CFP: Challenge: The politics of the financial crisis

APSA PoliInformatics Research Challenge: The Politics of the Financial Crisis

What’s a research challenge? A research challenge invites scholars to show what they can do with a common dataset. In the physical sciences, winning one of these judged competition is a prestigious accomplishment. We invite political scientists to participate in a new research challenge focusing on the politics of the 2007-09 financial crisis.

Why participate? The APSA challenge is one of several that serve as feeders to an interdisciplinary workshop to be held next November. The goal of this workshop is to promote collaborations among political scientists, computer scientists, and journalists to ask new questions and develop new approaches to investigating new repositories of government data. The challenge provides an opportunity to become part of this community.

More than 20 teams entered the computer science edition of this challenge earlier this year. If you are a graduate student or faculty who sees research opportunities in big data, text and data visualization, then bring your ideas to the APSA challenge. Research teams are especially encouraged.

How the challenge works. We provide original data, you pose the question and/or methods. For example, one dataset contains all Federal Reserve meeting transcripts from 2005-08 parsed by speaker statement (9,380 total statements). This record of deliberations before, during and after the crash that has received very limited attention from scholars, in part because the 2008 transcripts were only just released. We also offer every congressional hearings held in response to the crisis (once again parsed by speaker), extensive economic data, and more. Participants are also welcome to incorporate additional data sources as needed.

What can you do with these data? Propose innovative questions, methodologies, and tools for investigating the crisis and other subjects. Submissions may be complete research projects (similar to a conference paper or poster) or ambitious project proposals.

Awards. Entries will be judged by the PoliInformatics steering committee with the winners receiving an award and travel and accommodation expenses to the interdisciplinary November workshop (to be held in the Seattle area Nov. 9-11, 2014). In addition, an edited volume of winning entries from different disciplines is anticipated.

How to participate. There are two options. The first is to bring your project to the pre-conference APSA workshop on Wednesday August 27,2014. This should be a fun opportunity to share and see what other scholars participating in the challenge came up with. The second is to submit your project directly to The deadline for all submissions in August 31, 2014. Awards and invitations will be announced no later than September 15 2014.

In either case, we would appreciate knowing that you are planning to participate. Please submit your proposal to by July 1, 2014

For additional information, go to or contact us at