What is ecoi.net?

The European Country of Origin Information Network (ecoi.net) is a freely and publicly accessible COI portal. The portal enables users to search through the full text of more than 300.000 documents from a variety of sources. It went online in June 2001.

What is COI?

Country of Origin Information, or COI, in our context, means information on conditions in countries of origin of asylum seekers.

ecoi.net aims to contribute to fair and efficient refugee status determination procedures by securing easy and fast access to high-quality and up-to-date country of origin information (COI) for all actors involved in asylum cases.

ecoi.net gathers, structures and processes publicly available country of origin information with a focus on the needs of asylum lawyers, refugee counsels and persons deciding on claims for asylum and other forms of international protection.

In addition, ecoi.net records information on the asylum situation in "third countries" (i.e. transit and host countries for asylum seekers and refugees).

ecoi.net is committed to an impartial information policy and to the objective and neutral presentation of country of origin information.

Who is ecoi.net?

ecoi.net is managed by ACCORD, the Austrian Centre for Country of Origin and Asylum Research and Documentation. ACCORD is a department of the Austrian Red Cross, is based in Vienna, and provides COI research services to all actors involved in Austrian procedures of international protection. ACCORD’s expertise in COI research contributes to the quality of ecoi.net.

The German Informationsverbund Asyl & Migration e.V. contributes to the content management on ecoi.net, is a founding member and partner in strategic decisions. Informationsverbund Asyl & Migration is based in Berlin and runs the website www.asyl.net.

www.staatendokumentation.at, the Austrian Federal Office for Immigration and Asylum’s official COI database is run in close cooperation with ecoi.net.

ecoi.net's aims are supported by the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) and UNHCR.

How is ecoi.net funded?

Access to all features of the COI portal ecoi.net is free of charge. ecoi.net is funded by the Austrian Red Cross, Informationsverbund Asyl & Migration, the Austrian Ministry of the Interior, the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund of the European Union, and Caritas Austria.

How does it work?

Our team of content managers screens selected sources for relevant information (news articles, reports, position papers, etc.) on a daily basis and includes metadata (such as the source, the publication date or the country) when adding new entries to the system. The collected data are then automatically indexed for full text search. Hyperlinks to the original documents are provided. In case of publications by a source which has given us permission to republish their texts, the document is stored on ecoi.net, allowing for easy and sustainable access.

ACCORD’s COI researchers and Informationsverbund Asyl & Migration contribute to the quality assurance procedure: they are involved in the selection of relevant sources and in proof-reading, and they decide on which documents should be marked as “important documents” or sent out via the e-mail alert service.

The daily use of ecoi.net by researchers in the same office ensures a steady flow of feedback and fosters further improvement and innovative development.

How does ecoi.net select information?

ecoi.net focuses on the information needs of asylum lawyers and refugee counsels as well as of persons deciding on claims for asylum or other forms of international protection. Our content management staff selects information according to its relevance for decision making processes in the context of claims for international protection.

Comprehensive country of origin information does not only encompass the numerous dimensions of human rights, but also other aspects not usually covered by human rights reports. This includes information on the living conditions in a given country, on ethnic groups, political developments, the health system and the security situation.

Generally, ecoi.net seeks to include information on the following issues:

ecoi.net does not cover events in all countries of the world to the same extent – there is a focus on countries from which most of the asylum seekers in Europe originate. See this list for details on the country priorities.

If a document or piece of information is not included on ecoi.net, this does not mean that it does not exist or is not useful. We recommend supplementing your research on ecoi.net with information from other databases and sources.

How many sources are covered?

ecoi.net covers more than 160 sources regularly (as of August 2018). Depending on their publication cycle, some sources are covered daily (like BBC World News, IRIN or Amnesty International), others weekly (like UNHCR, Forum 18 or the International Crisis Group), and some others less frequently (like CEDAW, the Congressional-Executive Commission on China or the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit).

Where appropriate, reports of added value published by new sources are included in the database, although we will not cover the source regularly. As a result, in addition to the regularly covered sources, there are documents from more than 400 other sources in the database.

A list of all regularly covered sources with details on what kind of documents are considered relevant for each source is available here. Descriptions of each of these sources are available – see this question below.

How often is ecoi.net updated?

ecoi.net is updated every working day. However, some sources are only checked every week or month, depending on their publication cycle.

Which countries are covered?

ecoi.net covers 169 countries (as of August 2018). The extent of coverage depends on a country’s importance in the European asylum system: There is a focus on those countries from which most of the asylum seekers in Europe originate. See this list for details on the country priorities.

