The data and methodologies available to social scientists have exploded with the emergence of vast archives of passive data collection, large scale online experimentation, and innovative uses of simulation.
These data are of a larger magnitude and methods are of a greater computational complexity than approaches that have dominated political science for the last 50 years. This offers the potential for rich insights into society at scale, while simultaneously introducing new ethical and infrastructural challenges.
In parallel, the information and communication technologies that have driven these changes are also driving changes in politics, around the world, that require study. In order to understand the political world, it is increasingly important to gain access to the political communication and behavior occurring online.