Open Government

Two driving forces have impacted politics in the 21st century:

  • access to computational power;
  • availability of data from institutions, citizens and political parties.

We value data in order to strengthen political participation of citizens, accountability of institutions and improve processes of governments. Here are the topics of research we tackle with Open Science.

Perception of Institutions

Institutions are questionned by populist candidates in elections. However, they also serve as gatekeepers in time of crisis. They communicate on a regular basis in order to keep the public informed of their decisions.

  • What kind of information could be learned from their institutional communication?
  • How to process efficiently the vast amount of data produced on a regular basis?
  • What are the national differences between institutions and the type of institutions?

In this research track, we have focused on the European Central Bank. We analyzed all the speeches of the President of the ECB since its inception. Moreover, we consider the answers provided to the press during a period of time of almost 20 years (1998 - 2016). With strong algorithms, we obtain a polarity index derived from all speeches (from a total of a million words analyzed), giving insights of the perception of the institution.

Data for/about Government

Governments and cities are pushing towards providing open data to the public. From transportation data to transcript of elected councils, more data that can be analyzed by institutions are produced.

  • How could it be used to leverage the depth of such databases?
  • How to reaggregate national indexes based on micro-level data?
  • Would it be possible to nowcast a true value of GDP on a daily basis?

Elections

Elections are held every four to five years around the world. Such configugation allows to organize complex processes, such as debates, voter registrations, polling and voting. With the advent of Internet and an almost constant access to information, the importance of these organizational barriers has decreased.

  • Could we use social media data to complement information of well-calibrate polls and capture different dimensions of the electorate?
  • What information embedded in the metadata of a social post could be used to understand the perception of a political party?
  • In areas of the world where the impartiality of institutions is not the highest one, could unstructured data consolidate forecasting?

Computational Propaganda and Fake News

Election cycles are more short than ever. While a constant coverage of the political scene allows to follow decisions of elected constituents, mid-term votes, primary elections, referenda and elections are driving the public debate. Populism have scored significant results through the world and journalism is more and more questionned.

  • How to detect political bots from social media?
  • What are the strategies to defuse fake news propagation?
  • How do populist movements structure their message?

Political Participation

Internet and social media have lowered the cost of participating in the public sphere. While a ballot casted every four/five years dictates how the government while be shaped, a constant interaction between citizen and government is now possible.

  • How to integrate the voice of citizens in the public debate?
  • What kind of transparent and decentralized tools help organize social movements?
  • How to leverage technology in the voting process?
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