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Observatory for Political Texts in European Democracies - A European Research Infrastructure

Project description

Supporting democracies through analysing political texts

Liberal democracy is facing many challenges in Europe, making it imperative that we remain informed and dedicated to supporting its resilience and sustainability with well-defined, transparent actions. Today’s social scientists have the instruments to adequately observe and analyse the political and societal developments empirically through the political texts produced by political actors, citizens, media, and NGOs. However, fragmentation of the research field, language and context sensitivity of tools and unclear legal and ethical frameworks are key obstacles. The EU-funded OPTED project will lay the foundation in terms of conceptual design work for a European research infrastructure to support political text analysis. The project will address the development and application of instruments and techniques, the standardisation of quality estimation, scientific community building, and the legal and ethical frameworks.


Understanding the challenges to liberal democracy across Europe and supporting its resilience and sustainability, now more than ever requires us to better systematize and to make transparent the activities and behaviours that take place at all stages of the political process. Social scientists are nowadays in a unique position to systematically observe political and societal developments empirically and more closely than ever before if they were to fully exploit the possibilities of the vast amounts of semi-structured textual data and the computational techniques that are available. Political texts produced by the media, individual-, collective and institutional political actors like politicians, political parties, governments, or by citizens and non-governmental organizations, offer a remarkable opportunity to observe and understand social and political processes better than hitherto possible. Obstacles to such exploitation lie in the fragmentation of the research field, the domain, language and context sensitivity of tools, the only evolving standardizations and routines of data sharing and validation, and in unclear legal and ethical frameworks. The new opportunities with regard to text analysis in digitalized democracies can be seized to the full extend by bringing together social scientists that control expertise with regard to the political processes and substantive issues An institutionalization of the field of political text analysis by means of a common European infrastructure will yield more impactful, sustainable, resource saving, innovative, democratic, non-discriminatory and substantially meaningful research landscape. The OPTED infrastructure, for which this project lays the foundation in terms of conceptual design work, pushes the boundaries of political text analysis by addressing both the development and the application of tools and techniques, the standardization of measurement quality and legal and ethical frameworks.

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Net EU contribution
€ 595 000,00
1010 Wien

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Ostösterreich Wien Wien
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 595 000,00

Participants (17)