A Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence led by the University of Maryland

BAAD Frequently Asked Questions


BAAD Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use BAAD2 for my research/analysis/project?
How do I cite BAAD2?
What definition of terrorism and insurgency does BAAD2 use?
How do you collect the data?
I found a factual error. How can I get it corrected?
Why do some groups have full narratives and others do not?
I would like to be notified when new groups are added to the website, how can I do this?
Why does the data end at 2012?
Why do organizations appear as allies that are currently reported in the media as fighting each other?
Why is a group listed as an ally or rival in the narrative but is not shown on the network map?
Who funds the BAAD2 dataset?

Can I use BAAD2 for my research/analysis/project?

Coding for the full BAAD2 data is not complete and thus the raw data is not available for research purposes. However, the BAAD1 cross-sectional dataset and associated network data is available. The core cross sectional data can be found here: https://dataverse.harvard.edu/dataset.xhtml?persistentId=hdl:1902.1/16062 . To request the network data or extensions of the cross sectional data, please contact baad@albany.edu.


How do I cite BAAD2?

Asal, Victor H. and R. Karl Rethemeyer. (2015). Big Allied and Dangerous Dataset Version 2. www.start.umd.edu/baad/database


What definition of terrorism and insurgency does BAAD2 use?

The BAAD project looks at a variety of terrorist and insurgent organizations grouped together as violent non-state actors (VNSAs). We do not have any one definition of terrorism. Instead we rely on the following sources to determine if we include a group in our dataset.

An entity is included in the BAAD2 dataset if the entity:

  1. Committed at least one terrorist attack as defined by the Global Terrorism Database (GTD) criteria between 1998 and 2012, and/or
  2. Was recorded in the Profiles of Incidents involving CBRN by Non-state Actors (POICN) dataset as having used, attempted to use, or pursued a chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear weapon at least once between 1998 and 2012, and/or
  3. Was recorded in the Uppsala Conflict Data Program (UCDP) Battle Deaths dataset as having committed at least 25 battle deaths in an insurgency between 1998 and 2012

AND

  1. Was an organization. We excluded individuals, generic groups (“Chechens”, “Palestinians”, etc.), and ad hoc groups that lacked key characteristics of organizations: boundaries to clearly delineate members and non-members, persistence over time, at least minimal internal differentiation (hierarchy, functional specialization, etc.), and resources held and/or owned for a collectivity rather than for individuals.
  2. Garnered enough coverage in our various sources to allow us to characterize a minimal set of variables: name, “homebase” country, and ideology.

How do you collect the data?

The BAAD2 data was constructed by coding information found in textual sources, including (but not limited to) newspapers, magazines, websites, and academic articles and books using procedures designed by Victor Asal, R. Karl Rethemeyer, Ian Anderson, Corina Simonelli, and Susan Weedon. Primary coding was conducted by undergraduate and graduate students at the University at Albany. Most coders are native English speakers and rely on English sources or translations. However, the project has also employed speakers of other languages at times, including Chinese, Pashtun, Arabic, and Spanish. Additionally, the project has at times had access to automated translation and automated coding facilities. However, the data presented here is “hand-coded” from primarily English language sources or English translations of sources in other languages.

Upon completion of primary coding, coding editors assess the consistency, accuracy, and reliability of the data for each organization and made corrections as needed. Sources for each coding decision are archived so that researchers may reconstruct the coding decisions made. As a new “block” of coding is completed (that is, a set of organizations or a set of years) the project principal investigators (Victor Asal and Karl Rethemeyer) then conducted a series of consistency checks across the new data to further assess global consistency and fidelity to known information about terrorist organizations. Errors or inconsistencies were handed back to the student coders and coding editors for further investigation and re-coding. Finally, on two occasions a 10% random sample of the completed organizations were subjected to quality control re-coding to assure that the information is consistent across time.


I found a factual error. How can I get it corrected?

While we make every effort to verify our data, knowledge of terrorist organizations is evolving and emerging. If you believe an error exists in the data presented, please contact baad@albany.edu and include (1) the name of the organization, (2) the year or years in which the error occurs, (3) links to information that supports your claim that our coding is in error, and (4) contact information so that we can follow up with you. Our data team will evaluate the evidence provided and reach a conclusion based on the coding scheme that we use for BAAD2. In some cases we may not agree with your assertion or find that the evidence provided is not sufficiently strong to warrant a change in our data.


Why do some groups have full narratives and others do not?

The groups represented on the website are simply the first of several installments of the BAAD project data and narratives. The data collection and narrative writing is ongoing and the website will be updated periodically. We focus on writing narratives based on the following characteristics (1) lethality (2) size and scope (3) connections to other groups in the data.


I would like to be notified when new groups are added to the website, how can I do this?

Please email the BAAD team at baad@albany.edu and request to be put on an email list for updates to the BAAD website.


Why does the data end at 2012?

BAAD2 data collection for the years 2013 and 2014 is ongoing. We expect to include data for these years during the second quarter of 2015. Currently, data is collect with a 12-18 month lag, so 2015 will not be available until early 2017 at the earliest.


Why do organizations appear as allies that are currently reported in the media as fighting each other?

It is important to remember that the network maps only represent the nature of relationships for the year selected. Thus while two organizations may have a negative relationship now, if they collaborated and had a positive relationship another year, they will be shown as allies for that year.


Why is a group listed as an ally or rival in the narrative but is not shown on the network map?

There are two reasons this discrepancy could occur. First, the relationship may not have occurred in the 1998-2012 time period that is shown in the network map. Secondly, the network map only shows relationships between groups that are in BAAD2. It is possible that a group has networked with an organization that is beyond the scope of the BAAD2 dataset. If this is the case, the alliance or rivalry may be discussed in the narrative portion of the website, but will not show up on the network visualization.


Who funds the BAAD2 dataset?

The BAAD2 dataset is primarily funded through the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism at the University of Maryland, by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (DHS S&T), Office of University Programs (PI Gary LaFree; grants number N00140510629 and 2008-ST-061-ST0004). Additionally, coding for BAAD2 has been supported by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, US Department of Defense (BRBAA08-Per3-G-2-0052) and through the support of the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy, University at Albany – SUNY.

The data in BAAD2 does not purport to represent the official position, inclusion decisions, or information holdings of any of the funders noted above.