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 –

Students supervised at the OII

Past students


Latest blog posts

Current projects

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

    Participants: Dr Scott A. Hale, Dr Jonathan Bright, Dr Graham McNeill

    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

    Participants: Professor Helen Margetts, Dr Scott A. Hale, Dr Taha Yasseri, Dr Jonathan Bright

    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

    Participants: Dr Jonathan Bright

    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

    Participants: Dr Stefano De Sabbata, Dr Jonathan Bright

    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

    Participants: Professor Ian Brown, Dr Jonathan Bright

    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

    Participants: Dr Sandra Gonzalez-Bailon, Dr Ning Wang, Dr Jonathan Bright

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

Past projects

Publications

Journal articles

Reports

  • Bright, J.M., Margetts, H., Hale, S. and Yasseri, T. (2014) "The use of social media for research and analysis: a feasibility study" In: Report of research carried out by the Oxford Internet Institute on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions. Department for Work and Pensions.
  • Digital Era Government and Politics

    Providing an in-depth understanding of the changing nature of digital-era governance and politics and the theoretical, practical and ethical questions surrounding the role of the Internet and related technologies in political life.

  • Accessing Research Data from the Social Web

    This course teaches the essentials of programming in Python, the language of choice in the growing field of computational social science.

  • Digital Social Research: Statistics Core

    This course introduces students to statistics for the social sciences, with an emphasis on application to research on the Internet and society.

  • Simulating Society

    This course is about agent-based modelling, a fascinating technique for answering social science questions, based on computer simulation of real-world societies and real-world human events.

  • 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.