Political Science weblog bleg

by Henry Farrell on October 23, 2007

I’ve been running my “political science weblog”:http://www.henryfarrell.net/polsci/ for the last few months, and it seems to be doing quite well thank you in attracting some attention and readers to political science research. However, because there isn’t any single dominant repository for political science papers on the Internet, I have to look around a bit to find what people are doing – there are bits and pieces on SSRN, on various seminar websites etc etc. I’d be grateful for any suggestions from readers as to good places to find papers in political science, political theory and related disciplines (sociology, political economy). Weekly seminars at your university, working paper depositories, professors with lots of recent stuff on their homepages etc etc all qualify. Either email me, or submit it in comments below (if you do the latter, it has the advantage that other people can read it too). I’d also obviously be grateful for leads on interesting new papers that I haven’t come across but that are available in ungated form somewhere on the Internets. Suggestions for improvements to the site are also gratefully appreciated. It is probably going to be little more than a papers-plus-abstracts-blog until my tenure file is in next year, at which stage I should have a bit more time to develop it (I’ve gotten some suggestions as to how it may be put on a firmer institutional basis in the long run, but this will likely be up in the air for a while).

Finally and most generally, I would really encourage academics (esp. those on the market for the first time, or in the early stages of their career) to work on building a website which has access to their key papers. It’s straightforward to do, and massively increases your visibility to others (you are allowing people who are interested enough in you to look you up to economize on their search costs by downloading and reading papers that sound sort of interesting).

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10.24.07 at 10:39 am
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10.30.07 at 2:48 pm



Rickm 10.23.07 at 9:50 pm

My first impression: Poly Sci is so boring.


Tom Donahue 10.23.07 at 9:53 pm


Chris Lawrence 10.23.07 at 10:24 pm

The Polmeth mailing list gets postings of new papers at the Polmeth working papers archive.


Patrick 10.23.07 at 10:30 pm

Conference websites!

The Midwest Political Science Association has an online archive of all papers from 2004 on:

The American Political Science Associaion APSAnet website has links to archives of APSA annual meeting papers as well as links to Midwest and Southern:


Here’s the archives for the International Studies Association:


I’m sure there’s others that I’m missing, but those ought to give you enough to keep you busy for a while!


Simon Cabulea May 10.23.07 at 10:50 pm

One of the things we’re trying to do at a (very) new group blog, Public Reason, is create an open forum for political philosophers and theorists to post their own papers, along with conference announcements, ideas about philosophical problems, etc., in a way that is conducive to discussion among and communication between political philosophers/theorists.

The idea is not so much a repository for papers as a place where academic political philosophers can work on political philosophy, in a fairly informal manner, over the internet. More like a Garden of Forking Paths or Ethics, Etc. than an Equality Exchange. Nevertheless, we’d like to build up a good size archive of working papers.

Admittedly, we’re much more philosophy-oriented than political science-oriented, but we’d like to see people based in Political Science departments join in. Our policy is that we’re open to all full-time post-PhD professional academics working in political philosophy/theory.


trane 10.24.07 at 1:23 am

Thanks for the post and comments. In the category of “professors with lots of recent stuff on their homepages “, here are some exemplary websites with easy access to working papers and/or articles:

George Tsebelis:

Mathew McCubbins:

Adam Przeworski:

Gary Libecap:


Kieran Healy 10.24.07 at 1:53 am

Finally and most generally, I would really encourage academics (esp. those on the market for the first time, or in the early stages of their career) to work on building a website which has access to their key papers.

It still astonishes me how few grad students and asst profs have decent webpages. It seems like such an obvious — and, these days, easy — thing to do.


Ingrid Robeyns 10.24.07 at 8:37 am

Precisely what Kieran said. I got my website as a birthday present now about 6 years ago, and while at first I felt uncomfortable with the idea, I have found that it is incredibly useful to let people know what you are doing, and to build contact with people interested in/working on similar questions. And websites are (or can be) justice-enhancing tools too – I’ve experienced that for students and scholars who work in poorly resourced universities in developing countries it’s often a better way to get to read the most recent research than to go to their libraries (especially if you tell the visitors to your website that they can contact you if you want to read any of the articles/papers listed there).


