By far the most important scientific cooperation partner for the Institute is Universität Hamburg. Cooperations in research and teaching currently extend to the Faculties of Economics and Social Sciences, Humanities, Law as well as Mathematics, Computer Science and Natural Sciences. We share common interests with the Department of Computer Science in the field of algorithmic decision-making and the role of technology in control structures on the Internet. There are also cooperative relationships with the Department of Computer Science at the TU Hamburg (see the project "Information Governance Technologies", which investigates how information processing can be made transparent and controllable for individuals and institutions by means of novel technical mechanisms).
The HBI has also been a cooperation partner of the Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG) in Berlin since its foundation in 2011. For the HBI, the cooperation means above all a disciplinary expansion, but also easier access to the community of Internet-oriented international research. With the appointment of Wolfgang Schulz to the HIIG Board of Directors, there is also a personal connection on the management level. There are common research interests especially with regard to better understanding the regulatory structures that shape Internet behaviour, as they are being examined at the HBI in Research Programme 2.
As yet, the Institute has not formalised cooperation with institutes, universities and individual researchers beyond Hamburg in the form of long-term cooperation agreements. Such contacts are, however, numerous, and also extend beyond Germany and Europe:
Within Germany, the Institute seeks cooperative projects, above all in order to extend its own disciplinary perspectives in connection with and by means of concrete projects. The “Network for Media and Health Communication”, co-founded in 2003 by C. Lampert and an integral component of the competence area “Health Communication”, can also look back on several years of success.
Together with the University of Bremen and Universität Hamburg, we have also established the research association "Kommunikative Figurationen/Transforming Communications", which is dedicated to the media-driven transformation of social realities. With the help of the concept of communicative figurations, the extent to which current media change is linked to structural upheavals in the social construction of realities is being examined for various social areas. The Institute is primarily interested in the public sphere, journalism, socialisation within families and processes of law making. Three DFG-funded projects will help to advance the topic.
As part of the BMBF-funded "Research Institute Social Cohesion (RISC)", five sub-projects from the fields of media use research, journalism research and the role of public service as well as a Social Media Observatory have been carried out since June 2020. The RISC is an association of eleven higher education and research institutes located in ten different German federal states and thus also focuses on the regional diversity of social cohesion in Germany. The more than 100 researchers from many different disciplines will work together using empirical studies and large-scale comparisons to develop practice-relevant proposals that help to meet the social challenges of the present day. They will cover aspects such as identities and regional life-worlds, inequalities and solidarity, media and conflict culture, polarisation and populism, but also anti-Semitism and hate crime, and explore these in a European comparison and beyond.
Besides the HBI in Hamburg, the network includes the Technical University of Berlin, the universities of Bielefeld, Bremen, Frankfurt, Halle-Wittenberg, Hanover, Constance and Leipzig, as well as the Soziologische Forschungsinstitut Göttingen and the Institute for Democracy and Civil Society Jena.
The close cooperation with international partners is of great significance for the Institute. Only through them is it possible to carry out substantial comparative research and to work together on projects with a global perspective. Often the specific competencies of the partner institutions complement each other, thus creating synergies. With cooperation projects on a European and global level, the exchange of researchers as well as international conferences and specialist events, the Institute is increasingly establishing itself as a node in an international network of research institutions.
The Institute is involved in numerous networks: for example, it is part of the Network of Internet and Society Research Centers (NoC). Partners in this network include institutions such as the Oxford Internet Institute, the Nexa Center for Internet and Society in Turin and the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. The NoC research network also focuses on cooperative research. German activities are coordinated with the Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG). Since 2017, the European research institutes, including the HBI, have been united within the NOC in a European Hub, which promotes increased regional networking, academic exchange and cooperation between Internet researchers in Europe. The tasks of the hub are to develop a common European research agenda, to organize regional workshops and conferences and to develop guidelines and ethical standards for Internet research.
Furthermore, the Institute has been coordinating the EU Kids Online research network since 2014, which was founded in 2006 by the London School of Economics (LSE) and which includes research institutions from 33 European countries. With comparative studies on the online use of children and young people and the associated opportunities and risks, as well as numerous contributions to the media policy and educational debate at European and national level, this network has established itself as an important player in recent years.
Since 2013, the Institute has been a cooperation partner of the Reuters Institute (Oxford) and is responsible for the German part of the Reuters Institute Digital News Report. The annual international representative survey on the changed use of news in meanwhile 38 countries shows general trends and national characteristics of the developments.
In addition, there are intensive collaborative relationships with individual research institutes worldwide, some of which have emerged from network cooperation. The research network Entangled Media Histories (EMHIS) promotes cooperation between the Section for Media History at the Department of Communication and Media at Lund University (Sweden), the Department of Theatre, Film and Television Studies at Aberystwyth University (UK) and the "Research Centre Media History" at the HBI. Since June 2017, the Research Centre has been part of the research network Transnational Media Histories, supported by the DAAD, in cooperation with the Centre for Information and Communication Studies at Fudan University, Shanghai (China) and the Centre for Media History at Macquarie University, Sydney (Australia).
Wherever possible, the Institute puts emphasis on ensuring that young researchers and students benefit from the research cooperation. A project cooperation with the National Law University (NLU) in New Delhi, India, resulted in a series of summer and winter schools for students of the Faculty of Law at Universität Hamburg (UNESCO Chair on Freedom of Communication, held by Wolfgang Schulz, Director of the HBI).