Peace research investigates how conflicts arise and how they may be resolved; what processes bring societies together or break them apart; and how societies respond to violence and crises. The objectives are to understand the processes and mechanisms involved in a conflict; to document trends; and through research to generate new knowledge that may be used to prevent, resolve, and manage conflict. To achieve these objectives, have high quality databases; good data coding processes; and an open user interface is essential.
The Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) is establishing an infrastructure to record events and actors in violent conflicts. The infrastructure will be based partly on the PRIO database known as the Advanced Conflict Data Catalogue
(ACDC) – a database containing information about major and minor conflicts worldwide, which received funding from the Research Council of Norway during the period 2009-2014. The ACDC is the only database of its kind, and is important for researchers both in Norway and internationally.
The new infrastructure, known as the Peace Science Infrastructure (PSI), is designed with the objective of developing a new shared system – a new international standard – for the consistent coding of conflict data to indicate both timing and geographical location. This will make it possible for researchers to share conflict data more easily than previously was the case, and to assemble larger datasets for analysis.
An important innovative feature of the PSI is the application of language-technology tools that can help automate the process of capturing data on conflicts and actors in news items and other digital texts.
Current research is based on human coding, which is both expensive and laborious. Modern automatized methods and tools will increase the scope of the conflict data, while at the same time improving the quality of the data. The infrastructure also includes an open, web-based platform that allows other users to access the data. This online solution makes it easy to work with and visualize data, and to share codes, routines and datasets.
In addition to academic, users of the infrastructure may include the UN and humanitarian organizations, who can use the database to track the development of conflicts, while also gaining a better understanding of which actors participate in conflicts.
Depending on funding, this project will be a collaboration between PRIO, Uppsala University and the University of Oslo.
Contact person for the project: Håvard Mokleiv Nygård, PRIO
Presentation by the Research Council of Norway's Infrastructure Roadmap (in Norwegian)