ECS Professor Nigel Shadbolt was a member of the Steering Group for the new global Web Index, compiled by the World Wide Web Foundation, and published today at a launch event in London.
The World Wide Web Foundation is led by Professor Sir Tim Berners-Lee, creator of the World Wide Web and also a Professor in ECS-Electronics and Computer Science. The new Index is the world’s first multi-dimensional measure of the Web’s growth, utility and impact on people and nations. Covering 61 developed and developing countries, it measures how well these different countries around the world are harnessing the benefits of an open and universal Web. This inaugural poll is topped by Sweden, followed by the USA, the UK, Canada and Finland in the top five.
Combining over 80 indicators to evaluate access, affordability, institutional and policy environment, and social and economic utility, the Web Index will now be published on an annual basis, providing an analytical tool for researchers and a resource for policy makers.
"By shining a light on the barriers to Web for everyone, the index is a powerful tool that will empower individuals, government and organisations to improve their societies," Sir Tim tells the BBC. "The Web is a global conversation. Growing suppression of free speech, both online and offline, is possibly the single biggest challenge to the future of the web," he added.
Professor Nigel Shadbolt, who is a member of the Board of the World Wide Web Foundation representing the Web Science Trust, commented: "The Web is essential to modern life. Providing a detailed index of how well countries are doing at providing the empowering and enriching benefits of the Web is a really important development. We hope to refine and extend the reach of the Web Index – but it is clear that it will inform decision making and help people argue the case for doing better. Importantly all of the the data and methods used in the Web Index will be transparently and openly published for others to use."