User Stories

A crowd-funded project to bring graph analytics to justice

February 26, 2014

A crowd-funded project from Stanford aims to use graph technologies to better understand international justice. Like Linkurious, you can support this research project and help scientists.

You can help apply graph analytics to shed light on the way justice works

The justice system is not the most transparent and data friendly domain. Quite the contrary. That’s why it’s so exciting to see that researchers like Sergio Puig from Stanford and Enric Torrents from MIT are trying to bring data analysis techniques to legal studies. Can social network analysis and graphs help improve justice systems?

This is not as crazy as it sounds. Justice systems can be represented as a graph. That graph is made of individuals, laws, organizations, courts, cases, documents and more. These nodes are linked by different kinds of relationships and form a network. While working on a project called Web of Law, Sergio Puig and Enric Torrents have proved that using graph analytics can bring some unsuspected insights (like the role of social capital in arbitration markets).

Today they launch a crowd-funding campaign to create a an open access graph database containing structured data from a growing number of courts and tribunals, customized tools, and a detailed log of analyses, discoveries and theses. If this project succeeds, it may have a profound impact on legal studies in the future. Researchers, journalists and everyone will access to open platform for legal data.

Graph-powered social change

What’s really interesting about this project is that it’s using state-of-the-art technology to help solve complex political issues. What exactly are the researchers hoping to find? Here are some of the potential applications :

  • identifying the undue influence of power-brokers in international economic courts ;
  • improving conflict checks and information disclosure ;
  • understanding how legal philosophy and decisions spread from one court or country to another ;

Bringing that information to light is no easy task. Legal institutions are not tech friendly and don’t always welcome scrutiny on their own workings. The good news is that graph technologies can help sort out the complex heterogeneous data of the legal system. Graphs enable the discovery of emerging patterns and features otherwise unnoticed within the massive amounts of disjointed data generated by courts and tribunals — therefore shedding new, much needed light on the interactions of all players and constituent elements involved in law.

Linkurious is proud to be a part of this project

We had the honor of working with Sergio Puig and Enric Torrents on the Web of Law a while ago. We were thrilled when they asked us if we wanted to help them bring graph visualization to the legal world. If the crowd-funding succeeds, Linkurious will be used to access and visualize a vast repository of legal data.

We’ve made a specialty of helping people understand complex connected data. The graph of law is certainly challenging to explore. We hope that will Linkurious, it will be easier to :

  • visualize the data ;
  • extract information about hidden connections and patterns ;
  • share it with other people ;
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