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

Profile

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 -

Research

Current projects

  • NEXUS: Real Time Data Fusion and Network Analysis for Urban Systems

    September 2015 - August 2017

    Mining human mobility and migration patterns from social media and industry data sources as well as visualizing geo-temporal network data interactively with HTML5.

  • 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 - December 2016

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

Past projects

Publications

Articles

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.

Reports

Working papers

Teaching

Courses taught at the OII

DPhil students supervised at the OII

Current students

  • Dr Elizabeth Dubois

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

Webcasts

News

  • Can Google predict who will win the election?

    16 October 2015 Maclean's

    In an article about predicting election results the major Canadian news magazine quotes a research study by Taha Yasseri and Jonathan Bright on whether electoral popularity can be predicted using socially generated big data.

  • 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.

Blog

  • Using Twitter data to map local commuting patterns

    Smart Cities on 10 Feb 2016 14:56PM

    One of the early areas of focus of the NEXUS project has been to look at the extent to which Twitter data can be used to accurately map commuting patterns (and what types of biases etc. need to be corrected before this mapping can really work). As part of [...]

  • Social and Open Data Sources and Visualisation Methods for Urban Decision Making

    Smart Cities on 2 Feb 2016 17:18PM

    One of the deliverables from the UrbanData2Decide project has just been published on the project website. It’s a report on social and open data sources and visualisation methods for urban decision makers, and was jointly authored by ourselves at the OII, [...]

  • Smart cities and collaborative mapping tools

    Smart Cities on 1 Feb 2016 15:07PM

    The UrbanData2Decide project has partly been about getting to know local government administrators and understanding more about the types of data related challenges they face when policymaking. One common refrain is that there simply isn’t enough [...]

  • The changing nature of big data sources as a barrier to smart city implementation

    Smart Cities on 27 Jan 2016 16:19PM

    Twitter is going to be a major data source for the NEXUS project, as it is for almost every other project studying social media data. Twitter is extraordinarily generous in terms of making its data available, and this generosity has sparked huge research [...]

  • Mapping human mobility with social media data

    Smart Cities on 12 Jan 2016 18:15PM

    One of the key aims of the NEXUS project is to explore the extent to which human mobility patterns (e.g. commuting, tourism, migration) can be effectively mapped using social media data. Effective information on mobility is of vital importance to policy [...]

  • How big data is breathing new life into the smart cities concept

    Smart Cities on 6 Jan 2016 15:12PM

    “Big data” is a growing area of interest for public policy makers: for example, it was highlighted in UK Chancellor George Osborne’s recent budget speech as a major means of improving efficiency in public service delivery. While big data can apply to [...]

  • Getting ggplot2 to work with igraph

    Jonathan Bright on 7 Dec 2015 16:49PM

    One common criticism of the otherwise excellent ggplot2 is that it doesn’t come with network visualisation capability. Network vis is so popular at the moment that it seems like a bit of a big omission; but network data is also quite unique in terms [...]

  • The History of Social News

    Jonathan Bright on 16 Sep 2015 12:56PM

    I am giving a presentation tomorrow at the IJPP conference here in Oxford. It’s being hosted by the Reuters Institute who are world leaders in the study of contemporary news organisations, and I’m really excited to be going. Together with [...]

  • Crowdsourcing for public policy and government

    Policy and Internet Blog on 27 Aug 2015 12:28PM

    If elections were invented today, they would probably be referred to as “crowdsourcing the government.” First coined in a 2006 issue of Wired magazine (Howe, 2006), the term crowdsourcing has come to be applied loosely to a wide variety of situations [...]

  • The real component of virtual learning

    Jonathan Bright on 28 Jul 2015 08:48AM

    Monica Bulger, Cristobal Cobo and I have a new paper out in Information, Communication and Society where we investigate real world meetings organised by MOOC users. These meetings are sort of contradictory as of course one of the advantages of MOOCs is [...]

  • How big data is breathing new life into the smart cities concept

    Policy and Internet Blog on 23 Jul 2015 10:57AM

    “Big data” is a growing area of interest for public policy makers: for example, it was highlighted in UK Chancellor George Osborne’s recent budget speech as a major means of improving efficiency in public service delivery. While big data can apply to [...]

  • Not Just #GE2015: Other 2015 Polling Failures

    Social Election Prediction on 21 Jul 2015 09:49AM

    The failure of pollsters in #GE2015 was covered widely, including in a previous post here, but it was not the only opinion polling failure that year. Polls also failed to predict results by wide margins in the national elections in Israel and Poland. The [...]

  • Not Just #GE2015: Other 2015 Polling Failures

    Social Election Prediction on 21 Jul 2015 09:49AM

    The failure of pollsters in #GE2015 was covered widely, including in a previous post here, but it was not the only opinion polling failure that year. Polls also failed to predict results by wide margins in the national elections in Israel and Poland. The [...]

  • Public Policy, Big Data and Smart Cities

    Jonathan Bright on 10 Jul 2015 08:14AM

    I have just got back from the International Conference on Public Policy in Milan, where I was attending a stream of internet and public policy panels, as well as presenting a paper on explaining open data outcomes which I am currently working on together [...]

  • New Paper in European Union Politics

    Jonathan Bright on 30 Jun 2015 08:17AM

    I have just published a paper in European Union Politics, together with Diego Garzia, Joseph Lacey and Alex Trechsel of the EUI. The paper was the fruition of a long term research project examining potential ways of changing the European [...]

  • GE2015: Polling Problems vs. Information Seeking Biases

    Social Election Prediction on 31 May 2015 18:06PM

    By my bedtime on the night of the last UK General Election, May 7 2015, one thing, at least, was clear. No matter who won, the pollsters lost. This is what makes the possibility of the Social Election Project so exciting – the flaws of traditional [...]

  • GE2015: Polling Problems vs. Information Seeking Biases

    Social Election Prediction on 31 May 2015 18:06PM

    By my bedtime on the night of the last UK General Election, May 7 2015, one thing, at least, was clear. No matter who won, the pollsters lost. This is what makes the possibility of the Social Election Project so exciting – the flaws of traditional [...]

  • The (Local) General Election on Twitter

    Social Election Prediction on 12 May 2015 13:34PM

    The UK’s national election is decided on a constituency basis: 650 odd separate small elections, each returning one MP. Despite the obvious importance of national parties and their leaders for shaping the election campaign as a whole, it is commonly [...]

  • The (Local) General Election on Twitter

    Social Election Prediction on 12 May 2015 13:34PM

    The UK’s national election is decided on a constituency basis: 650 odd separate small elections, each returning one MP. Despite the obvious importance of national parties and their leaders for shaping the election campaign as a whole, it is commonly [...]

  • Which parties are having the most impact on Twitter?

    Social Election Prediction on 12 May 2015 13:30PM

    The previous two posts have shown that the amount of effort parties are putting in on Twitter at the local level is pretty variable. But what about the response they are getting? In this post we’ll look at the amount of mentions candidates receive [...]