Established in June 1997, the Centre provides research, analysis, data-collection on issues and processes related to political change at the sub-national, national and international levels. Based at the University of Siena, Italy, a team of political and social sciences scholars and researchers covers such issues as European integration, programmes of government and political parties, public opinion and foreign policy. The website hosts a series of publications, including about two dozens of occasional papers, several lectures and book and article reviews, and the Centre’s yearly activity reports dating back to 1998. Quite interesting is the public documentation and data section, with survey questions on subjects ranging from the Kosovo crisis to terrorism outside the US to internal issues related to current Italian and European political scene. All those documents are free to download as pdf files, while the entire site has an open access policy. Along with detailed info on the CIRCaP’s seminars, courses and research areas, also useful is the link page pointing to (mostly European) institutions working in the Political Science field and other databases and resources across the world.
Centre for the Study of Political Change (CIRCaP)
Research, analysis, data-collection, advanced education on political change
Centre for the Study of Public Policy
A research centre on mass behavior in new democracies
The Center for the Study of Public Policy is located at the University of Aberdeen and its main focus is on countries of recent democratization and development in Central and Eastern Europe. The Center aims at understanding how people are reacting to institutions of state and market, with the development of innovative social, economic and political indicators. On its website, topical analysis of Barometer data and related studies by social scientists from all over Europe and the United States are available. A good quantity of records, such as papers, reports and survey results is present. Abstracts, book descriptions, tables of contents, some sample reading and survey questionnaires are available without payment. For accessing full-text records a payment is required. Users can purchase online the desired record through a pay-per-service feature. Items are mainly in image format, except for sample pages offered in pdf. Browsing is allowed with no keyword-based search. Linking features are also scarcely developed and few connections to external sites are provided. Based on simple design, the website is quite user-friendly and provides an easy navigation to users of any expertise.
Analysis and research on international issues
Chatham House is a London-based organization founded in 1920 and aimed to stimulate debate and research on international issues. The Chatham House members are both institutions and individuals, academics but also media people, politicians, NGOs, etc., interested in a free discussion about political, business, security, law and other key issues at the regional and international level. Chatham House experts provide interviews and material on the main center’s subjects of interest and on “hot” current topics. The website offers access to Chatham House general and membership info, publications and research papers. Along with a free monthly newsletter and other events alert, abstracts and excerpts are retrievable for free by all users and visitors as well as some working paper and report, while the entire access to full text of articles, papers and other contents are reserved to registered members only. All records can be downloaded in pdf format. Members can also access audio recordings and speech transcripts, as well as the online library material including 150,000 books and pamphlets, 1,500 full text journals and several current newspapers in English and other languages. Other publications as books and reports can be ordered and purchased online. This website is carefully updated and shows a quite easy navigation, thanks to a clear content organization.
European Institute of Public Administration
A support for the European administrations
Created in 1981, the European Institute of Public Administration (EIPA) is an independent institute based at Maastricht and articulated in several antennas in different countries and in Brussels. EIPA has been granted the status of European Documentation Centre by the European Commission, becoming a depository of all official EU documents. Its general aim is to support the European Union and its member states’ administrations by conducting researches on public administration and European policies, and by offering training, consultancy and archives. Its website gives access to a large amount of info on the institute’s organization and activities, and provides working papers, proceedings of colloquia or seminars, books and documents containing the results of research activities. Accessible items can be located through a keyword-based search engine and downloadable in pdf format. Many full texts are available free of charge while for digital books retrieval a payment is required. Users are also allowed to freely consult the large institute’s library catalogue, which houses a collection of 25,000 volumes on European issues, public administration and public management. In addition to this, a useful lists of external connections to European institutions and to related websites are retrievable for further navigation. The website structure allows easy orientation and material and info retrieval.
Press and public opinion analysis toward a EU awareness
The “Europe Project Study Centre” is a joint venture founded in 2005 by the bank Foundation of the Cassa di Risparmio and the University of Bologna aimed at studying public opinion trends and media coverage within the common European awareness. With over 15 top researchers and a professional site management, the project provides right from its homepage a good selction of analysis, research papers and news items that are the core activities of the Centre. Overall the website – provided in English and Italian – includes full-text of 12 two-month Search Analysis for the major EU contries, also available as pdf files, 10 focus papers and a long list of daily articles published on major EU newspapers (with direct links). Also provided are bi-weekly maps of the main articles published in major daily and periodical press dating back to February 2005, sorted by country or as pdf files. The Centre also organized many public initiatives in last three years and published six books on several issue related to EU and public opinion (none available online). The website features a simple outline and easy navigation, but lacks user or social interactions, beside a free newsletter and a simple key-word search window.
