The Internet is now the most important international medium of communication and information exchange, embedded in interactions between citizens, firms, governments and NGOs. A significant proportion of economic, social and political life now takes place on-line, bringing new practices, norms and structures. This shift has major implications for public policy in all sectors, from economic policy, social policy and transport to diplomacy and foreign policy.
Understanding public policy in the age of the internet requires understanding how individuals, organizations, governments and networks behave and what motivates them in this new environment. Technological innovation combined with internet-mediated interaction challenges conventional public policy dilemmas — and brings to the fore new ethical issues. New forms of on-line social interaction, such as social networking, peer production, discussion forums and virtual worlds all have potential policy effects. Navigation of these changed waters requires methodological innovation, theoretical development and rigorous empirical investigation. It requires expertise from across academic disciplines, from both science and social science.
Policy & Internet is the first journal to fill this crucial gap in policy knowledge and research. Policy & Internet calls for papers reporting on innovative research into some aspect of the implications of the Internet for public policy. Perspectives from any academic discipline are welcomed, particularly political science, economics, law, sociology, information science, communications, philosophy, computer science, psychology, management, geography and medicine. Topics range across e-commerce, digital government, privacy, cybercrime, Internet activism, identity management, online social networks and relationships, e-democracy, on-line negotiation, internet technology policy, e-health and online education.
The journal also looks forward at the internet-enabled world that policy makers will need to deal with and understand in the next decades; what changes can we anticipate to the economy and education, to working life, to the government and the military, and to the very notion of public life? What policies will encourage favourable development and what problems need policies? As society changes, new policies are required for generations to come. Policy & Internet will be the venue for premier scholars and researchers to set the agenda.