Dr Jonathan Bright

 Dr Jonathan Bright

Jonathan Bright is a political scientist specialising in computational and ‘big data’ approaches to the social sciences.

Email: jonathan.bright@oii.ox.ac.uk

Tel: +44 (0)1865 287233


Jonathan Bright is a political scientist specialising in computational and 'big data' approaches to the social sciences. He holds a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Bristol, an MSc in International Politics from the School of Oriental and African Studies, and a PhD in Political Science from the European University Institute.

His major interest concerns studying how people get information about the political process, and how this is changing in the internet era. He is currently working on the role of social media in the diffusion of political news and informaiton; the extent to which information seeking behaviour on Google and Wikipedia can be used to predict electoral outcomes; and the possibility of creating large scale transnational publics at the European level.

Areas of Interest for Doctoral Supervision

Big data, democracy, governance, government, journalism, open data, political participation, public management, public policy, security, social media, social networks, surveillance

Research interests

social media, news, political behaviour, computational social science, big data

Positions held at the OII

  • Research Fellow, June 2013 -


Current projects

  • Elections and the Internet

    April 2015 -

    This site collects elections research at the OII. We are interested in exploring the extent to which data from the social web can be used to predict interesting social and political phenomena, especially elections.

  • Political Knowledge and the Web

    October 2014 - October 2016

    Information is key for citizens to play their role in the democratic systems. Citizens need information to define their preferences and evaluate the activity of governments and parliaments.

  • Urban Data 2 Decide

    September 2014 - October 2016

    Urban decision makers are nowadays faced with both unprecedented challenges as well as new op-portunities as the environment around them grows ever more complex.

  • VOX-Pol Network of Excellence

    January 2014 - December 2019

    The VOX-Pol research project is designed to comprehensively research, analyse, debate, and critique issues surrounding violent online political extremism (VOPE).

  • Open Data and Civic Engagement: Mechanisms for the Promotion of Political Participation

    January 2013 -

    How effective are open data initiatives in encouraging civic engagement in policy-relevant domains?

Past projects



Conference papers

  • Bright, J. (2012) The Dynamics of Parliamentary Discourse in the UK: 1936-2011. Paper presented at Internet, Politics and Policy: Big Data, Big Challenges?, 20-21 September 2012, Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford.
  • Bright, J. (2012) Measuring Legislative Oversight. Paper presented at the Open Legislative Data Conference, 6-7 July 2012, Sciences-Po Paris.
  • Bright, J. (2012) Counter-terrorism legislation and the question of oversight: in search of the crisis effect. Paper presented at the European Internal Security conference, 23-25 April 2012, at the European University Institute.
  • Bright, J., and Agustina, J.R. (2011) Mediating Social Control: Natural Surveillance and Control Online. Paper presented at the Living in Surveillance Societies Working Group 4 Seminar, Barcelona, 2011.
  • Bright, J. and Little, C. (2011) Success in two dimensions. Introducing and exploring a new measure of individuals' office-seeking success. Paper presented at the 1st Annual General Conference of the European Political Science Association, 16-18 June 2011, Dublin, Ireland.
  • Bright, J. (2011) Reconsidering the Economics of Surveillant Assemblage. Paper presented at the Ghosts of Surveillance, the second Living in Surveillance Societies conference, 2011.
  • Bright, J., Doering, H., Little, C. (2011) Ministerial Importance and Ministerial Careers in Six Parliamentary Democracies. Paper presented at the ECPR Joint Sessions, San Gallen 2011.
  • Bright, J., (2010) Security, Technology and Control: Recasting Securitization Theory for the Information Society. Paper presented at 'Politics in Hard Times', the SGIR 7th Pan-European Conference on IR, 2010.
  • Bright, J., (2010) Biometrics in the Light of Actor-Network Theory. Paper presented at 'A Global Surveillance Society?', the fourth Biannual Surveillance and Society/SSN conference, 2010.


Working papers


Courses taught at the OII

DPhil students supervised at the OII

Current students

  • Elizabeth Dubois

    The new opinion leader? Personal influence and political networks in a hybrid media environment



  • Ascertaining 'what the readers want'

    8 September 2015 The Hindu

    A long article on digital journalism quotes research by Jonathan Bright and Tom Nicholls which found that the most read articles were the most likely to stay on the front page longer.

  • It's the smart way to travel

    31 August 2015 Oxford Mail

    Jonathan Bright told the local press about plans for Oxford to use mobile phone data to learn about traffic patterns. This is part of an initiative to turn Oxford into a 'Smart City' using big data to improve the lives of its citizens.

  • Google's search algorithm could steal the Presidency

    6 August 2015 Wired

    The algorithms that rank search results could seriously affect a close-run presidential election by influencing the way that people vote. Jonathan Bright points out that it's not possible to have a completely neutral algorithm.

  • Why do we argue online?

    24 July 2015 The Irish Times

    Jonathan Bright is quoted in an article in the Irish Times which looks at the proliferation of online arguments between strangers. He says that there was a 'false hope in the '90s that [the internet] would open a new style of democracy.'

  • QR codes used on ballot paper for the first time

    15 May 2014 BBC Oxford

    For the first time in the UK a QR code has been incorporated in a political party’s official emblem on the ballot paper. Jonathan Bright says that if this becomes more commonplace the Electoral Commission would have questions.