Social, Political and Economic Event Database (SPEED)

The Cline Center for Democracy at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is committed to furthering scientific research concerning the operation of democratic processes and the relationship between democracy and societal welfare.

One of the Cline Center's signature projects is the Social, Political and Economic Event Database (SPEED) project. SPEED is a technology-intensive effort to extract data from news reports about small-scale civil unrest events like protests and acts of political violence, as well as governmental responses to those activities. SPEED documents civil unrest activity for every country in the world from World War II to the present using a global archive of news reports. Within SPEED, event data are generated by a hybrid system combining fully automated machine-learning and natural language processing technologies with human analysts who draw from a suite of sophisticated tools to implement carefully structured and pretested protocols.

Geo-referencing the appearance of civil unrest events to the level of city-days provides unprecedented insights into key behavioral patterns and relationships that hold across countries and over time. The Cline Center is interested in developing synergistic collaborations, both within the United States and internationally, to realize the potential of SPEED data and to enhance our understanding of how civil unrest affects the course of nations.