International programs and publications for political and economic freedom
As an independent non-governmental organization supporting the expansion of freedom in the world, Freedom House (FH) was founded in 1941 with the aim of enhancing peace and democracy. The organization promotes publications and initiatives supporting human rights, democracy, free market economics, the rule of law, independent media, and US engagement in international affairs. Its website has a great quantity of useful information and data about current affairs worldwide always up-to-date and particularly relevant for PS scholars, from daily news to general overviews to in-depth analysis. A special section is devoted to the country reports on democracy, featuring the FH indicators of civil liberties and political rights. Organized under clearly defined sections, the entire site material is free and open to the public, with special reports and other papers available in pdf and html versions, along with charts, maps and report documents. Also provided, in each page’s left bar, are links to external partner organizations around the world and a key-word search facility. Despite its lack of specific help options, a good level of usability is assured by the site’s effective and consistent design, along with some pictures and graphical elements strategically positioned.
A renowned public policy research center at Stanford University
Hosted at the Stanford University, the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace is a public policy research center devoted to the advanced study of politics, economics, and political economy, both domestic and foreign, as well as international affairs. Its Library and Archives physical structure with more than 1.6 million volumes and more than fifty million documents is an outstanding source worldwide for research on these topics. Online resources of this huge archive are also remarkable and the website provides access to a relevant number of records. Annotated and commented records as well as articles, reports, essays, newsletters and comments are retrievable for free by all users. Access to the Institute journals, covering a wide range of public policy issues, is also available to the public, while full-text books usually require a fee and abstracts and tables of contents can be accessed free of charge. An efficient search engine enables also users to retrieve detailed information on the institute activities, programs, awards and researchers. A collection of online news articles by or about Hoover scholars is also provided here and have an excellent updating rate, with news posted mostly daily. Comprising a well-organized structure, a comprehensive FAQ file and a sitemap, this site is generally easy to navigate.
Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy
An umbrella organization for social interdisciplinary research
Founded in 1999, the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy serves as the umbrella organization for interdisciplinary research in the social and behavioral sciences and policy at Columbia University. It supports a wide array of innovative interdisciplinary research projects and research centers, by providing administrative support and infrastructure and sponsoring numerous public workshops, conferences, and seminars. Currently, there are several programs within the center, devoted to a wide range of topics related to social sciences. Its website offers a great amount of records, available free of charge: quarterly newsletters, press releases, announcements, director’s letters, as well as calendars of activities and teaching infos, with high updating rate. Large series of working papers are also retrievable with abstracts in various formats (pdf, html and text version). The website also gives access to the related journal Political Analysis, freely accessible up to abstract level, and to the center’s annual reports. Users are allowed to retrieve material by browsing or through a basic search engine, and many options are provided for items downloading. Clear categories and roll-over facilities permit easy navigation.
International Foundation for Election Systems
An international research center for democracy
As an applied research center, the International Foundation for Election Systems (IFES) has operated in over 100 countries providing technical electoral assistance, promoting democracy and serving as an information clearinghouse on democracy and elections worldwide. The center produces original researches and publications, ranging from surveys measuring democratic change to best practices solidifying the rule of law. Its website, articulated in some other collateral websites, offers free access to detailed info on the center’s programs on its five main activity areas (civil society, election, global/cross-cutting, governance, rule of law), while a newsroom collects audio-video documents on the center’s activities with a high updating rate. Large descriptions and excerpts are available for publications, reports, surveys and focus groups in various formats – from text to multimedia – and many links to partner organizations and pertinent web-resources are offered as well. One of the most remarkable IFES sub-websites provides an Election Guide, a very comprehensive source offering accurate data on national elections, political parties and candidates, referenda provisions, governmental and electoral structures. Although the understanding of the overall IFES website structure may be not immediate, a textual mapping and a search facility can help any user in a successfull orientation.
The institute for democracy and electoral assistance
Created in 1995, the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) is an intergovernmental organization with member states from all continents. It works in partnership with a range of institutions and its current areas of activity include: democracy building and conflict management, strengthening of electoral processes, developing of political parties as actors in democracy, political equality and participation (especially of underrepresented groups, i.e. women in politics). The website provides regular publications (such as handbooks, country-specific reports, conference reports, policy papers), presented in various formats, from list to full-text, in many languages, and with rich annotations and descriptions. In addition, it collects and produces a wide range of databases on different areas of democracy and elections worldwide, besides offering external websources. With respect to the organization’s activities, a great amount of information about Idea’s mission, projects and members are offered and a special section informs users on upcoming events. Publications are available free of charge, mainly in pdf format, and databases are open also to non-affiliated. A sitemap permits good orientation, the linking feature is quite developed and a keyword engine permits fast search.