Who's Afraid of Wikileaks? Missed Opportunities in Political Science Research

Review of Policy Research, Forthcoming

44 Pages Posted: 9 Jan 2015

Date Written: December 22, 2014


Leaked information, such as WikiLeaks' Cablegate, constitutes a unique and valuable data source for researchers interested in a wide variety of policy-oriented topics. Yet political scientists have avoided using leaked information in their research. This article argues that we can and should use leaked information as a data source in scholarly research. First, I consider the methodological, ethical, and legal challenges related to the use of leaked information in research, concluding that none of these present serious obstacles. Second, I show how political scientists can use leaked information to generate novel and unique insights about political phenomena using a variety of quantitative and qualitative methods. Specifically, I demonstrate how leaked documents reveal important details about the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations, and how leaked diplomatic cables highlight a significant disparity between the U.S. government's public attitude towards traditional knowledge and its private behavior.

Keywords: WikiLeaks, political science, international relations, trade agreements, trans-pacific partnership, intellectual property, traditional knowledge

JEL Classification: O34, F13

Suggested Citation

Michael, Gabriel J., Who's Afraid of Wikileaks? Missed Opportunities in Political Science Research (December 22, 2014). Review of Policy Research, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2546446

Gabriel J. Michael (Contact Author)

George Washington University ( email )

2121 I Street NW
Washington, DC 20052
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics