In the last decades, methodological and technological development has led to great progress in Big-data research i.e. systematic analyses of large databases. At the same time, extensive efforts to digitalize physical archives has made new materials available for research within a breadth of research areas. Despite these new opportunities, awareness of and skills to conduct big-data analyses are generally scarce, not least within the humanities and social sciences.
OPaL is a research environment focused on creating a research infrastructure for supporting the use and analysis of big-data. One foundation of the research environment is the open data archive of the Swedish parliament, a unique digitalized archive that covers close to 500 years of parliamentary affairs. Within OPaL a search engine as well as analytical tools are developed for research on parliamentary open data within the social sciences and humanities.