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Measuring, Detecting, and Preventing Cyber Social Threats

The misuse of digital technology and platforms has increased drastically in the last decade. Cyber social threats refer to malicious practices in online settings, some of which are classified as criminal behavior, that are enabled or facilitated by social media and online gaming platforms, or the metaverse (web3). Examples include cyberbullying, harassment, and hate speech, sharing of terrorist or extremist propaganda, (child) sexual abuse, suicide and self-harm encouragement, grooming, abuse based on intimate content (e.g., revenge porn), and the distribution of dis/misinformation, including deepfakes. 

Despite their obvious impact on the well-being of individuals, communities, and society at large, there remains a paucity of evidence-based approaches to measure, detect, prevent, and counter cyber social threats. This special issue aims to showcase recent advances in the literature. 

We will explore a range of manifestations of harmful behaviors, in different online settings. As cyber social threats are an interdisciplinary problem space, we will seek to attract authors from various disciplines, applying qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods. In addition to contributions from academics, we will encourage submissions from practitioners who work, for instance, for civil society organizations, think tanks, or in policy-making roles. We will provide space for original research, theoretical reflections, reviews, position, and dataset papers. Replication studies will be welcome as well. Notably, we will actively promote open science practices and will ask authors to pre-register their work and share their code or data (where possible and appropriate).

Taken together, the collection will offer important insights for scholars, practitioners as well as policymakers. First, we will synthesize advances on how cyber social threats are best theoretically and computationally conceptualized. In addition, the special issue will highlight in which way cyber social threats are effectively measured, analyzed, and detected. Finally, we will provide evidence for tools to counter and prevent cyber social threats. 


TOPICS OF INTEREST:

We invite manuscripts that explore a range of manifestations of malicious and harmful online behaviors, in different online settings. We consider studies that apply qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods. Interdisciplinary approaches are welcome. In addition to submissions from academics, we encourage contributions from practitioners who work, for instance, for civil society organizations, think tanks, or in policy-making roles.

Specifically, the collection’s scope includes, but is not limited to:

  • Reflections on how cyber social threats are best theoretically conceptualized and practically measured 
  • Descriptions of the manifestation of different cyber social threats on specific or across platforms
  • Studies that compare victim or public perceptions of cyber and offline social threats
  • Research that assesses the relationship between cyber and offline social threats
  • Analyses that point to ways in which different forms of cyber social threats (including text, images, videos) are effectively detected
  • Evaluations of and evidence for tools to successfully counter and prevent  cyber social threats
  • Discussions of the development of cyber social threats in the metaverse
  • Ethical considerations associated with the study of cyber social threats
  • Methodological advances

We also promote diverse publishing formats and provide space for:

  • original research
  • theoretical reflections
  • reviews
  • position papers
  • data set papers
  • replication studies

We actively encourage authors to pre-register their work and share their code or data - where possible and appropriate - in repositories like the Open Science Framework or GitHub.


TENTATIVE TIMELINE:

Close submissions: December 31 2022
Review: on rolling basis 
Publish: on rolling basis 


GUEST EDITOR DETAILS:

Dr. Sandy Schumann
Lecturer in Security and Crime Science
Dept of Security and Crime Science
UCL, UK

Dr. Enrico Mariconti
Lecturer in Security & Crime Science
Dept of Security and Crime Science
UCL, UK

Dr. Kimberley Allison
Associate Research Fellow
University of Western Sydney, Australia

Dr. Florence Enock
Research Associate, Online Safety
The Alan Turing Institute, UK

Dr. Ugur Kursuncu
Assistant Professor, Institute for Insight
Georgia State University, USA


PEER REVIEW PROCESS:

Crime Science operates a double-blind peer-review system, where the reviewers do not know the names or affiliations of the authors and the reviewer reports provided to the authors are anonymous.

Submitted manuscripts will generally be reviewed by two to three experts who will be asked to evaluate whether the manuscript is scientifically sound and coherent, whether it duplicates already published work, and whether or not the manuscript is sufficiently clear for publication. 

Please refer to the complete journal peer review policy here: https://crimesciencejournal.biomedcentral.com/submission-guidelines/peer-review-policy  Reviewers will also be asked to indicate how interesting and significant the research is. The Editors will reach a decision based on these reports and, where necessary, they will consult with members of the Editorial Board.


SUBMISSION GUIDELINES:

Paper submissions for the special issue should strictly follow the submission format and guidelines posted at https://crimesciencejournal.biomedcentral.com/submission-guidelines. Each manuscript should not exceed 16 pages in length (inclusive of figures and tables).

Manuscripts must be submitted to the journal online system at https://www.editorialmanager.com/crsc/default1.aspx. To ensure your paper is considered for this collection, please answer "yes" when asked whether you are planning to submit to a special collection, and select “Measuring, Detecting, and Preventing Cyber Social Threats” from the drop-down menu.  In addition, indicate within your cover letter that you wish your manuscript to be considered as part of this collection.