NICAR PoliInformatics Research Challenge

(access the data below)

What would you want to learn from government data if you had the chance to work with the nation’s top computer science and political science scholars? The PoliInformatics Research Challenge is seeking your input to frame questions, process data and build tools for analyzing government information.

How the PoliInformatics Journalism Challenge works.

We provide the data, you provide the questions, or more.We have  curated a set of documents and data about the 2007-2008 financial crisis from open government sources. What would a journalist  want to do with these data? What are the interesting questions? How might those questions be tackled methodologically?

The Journalism Challenge serves as a feeder to an interdisciplinary workshop about new research opportunities in government data to be held in Seattle, Nov. 9-11, 2014. A travel stipend is provided to invited participants.

Why participate? In November, we will combine everyone’s expertise to see if we can improve how we use large-scale data sets to understand governance and politics. We think data journalists could make a unique contribution to this conversation.  Workshop participants will have the opportunity to collaborate and develop ideas into research projects over the academic year and be invited back to present at the 2015 PI-Net workshop. The projects from the 2015 workshop will be considered for an edited book on Political Informatics.

How to participate. Participants are invited to submit a project proposal based on ideas and questions that they would like to see answered, as well as general scripts or code they develop using our data. A project could be, but is not limited to, tools for making patterns or relationships visible, generating hypotheses, or connecting multiple datasets in order to facilitate deeper analysis. Describe the questions you would like to ask across our curated dataset, investigate a question yourself or describe an ideal system. Proposals should be 3-5 pages or under 1200 words.

Outcomes. The PoliInformatics steering committee will be judging submissions and issuing invitations (about 35) to the workshop. Write up a good idea with interesting questions and join us in November. We want your ideas that might lead to the development of better tools for systematically analyzing government data.

To apply, complete the form below before Monday May 19, 2014.

Send proposals to by July 1, 2014


Datasets related to the Financial Crisis

The following comprise the official data sources available to challenge participants. In addition, upon request, we offer access to Python scripts used to generate challenge data.

CLICK HERE To Access the Challenge Datasets

Economic Indicators (stocks, bonds, CPI, Housing index etc)  DATA

 Other Resources

These additional sources are not part of the official collection.  We ask that any data you collect for the purpose of this challenge be shared.

After Reform

Other possible data options

  • Media coverage of the financial crisis
  • Macroeconomic data during the crisis
  • Congressional floor debates
  • Legislator voting positions
  • Congressional press releases
  • Campaign contributions
  • Lobbying activity
  • Other committee hearings
  • Prior financial regulation legislation and laws
  • Election outcomes data
  • Population data (e.g., income, employment, health)
  • Policy reforms adopted outside the U.S. in response to the financial crisis

 for more information, contact

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