What kind of documents can I find on ecoi.net?

Reports, articles, news articles, position papers, expert opinions, appeals and press releases, as well as maps and laws. Additionally, ecoi.net contains the broadest collection of COI query responses & COI reports available publicly on the web.

For easy access to the different kinds of publications, our content management staff categorises new entries into the following types of documents:

Using these categories as filters when searching can help you narrowing down your search results - for instance: to find specific information from annual reports, or query responses.

What are the country priorities?

ecoi.net does not cover events in all countries of the world to the same extent – there is a focus on countries with high rankings in European asylum statistics. Some sources will not be covered for countries with lower priority, while country-specific sources (like national human rights commissions, or national NGOs) will be included for top priority countries.

A list of the country priorities and all regularly covered sources with details on which countries are considered for each source is available here.

Which languages are covered on ecoi.net?

Most documents are available in English, some in German and some in French or other languages. The ecoi.net user interface is available in English and German. The search function allows for restriction to a specific language.

A bilingual thesaurus (English & German) is connected to the search engine: when you enter a search term that is included in the thesaurus in one language, the search engine will look for related terms & terms in the other language as well. See here for details.

Does ecoi.net guarantee the accuracy of the information it contains?

ecoi.net does neither corroborate the information it contains, nor is the information currently available on ecoi.net conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or international protection. While ecoi.net preferably uses reliable information sources or sources with a high reputation, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information included.

If a document or piece of information is not included in ecoi.net this does not mean that it does not exist or is not useful. We recommend supplementing your research on ecoi.net with information from other databases and sources.

The information included in ecoi.net does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Austrian Red Cross / ACCORD. The Austrian Red Cross / ACCORD is neither responsible nor liable for third party content and views expressed by third parties in documents included in ecoi.net.

There’s something missing / I found an error / I want to thank you – who can I contact?

In order to report errors, suggest reports or sources to be included on ecoi.net, and for any other kind of feedback, please do not hesitate to send a message to info@ecoi.net – or use the contact form.

Features:

Why should I register?

As a registered user you benefit from additional features allowing you to adapt ecoi.net to your specific needs:

- weekly e-mail updates on the latest developments and newly added documents on ecoi.net, selected by COI researchers, for a set of countries of your choice (see below for details)

- research baskets let you select relevant documents for later review while browsing search results (see below for details).

Registering on ecoi.net is free of charge.

How can I register for additional features?

Registration only takes a minute and is free of charge. Fill out this registration form and a confirmation message will be sent to you automatically.

How do I use the search function?

You can find detailed search help in the upper right corner of the search box or by following this link: http://www.ecoi.net/help

Does the search function include synonyms & related terms for my search terms?

Our search engine uses a thesaurus specifically designed for the COI context. It automatically considers documents containing English and German terms related to your search terms. Furthermore, our moderated search will suggest terms that are related to your search terms (broader, narrower or otherwise related). This will increase the number of relevant results and help you to refine your search.

See here for details.

Please Note: you can switch off this feature in case you want to find your search term exactly as you entered it.

How can I stay up-to-date with what’s on ecoi.net?

Weekly e-mail updates are part of the additional features available for registered users. They contain newly added documents, selected by country researchers to inform our users about latest developments and new reports. You can subscribe to the countries you are interested in.

What is a “research basket”?

Research baskets are part of the additional features available to registered users. When logged in, the research basket icon appears for each entry (). While browsing your search results, click on the icon to put documents you find relevant into a research basket. This allows for later review, or to continue your work on another day. The list of documents in your research baskets is easily accessible under “MY ECOI.NET”. They contain all necessary reference data in a standardised format (source, original title, date of publication, link to original document and date of access), which can be printed or copied into your report.

What is a “featured topic”?

ecoi.net's "featured topics" offer a brief overview on issues for selected countries, for instance to cover current events like elections, or security-related incidents. In the English language version, the featured topics are presented in the form of excerpts / direct quotations from documents. In the German language version, these excerpts are summarized and translated.

Do you provide background information on the sources you cover?

Source descriptions are available for those sources that are regularly covered by ecoi.net. They contain background information on an organisation’s mission & objective, funding and reporting methodology, as well as a brief navigation guide. To view the source description, click on the name of a source. Sources with a description are marked with an "i" icon (i-source-description.png).

You can also access the source descriptions in our list of regularly covered sources.

If you would like to recommend further reading on a specific source, please let us know.