Update: Apps, packages and services for Political Scientists

Last year, I listed a couple of Apps that I found particular useful for doing political science research. Over the year, I started using a couple of new ones.


  • Papers – organizes your PDF library + citation database
  • New: DEVONThink – Manage files, notes, lists – everything. I use it to organize my paper library and notes. Works like a charm.
  • Mendeley – manages citation database (desktop and online app)
  • New: Versions – Subversion Client for Mac, simple but with a nice timeline visualization that makes it easy to find previous versions.
  • RStudio – a nice IDE for R if you don’t like plain coding
  • TextMate – Code Editor for R, Latex, Python and what-not


  • countrycode – R package that “can convert to and from 7 different country coding schemes. It uses regular expressions to convert long country names (e.g. Sri Lanka) into any of those coding schemes [Correlates of War character, CoW-numeric, ISO3-character, ISO3-numeric, ISO2-character, IMF, FIPS 10-4, official English short country names (ISO), continent, region], or into standardized country names (official short English).”
  • datasciencetoolkit – Python toolbox to extract various data from texts
  • BeautifulSoup – helps to scrap websites with a few lines of Python code
  • New: Osborne’s Games – Latex files to draw extensive and normal form games
  • NewtikzDevice – R graphics output in a native Latex.


  • AWS/EC2 – run R and Python in the cloud to save time
  • TileMill – makes nice maps to visualize geocoded data
  • Detexify – translates handwritten symbols in LaTex code
  • RegEr – instant regular expression tester

This issue of The Political Methodologist discusses how to organize research, especially the data analysis workflow. Worth reading!


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