Last week, the PLAID project hosted a successful data-vetting workshop at the Henry L. Stimson Center in Washington, DC. Researchers and development practitioners from the U.S., Europe, and Africa provided the PLAID team with feedback on data quality in a beta version of the PLAID database. Further, the PLAID team demonstrated a preview version of what will soon be the public interface of the PLAID database. Several prominent scholars presented research based on the PLAID dataset. UVA's David Leblang presented a paper entitled, "Knockin' on Heaven's Door: International Aid Flows and the Demand for Asylum," Georgetown's James Vreeland presented a paper entitled, "Buying influence at the IMF," and Duke's Sarah Bermeo presented a paper entitled, "The Curse of Aid? Re-Examining the Impact of Aid on Regime Change." Stu Hamilton, of William and Mary's Center for Geospatial Analysis, provided workshop participants with a taste of the sort of data visualizations that PLAID data can be used to produce.
Also during the conference, PLAID announced that the PLAID database will soon merge with Development Gateway's AiDA database to form a new database and website called the AidData portal. The Development Gateway website has more details on the merger. PLAID researchers at William and Mary, Brigham Young University, and Development Gateway are now working to address the issues raised by workshop participants and are eagerly anticipating the public launch of the database in March 2010.