As a partnership formed by six international organizations in 2004, the Administration and Cost of Elections (ACE) project provides, through its online Electronic Publications, info, texts, and data on elections and their administration, with a specific focus on options, detailed procedures, alternative solutions, the administrative and cost implications associated with organizing elections. The ACE website also provides complete and systematic information on electoral systems, although the general updating rate is quite slow. The web-pages are currently available in English, French and Spanish, and some parts also in other languages such as Arabic, Croatian, Albanian, translated by the partner institutions. Sample materials, such as elections manuals, innovative and cost-effective country case studies for comparative purposes and a glossary of elections wording are also provided. Records are provided in textual format, largely commented and annotated. Users can search material through an extremely simple keyword search feature and download them in pdf format or save them on-screen, completely free of charge. Along with a sitemap, each page is available in printer-friendly format and can be promptly emailed to other people. Somehow original is its vertical structure, a clear content categorization and outline enables a good usability level.
Information and data about election management and costs worldwide
Democratic governance for reinventing government
Related to the John Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, The Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation explores core issues in democratic practice and effective governance, in democratic processes and institutional adaptation throughout the world in different societies. The Ash Institute website provides information about the center’s activities, conferences, seminars, and award announcements. A fully-free access is also offered to abstracted and full-text papers and to case studies, research papers, reports and projects (only Teaching Case Studies require a payment). Materials range from research reports to learning tools, mainly full-text available in pdf format and sometimes in audio-video versions. This website is also fully integrated with the portal of Government Innovators Network, which offers a large archive of documents, projects descriptions and online communities of practice about innovation in governance. The Ash website clear design and efficient content organization provides a positive environment for any user, with immediate orientation and quick material retrieval also for non-expert users. The overall updating rate is fair, particularly for internal announcements, even if could clearly be improved.
Berkman Center for Internet & Society
A research center exploring cyberlaws and e-politics
As a non-profit organization based at the Harvard Law School, the Berkman Center for Internet & Society’s mission is to explore and understand cyberspace with special regard for its norms, standards, and for the need or lack for laws and sanctions. As the main outlet for a top academic think tank launched in 1996, this site produces a vast and comprehensive coverage of internet law, politics and developments, with an interdisciplinary approach and contributions from world-renowned scholars. Organized under a professional and user-friendly structure, the website content is completely free and open to the public, with many downloadable pdf files, a keyword search facility and plenty of useful links pointing to external resources. Users can find the latest news and material about academic programs, research projects, and other activities, including a collective blog with related RSS feeds and podcasts. Moreover, this website shares an open software platform for free online lectures, discussions and newsmailing. The Berkman Center’s website is a valuable resource for anybody interested in keeping the pace with important issues related to internet governance, law and e-politics.
Center for Democracy & Technology
An initiative for promoting democracy in the digital age
The Center for Democracy and Technology is a non-profit public policy organization that works to promote democratic values and constitutional liberties in the digital age. It is supported by foundations, corporations, international institutions, and trade associations. The Center seeks practical solutions to enhance free expression and privacy in global communication technologies. Its mission is to develop, implement and promote public policies to preserve and enhance free expression, privacy, open access and democratic values in the digital era. Through its website, the Center organizes working groups to explore solutions for critical policy issues. Users and activists can find useful resources to take actions in defense of civil rights such as comprehensive research reports, articles, papers and books, policy briefs. The Center also publishes regular news to deliver accurate, up-to-date information on public policy issues affecting civil liberties online. Users can easily access the different sections and retrieve a large amount of material for free.
Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement
Research on politics and civic life for young Americans
Founded in 2001 and based in the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy, the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) supports specific research on the civic and political engagement of young Americans and is managed by an advisory board and a wide range of expert guide associates. Targeting people between the ages of 15 and 25 years, CIRCLE’s main mission is to increase their engagement in politics and civic life. Its activities are mostly devoted to original research, data gathering and information production related to such topics. Following public affairs, daily news and other sources related to high school education, CIRCLE organizes reports, fact-sheets, working papers and other material related to youth civic engagement in the U.S. The entire website is free of charge and open to the public, and research papers and other material are ready to be downloaded as pdf files. Along with links pointing to many similar entities throughout the U.S., the website offers some tool kits for program evaluation (to be purchased) and booklets (free as pdf files) aimed to educators and organization staff. Regularly updated with new research and information, the website also operates as a sort of clearinghouse for data, trends, and news on civic education. Also available are a monthly newsletter (in pdf) and email news updates.
