Influence Operations Researchers’ Guild

The community working to counter influence operations is disparate, and few common standards exist to guide and assess investigators’ work. The Influence Operations Researchers’ Guild attempts to address these challenges by supporting the development of a more cohesive community around the investigation of these issues. It is our hope that the Guild will serve as a place to define and share best practices, to improve research standards, and to strengthen the research community’s response to influence operations on the basis of shared values and norms. Members pledge to support the motivating principles behind these goals as embodied in the Guild Charter, which defines the values toward which they should strive:

Diversity

We foster and promote the work of a diverse research community and mentor its researchers.

Collaboration

We work together as a community, coordinating around the release of information when working on the same case study.

Attribution

We make public attributions of actors behind influence operations only when absolutely certain.

Collection

We follow platform policies and relevant legislation in the collection of data.

Privacy

We protect the privacy of those people targeted by influence operations and identified in research.

Accuracy

We make judgements based on facts and facts alone.

Excellence

We aim for our work to be of the highest quality.

PCIO acts as an impartial administrator of the Guild, managing its public-facing components and the initial process of establishment.

 

Joining the guild

This application process is designed to bolster and add depth to a community of influence operations investigators who have undertaken to follow high research standards. The focus of the network will be on improving research standards by convening the best practitioners in one network and transparently sharing lessons learned with the wider community. Before submitting an application to the Guild, please ensure you have been in contact with the Guild Manager (Dean.Jackson@ceip.org) who assesses all potential candidates prior to application.

Applications are open to both individual researchers and organizations exploring influence operations, specifically those conducting:

  • Independent analysis of digital platform takedowns
  • Monitoring, situational awareness and analysis of digital platform and intelligence trends with a view to identifying and better understanding influence operations
  • Academic analysis of influence operations
  • Journalistic investigations into influence operations

All applicants will be asked to demonstrate:

  • A track record of high-quality, respected analysis and reporting;
  • An ability to outline research methodology and processes for external scrutiny;
  • A commitment to following best practices in privacy, security, and ethical collection and use of user-generated information derived from online analysis;
  • Trusted expertise and legitimacy among members of the community.

Duties of Guild members include:

  • Reviewing new applications and mentoring potential members.
  • Actively contributing to identifying research organizations in parts of the world where the challenges of influence operations are most acute, recommending them for membership.
  • Contributing to research publications that define and share best practice with the broader community

After being completed, the application, follow-up communications, and interviews will be compiled into a dossier that will be reviewed by leading experts in the field. This Review Committee will assess applications on a case-by-case basis against transparent and objective criteria as outlined in the application form. New applications will only be accepted from organizations recommended by a Guild member and will be limited to 10 per calendar year. Applicants must be referred by an existing Guild member.

The application process is managed using Submittable. Click the link below to access the application form, and please direct any questions to dean.jackson@ceip.org.

Apply to the Guild

Curious if you or your organization are a good fit for the Guild? Download one of our prompt sheets for a clear set of guidelines to support the assessment of applications from organizations and individuals for the Influence Operations Researchers’ Guild.

Guild Members

Australian Strategic Policy Institute

ASPI provides expert advice on a wide range of issues – including influence operations through its International Cyber Policy Centre. Its diverse operations range from policy-informing research to capacity-building trainings and workshops, all of which has made ASPI an influential voice in global policy debates.

DFRLab

The Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Lab (DFRLab) has operationalized the study of disinformation, exposing falsehoods and fake news, documenting human rights abuses, and building a digital resilience worldwide.

Cardiff University Crime and Security Research Institute OSCAR Programme

Cardiff’s OSCAR (Open Source Communications Analytics Research) programme has been designed to deliver conceptual and methodological advances that enhance understanding of the strategies, tactics and impacts of digital (dis)information operations.

Graphika

Graphika leverages the power of artificial intelligence to create detailed maps of social media landscapes, using new analytical methods and tools to help partners navigate complex online networks.

Stanford Internet Observatory

The Stanford Internet Observatory is a cross-disciplinary program of research, teaching and policy engagement for the study of abuse in current information technologies, with a focus on social media. The Observatory is part of the Cyber Policy Center at Stanford University.

Media Lab

MediaLab is part of Lisbon University’s Communication Science Laboratory (CIES). We research and analyze how communication process have been shaped by the emergence of internet and social media, addressing issues such as how disinformation and counter-narratives circulate online, how they are built and shared, and how information disorders reflect other social issues like trust and digital literacy.

Guild Review Committee

Applications to join the Influence Operations Researchers' Guild are reviewed by three members of the Review Committee. Currently the Review Committee comprises:

Mike Caulfield

Mike Caulfield is currently the director of blended and networked learning at Washington State University Vancouver. An early believer in the idea of civic digital literacies, his work in this area intensified in spring of 2016. His February 2017 work, Web Literacy for Student Fact-Checkers, won the Merlot Award for best open learning resource in the ICT category. He was a runner up in the Rita Allen/RTI International Misinformation Solutions Award (2018). His SIFT model, a practical approach to quick source and claim investigation, encourages readers to take a minute or two to seek out basic information about sources and claims before they engage more deeply with media, and, if necessary, to move on to better material. It is based on research of Sam Wineburg and his own experiences helping faculty to teach critical consumption in the classroom. (photo credit Leah Nash)

Jonathan Corpus Ong

Jonathan Corpus Ong is associate professor of global digital media at the University of Massachusetts - Amherst. His research on the shadowy political trolling industries in Southeast Asia uses ethnography to understand the identities and motivations of disinformation producers. His policy engagement with the Philippines' election commission led to policy change in social media political advertising in the 2019 Philippines Elections. He is currently research fellow at the Shorenstein Center of Harvard Kennedy School where he studies 1) Covid-19 racism and disinformation, 2) conspiracy theory in tarot and astrology online communities, and 3) the human costs of targeted harassment from the perspective of communications and tech workers in human rights organizations.

Tarunima Prabhakar

Tarunima Prabhakar is the co-founder and research lead at Tattle Civic Tech and a non-resident fellow at Carnegie India. At Tattle, she coordinates work on community driven approaches to misinformation response in India. Her broader research interests are around the implications of prediction algorithms on development imperatives and democratic processes. As a practitioner, she has worked on ICTD and Data driven development projects with non-profits and tech companies in Asia and the United States.

Joanna Rohozinska

Joanna Rohozinska is the resident program director for Europe with the International Republican Institute. Based in Brussels she oversees IRI’s Beacon Project, which focuses on building resilient democracies. Joanna has been engaged in programs in the post-Communist space for over 20 years, living and working in several countries in the region, and joined IRI after more than a decade with the National Endowment for Democracy’s Europe programme. She holds a graduate degree in Russian and European history from the University of Toronto where she focused on nationalism and foreign policy issues within the Russian and Soviet Empires.

Eneken Tikk

Eneken Tikk (dr.iur) is executive producer of the Cyber Policy Institute (CPI) in Lieksa, Finland and associate researcher at the Erik Castrén Institute of Helsinki University. She began her career as a lawyer with interest in ICTs and public international law and she has been part of developing Estonian data protection, public e-services and cybersecurity legislation. Dr. Tikk was member of the team that started the NATO CCD COE, where she established and led the legal and policy branch. During her term as senior fellow for cyber security at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS, 2012-2016), Eneken published the Strategic Dossier on the Evolution of the Cyber Domain. She advised the Estonian expert in the UN GGE (2012-2013, 2014-2015 and 2016-2017), advising the Estonian experts on international law, international cyber policy and cyber diplomacy. Eneken leads the Cyber Conflict Prevention project at CPI and heads the 1nternat10nal Law project focused on applying international law to state uses of ICTs. She is co-editor of the Routledge Handbook on International Cybersecurity (2020).

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