HSE University Anti-Corruption Portal
GI-ACE Launches Anti-Corruption Digital Library

The website of the research programme “Anti-Corruption Evidence” of the non-profit organisation Global Integrity (GI-ACE) has provided access to publications about corruption and the fight against it.

This digital library contains over 8,500 books, scholarly articles and other publications in English, the oldest of which was published in 1935. 

The library is composed of the publications on anti-corruption, which have been systematically collected since 2014 by Matthew C. Stephenson, Professor at Harvard University, the founder and editor-in-chief of the Global Anti-Corruption Blog (GAB). Although the information about publications in PDF format provided in the form of a simple list compiled by him was a highly useful source of information for anti-corruption researchers and practitioners, it was not quite convenient to use it from practical point of view.

The database created by Global Integrity with an open source code has allowed for cataloguing existing scholarly publications about anti-corruption: it is possible to search by keyword, author’s name, type of publication, date of publication and number of citations of the source in other works. The list of publications, generated on the basis of search results, can be downloaded in the CSV format. 

Despite the great number of books and scholarly articles about different aspects of the fight against corruption and, as a consequence, the need to set up systematised databases of such publications, the attempts to create them are extremely rare.

At present, the bibliography which is being compiled by Professor Stephenson is the largest database of anti-corruption publications. Other existing databases either have fewer sources (for instance, the database of the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute) or are about a certain narrow subject (for example, the selected bibliography on municipal corruption by the International Centre for Criminal Law Reform

Considering the importance of systematization of information about scholarly anti-corruption publications, the Anti-Corruption Centre of the National Research University – Higher School of Economics maintains such a database as well. It is regularly updated and supplemented by new materials and is available on this Portal in the Publications section. Unlike the GI-ACE database that covers the period up to the mid-20th century, it contains information mainly about the most recent publications (since 2016) in the Russian and foreign languages.

Moreover, the approach to cataloguing in our database is somewhat different form that of Stephenson and GI-ACE, as it is supplemented by user-friendly tools.

In particular, the GI-ACE library covers a wide range of very different subjects related to the fight against corruption, but does not provide the possibility to search publications on specific anti-corruption instruments. However, this option is very helpful for researchers, practitioners and legislators who need information about publications on a certain subject. Although, the AI algorithms employed in the development of the GI-ACE database could generate descriptive keywords for each document, now the list of such keywords is too long, it does not accurately reflect the main subjects of certain publications and does not make it possible to take full advantage of cataloguing.

Conversely, although the database of this Portal contains fewer publications, it provides the user with the possibility to filter them by specific subject which is clear for anti-corruption practitioners. At present, the database has 11 subjects: anti-corruption authorities, revolving door, asset disclosure, compliance, conflict of interest, education, sting operations, whistleblowing, standards of conduct and criminal liability.

It seems that if the developers of the GI-ACE library adopted this approach they would make their database more convenient for users thanks to the systematization of publications in accordance with a shorter and more comprehensive list of keyword subjects.

Besides that, despite the large number of sources included in the bibliography of Stephenson and GI-ACE, some anti-corruption instruments fall in principle outside consideration of the scholars. In particular, the search in the GI-ACE database about the revolving door shows only 25 references containing this phrase, but the main subject of these publications is totally different whereas the revolving door is just mentioned in the text of the publications. Conversely, the respective thematic subsection of the database of the Anti-Corruption Portal contains information about 91 publications focused on this subject rather than just mentioning the revolving door in the text.

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