stortingscrape: An R package for accessing data from the Norwegian parliament
Martin Søyland (Political Science, UiO) presents his R package stortingscrape. This R package aims to effectivize this process for Norwegian parliamentary data. The package makes the data easily accessible, while also being flexible enough for tailoring the different underlying data sources to ones needs. The package philosophy revolves around three core consepts: 1) simplify data formats as much as possible, 2) make interconnected sources of data easily mergable, and 3) minimize overlap in information for different retrival functions.
A wide variety of parliamentary data have been made available to the public in several countries over the last decade. Be it through front-end websites or backend APIs, researchers on parliaments have never had easier access to large amounts of data than they do now. However, both front-end and API scraped data often come in formats (.html, .xml, .json, etc) that require substantial structuring and pre-processing before they are ready for subsequent analyses.
In this paper, I present the stortingscrape package for R. Specifically, stortingscrape makes retreiving data from the Norwegian parliament (Stortinget) through their easily accessible back-end API. The data requested using the package require little to no further structuring. The scope of the package, discussed further below, ranges from information on general data on the parliament itself (rules, session info, committees, etc) to data on the parties, bibliographies of the MPs, questions, hearings, debates, votes, and more.
The main goal of stortingscrape is to allow researchers to access data from the Norwegian par- liament easily, but also still be able to structure the data according to ones need. Most importantly, the package is facilitated for weaving together different parts of the data.stortinget.no API.