A Spanish-speaking news-gathering and forum on PS issues
The Spanish-speaking Portal for Political Analysis and Information Ciudad Politica is an independent, Latin America-focused political science portal devoted to developing the discipline both theoretically and in practice, with over 11,000 members. The portal aims at supporting the political science community through news items, communication forums and networking activities among institutions, civil society and politics. Students, journalists, politicians, scholars and civil servants debate, post news, articles and papers in several issue-specific forums. Some universities cooperate with the portal, yet the material is limited to that provided by the portal’s contributors. Also provided are a good amount of annotated links to research institutes, PS associations, reviews and South-American newspapers, as well as info about job opportunities and events. A sitemap and a keyword facility are also available, while the front page provides several short post and news (some in English) updated quite frequently. Access, subscription and participation are completely free of charge, under a basic structure enabling an easy navigation to any user.
Concepts and Methods
The IPSA Research Committee on Concepts and Methods
The Committee on Concepts and Methods promotes conceptual and methodological discussion in political science and provides a forum of debate amongst methodological schools. It understands itself as an open and plural platform of discussion and is currently hosted at the Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales in Mexico City (some web content is in Spanish only). The Committee website is freely accessible to all users. It provides info about the Committee (activities, researchers, projects, events) and offers some full-text working papers, abstracts and a Dictionary of Untranslatable Terms in Politics, which discusses political terms of difficult translation from and into English. A great amount of external links and a large list of bibliographical references on concept analysis and methodology (organized by topics and authors) are also available. Full-text versions of the provided records are usually downloadable in pdf format, while for other items only webpage saving is allowed. Users can browse and search the Committee webpages through a basic keyword option and also add comments to website material. There is the possibility of interacting with the Committee members by submitting working papers. Despite the lack of sophisticated navigational aids, this website has a clear structure and is easy to use.
Consortium on Qualitative Research Methods
Qualitative research methods in the social sciences
Hosted by the Maxwell School at Syracuse University, the Consortium on qualitative research methods promotes the teaching and use of qualitative research methods in the social sciences. Its members include departments, centers and/or institutes of several universities. The website provides information about the Consortium activities and its staff, teaching material (such as syllabi and seminar schedules), and a fair quantity of working papers, presented with annotations and full-text downloadable. The Consortium also participates – and links – to the APSA section on Qualitative Methods and to the 2005-founded APSA Working Group. Annual trainings on qualitative research methods are also organized, whose online materials and articles are nevertheless reserved to participants. Updating is not frequent and varies according to section: information about teaching activities are added every year while publications are posted on the web less regularly and according to research timing. Records can be located only by browsing through categories without search features (very few connections to external websites are provided). Users are allowed to navigate and to access materials completely free of charge. With its simple content categorization, this website enables an immediate orientation — although the basic structure is quite uninviting to further inquiries.
A consortium devoted to research and practice of deliberation
The Deliberative Democracy Consortium (DDC) is a network of researchers aimed at strengthening the research and practice of deliberative democracy. The activities of the Consortium are coordinated by a 16-member steering committee and more than 30 organizations. Its website aims to support, promote and institutionalize deliberative democracy at all levels of governance in the United States and around the world. Provided access to various materials: the Journal of Public Deliberation, offering full-text aricles in pdf format, some e-books samples and chapter abstracts, descriptions of the consortium’s projects, info on its current activities and periodical e-bulletins. Users can download records for free and also retrieve a webliography (in excel format), which collects and summarizes materials published on the web. Documents are presented in a clear linking architecture with some connections to related organizations and their materials. For some sections a monthly updating rate is assured. The website also contains a blog and a wiki aiming at supporting the DDC activities and at fostering reflection on the role of deliberation and its applications. Although no keyword search engine is provided and only basic navigational tips support orientation, a user-friendly interface permits easy understanding of the overall website structure.
Democratic Audit of Australia
National surveys on current Australian issues
The Audit project, developed under the auspices of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA), is supported by the Australian Research Council and other international institutions. Since 2002 a team at the Australian National University conduct surveys on Australian democracy, on such areas as political equality, government responsiveness and accountability, civil liberties and human rights, as well as other relevant current issues. The Audit adopts a comparative approach across Australia’s nine jurisdictions and uses three main international comparators (Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom). A good amount of data and content is distributed throughout the site with many discussion papers and all Audit reports available in various formats, usually pdf or rtf. Focused surveys, providing a full overview of political current issues, are also available. All material provided in this website is fully retrievable for free by any user and downloadable in its original format. A series of links point to similar Audit projects in other countries andto other pertinent webresources. Records can be easily located through a keyword-based search (empowered by a textual guide) or by browsing simple and self-evident categories. Navigation is comfortable and orientation cause no problem for users of any expertise.