledge Media Institute
  • h.alani

Professional biography

Professor of Web Science at the Knowledge Media instituteThe Open University. Previously to joining KMi, I was a senior research fellow at the School of Electronics and Computer Science, University of Southampton. I have published more than 120 scientific papers in various leading journals and conferences, and have been involved as a Principal Investigator in several national and international research projects. Currently I am Co-ordinator of two EU projects; FP7 DecarboNet, and H2020 COMRADES, and member of the Elsevier Advisory Panel. Recently I served as the programme co-chair of World Wide Web Conference (WWW) 2014 Web Science Track, International Semantic Web Conference (ISWC) 2013, and ACM Web Science Conference (WebSci) 2013. 

See homepage for further detail. 


Research interests

social media analysis, online behaviour analysis, offline-online social networks. 

Research Activity

Externally funded projects


RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Lead01/Jan/201631/Dec/2018EC (European Commission): FP(inc.Horizon2020, H2020, ERC)
The aim of this proposal is, firstly and fore-mostly, to create an open-source, community-driven resilience platform, designed by the communities, for the communities, to enable them to self-organise during crisis, to co-create and share knowledge and trustworthy advise, and to identify assess, and validate humanitarian needs at the community (macro) and citizen (micro) levels, to target their relief and recovery efforts more effectively and rapidly. Secondly, the project will foster social innovation during crises by developing and integrating automated methods for advanced processing and linking of crowdsourced information, and for safeguarding communities during critical scenarios from inaccurate, distrusted, and overhyped information, and for arming humanitarian communities with enriched, high quality, and actionable information. More specifically, the objectives are to: 1. Extract the socio-technical requirements for community resilience platforms by reviewing the role of technology during previous crises scenarios, and by engaging communities in participatory design and requirements gathering initiatives 2. Produce novel automated methods for identifying and semantically representing the geographical, temporal, and topic clusters of citizen emergency events, and the community network broadcasting these events. 3. Design and develop programs and algorithms for measuring the trustworthiness, informativeness, and veracity of information in multiple languages, gathered from distributed social data sources and communities during crisis 4. Integrate and release project output with Ushahidi;7 a popular open-source platform for crisis situations. The platform will extensible, and grounded on open data, open source, and open hardware. 5. Train and evaluate project tools and algorithms with real communities and in live events, as well as with over 10 million multilingual historical social media messages collected for nearly 30 crises including floods, earthquakes, terrorist attacks, hurricanes, and wildfires. The proposal aims to target the objectives above with an interdisciplinary consortium of computer scientists, social scientists, and humanitarian research organisations, through user driven designs and pilots, and involving several existing communities.

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