V-Dem has a global network of more than 3,000 Country Experts supporting the data collection process by providing expert information via our online surveys. This network helps V-Dem obtain detailed, local knowledge from qualified experts familiar with political developments in a given country. This unique approach allows V-Dem to detect subtle changes to the institutional environments of countries from one year to the next.
Country Expert contributions enable nuanced analysis of aspects of democracy by researchers, policy makers and everyone in the world interested in democracy and political systems in their full complexity.
Who are Country Experts?
Experts are usually academics or professionals with specialist and evidenced knowledge in one or more domains. Approximately two-thirds are nationals or residents of the country they provide information on.
We endeavor to have a minimum of five experts for each indicator per country. This typically means we have twenty-five or more experts per country, since each expert only codes indicators in his/her areas of expertise. The quality and impartiality of the data is highly dependent on the Country Experts. Consequently, we pay a great deal of attention to their recruitment and use the following selection criteria:
Expertise – Validated expert knowledge in the country and specific areas to be coded
Local, In-Depth Knowledge - By design, two-thirds of Country Experts providing data on a country should be nationals or permanent residents of that country
Seriousness of purpose - Willingness to devote time to the project and to deliberate carefully over the questions in the survey
Impartiality - V-Dem aims to recruit Country Experts who will answer survey questions in an impartial manner
Diversity - In professional background among the Country Experts chosen for a particular country.
We do not reveal the identity of our Country Experts and preserve Country Expert confidentiality according to a strict policy. All personal identifying information is stored separately and securely. The strict policy does not apply to Historical Country Experts who contribute data on the pre-1900 period. Historical Country Experts are given the option to be publicly acknowledged as an expert for their country or to remain anonymous. As such, some contact information is available through the V-Dem website.
What do Country Experts do?
The V-Dem Codebook includes more than 450 specific indicators, half of which are coded by Country experts. We call this ‘C Data’. This type of data requires evaluation about the de facto state of affairs in a particular country at a particular point in time.
Indicators fall into 6 clusters and 17 surveys: