Towards an Internet Science
Juan Carlos De Martin (Politecnico di Torino & Harvard University)



Towards the end of the 20th century several researchers saw the need - and the opportunity - to study the Internet in a multidisciplinary fashion. They thought that by bringing together engineering, juridical and other skills, the deep structure of the digital revolution and its complex effects on society would have been easier to identify and understand. The call for a new science was then made by both Tim Berners-Lee (which argued for a "web science", leading to the establishment of the Institute of Web Science) and the European Commission, which has just funded an "Internet Science" research network. During this talk these developments will be discussed, using as primary examples the history and experience of two Internet & Society research centers, the Berkman Center at Harvard and the NEXA Center at Politecnico di Torino, established in 2006 along the influential Berkman model.


Juan Carlos De Martin is a Berkman Faculty Fellow and Faculty co-director of the NEXA Center for Internet & Society at the Politecnico of Torino, Italy, which he co-founded in 2006.

A computer engineering professor with research interests focusing on digital media processing and transmission, he has been broadening the scope of his attention to the more general theme of the interaction between digital technologies and society. His most recent main interest is the future of university in the Internet age, a topic on which he is writing a book.

In 2003 he started to lead, together with prof. Marco Ricolfi, the Creative Commons Italy team (link:; since 2005 he has been representing, on a volunteer basis, Creative Commons in Italy. Between 2007 and 2011 Juan Carlos De Martin was the coordinator of COMMUNIA, the European thematic network on the digital public domain. Since 2007 he is president of the libraries of the Politecnico di Torino.

Before returning to Italy in 1998, Juan Carlos De Martin was a visiting researcher at the University of California at Santa Barbara for two years and, after receiving his Ph.D. in Telecommunications from the Politecnico di Torino, he worked for two years at Texas Instruments in Dallas, Texas.

In Spring 2012 Juan Carlos will teach a new course on the digital revolution to First Year students at the Politecnico di Torino. Juan Carlos De Martin also serves as member of the Scientific Board of the Institute of the Italian Encyclopedia Treccani and of the Biennale Democrazia. He is a frequent op-ed contributor to "La Stampa", one of the Italian leading newspapers, and he often acts as a commentator in European media.

Juan Carlos De Martin is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) and is the author, or co-author, of over 100 peer-reviewed conference papers, journal papers and book chapters.