Thom Brooks 10.24.07 at 9:13 am

I have links to my publications and work in progress here and at a SSRN page here: http://ssrn.com/author=512554.


Thom Brooks 10.24.07 at 9:17 am

The UK’s Political Studies Association also posts papers from its annual conference on its website, although I believe access may be restricted to PSA members. The website can be found here.


Paul Ayres 10.24.07 at 9:45 am

It’s a shame there isn’t a one stop shop for papers in political science – to add to some of the great suggestions above you could try the site I work for Intute: Social Sciences – a UK based web guide for academics – a search for collections of papers in the Politics section will give you about 200 sites to explore and we are adding new resources all the time.


greensmile 10.24.07 at 11:16 am

poke around at harvard U PoliSci websites. Much insightful stuff goes up in public view there


trane 10.24.07 at 11:18 am

The EU has recently financed some “Networks of Excellence” wihtin various fields of the (social) sciences. The idea is to strengthen networks between primarily Eureopean research institutions, and to enable easier dissemination of material.

One of these networks is that on Civil Society and New Forms of Governance in Europe (CINEFOGO). A lot of recent working papers can be downloaeded at:


I should think there are similar websites for other EU networks.


greensmile 10.24.07 at 11:27 am

I am not an academic…not in any discipline but the point about carving yourself a good web presence is well taken and in fact tor the interested non-specialist IT IS EXACTLY THOSE ACADEMICS WITH STRONG WEB PRESENCE who come to represent the specialty. googling with two unquoted keywords: harvard hillygus gets a score of useful page hits even though I never heard of her work before a glance at an MIT newsletter mentioned it.


eszter 10.24.07 at 11:29 am

I don’t have any pointers for you for resources, but I thought I’d mention this recent blog post that addresses some issues you bring up:

I agree with you completely that people should be posting their material on the Web more actively.


c.l. ball 10.24.07 at 6:09 pm

There are downsides to posting on a personal website for junior scholars:

* polluting the double-blind pool: while this occurred to some degree when conference papers were presented in the old days, the online archive and website presence makes it more likely that reviewers will know who you are. My concern is more over unconscious bias — ‘I know it’s a grad students paper so I perceive more flaws and see them as more serious than I would in a senior person’s paper.’ Likewise, someone might perceive fewer flaws in a senior scholar’s paper.

* plagiarism risk: undergrads and even grads might copy sections of the paper. Frankly, this is of nil risk to professional career of the author, and it might even improve chances of detecting plagiarists if you spot-check key phrases in undergrad papers. However, having discovered plagiarized papers from conference archives in my undergrad classes (I failed the violators for the course and reported them to the dean), it does occur. Do not copy-protect or print-protect the paper — this makes it harder to google plagiarized material.

* research jump-start/quasi-plagiarism: In the old days, someone wrote or emailed you for a copy of the paper; you knew and had evidence of who read your work. The ready download of an unpublished or work-in-progress ms. may enable a competing scholar to jump start their own work-in-progress on a theme that you were developing, but they might do so without citing you. Since the paper is not published, many reviewers or editors might not know about your work.

* ratio of unpublished to published work: if you have more unpublished projects and older ones, this might not look so good to someone who browses your site v. actually reading your papers. This is especially true for hiring. After all, the job talk exists as it does in part because few faculty who are not on the committee actually read your work.

* unpolished presentation: you should make sure that the unpub. ms. is in good shape — no typos, unfinished footnotes, etc. Otherwise, readers might dismiss good research for bad. Also, put the figures and charts in the text. It is the 21st century — I should not have to read “See Figure 1” instead of actually seeing Figure 1.

In all, I think the pros outweigh the cons and one should post unpublished papers, but keep these risks in mind.


Tom Donahue 10.25.07 at 11:43 pm

One more political theory workshop with online papers:

Brown: http://www.brown.edu/Research/ppw/

It looks like the UCLA workshop requires a password to download the papers. Sorry.

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