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    In order to fully realise the value of open data researchers must first address the quality of the datasets

In order to fully realise the value of open data researchers must first address the quality of the datasets

There has been a phenomenal increase in the availability of data over the last decade. Open data is provided as a means of empowering users with information and in the hope of sparking innovation and increased efficiency in governments and businesses. However, in spite of the many success stories based on the open data paradigm, concerns remain over the […]

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    Engaging with sensor-based methods for social sciences research is necessary, overdue and potentially rewarding

Engaging with sensor-based methods for social sciences research is necessary, overdue and potentially rewarding

Sensors are an important source of big data. Developments at the heart of “smart cities” or the exploding “quantified self” movement are all reliant on sensors. However, attempts by social scientists to engage with sensors from a methodological perspective have been rare. Jörg Müller argues that such engagement is not only necessary and overdue, but also potentially rewarding. It’s […]

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    Patient experience feedback: we need to engage with the issues of using Big Data methods to capture the human voice

Patient experience feedback: we need to engage with the issues of using Big Data methods to capture the human voice

The NHS regularly asks its patients to complete surveys reporting on the quality of care they have received. These surveys include opportunities for patients to submit feedback in their own words. Carol Rivas describes how computational and digital methods can be used to analyse and report patient feedback in an efficient and timely manner. However, it is important to […]

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    When data science meets social sciences: the benefits of the data revolution are clear but careful reflection is needed

When data science meets social sciences: the benefits of the data revolution are clear but careful reflection is needed

Contemporary social sciences unquestionably benefit from the growing accessibility and availability of data sources, and the impressive developments in computational tools for data collection and analysis. However, Marta Stelmaszak and Philipp Hukal emphasise the importance of continued careful reflection when using new forms of data and methods. Any analysis of data requires reflection on the agency that went into […]

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    Excel is threatening the quality of research data — Data Packages are here to help

Excel is threatening the quality of research data — Data Packages are here to help

This week the Frictionless Data team at Open Knowledge International will be speaking about making research data quality visible at the International Digital Curation Conference (#idcc17). Dan Fowler looks at why the popular file format Excel is problematic for research and what steps can be taken to ensure data quality is maintained throughout the research process.

Our Frictionless Data project aims […]

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February 22nd, 2017|Big Data, Data science|2 Comments|

2016 in review: round-up of our top posts on big data

The Next Decade of Data Science: Rethinking key challenges faced by big data researchers
The vast availability of digital traces of unprecedented form and scale has led many to believe that we are entering a new data revolution. Will these new data sources and tools allow us to improve business processes in transformative ways? Vyacheslav Polonski argues that the more […]

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December 28th, 2016|Annual review, Big Data|0 Comments|
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    Measuring and engineering influence on social media: what does this mean for political power?

Measuring and engineering influence on social media: what does this mean for political power?

In 2016, the Brexit vote and the election of Donald Trump resolutely demonstrated the political power of social media. David Beer asks how we might better understand ‘influence’ in the machinations of social media, and how this influence might be harnessed by those in, or seeking, office.
One of the most interesting features of the new types of social media analytics […]

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December 19th, 2016|Big Data, Social Media|0 Comments|
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    Git for Data Analysis – why version control is essential for collaboration and for gaining public trust

Git for Data Analysis – why version control is essential for collaboration and for gaining public trust

Openness and collaboration go hand in hand. Samuel Payne describes how scientists at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory are working with the Frictionless Data team at Open Knowledge International to ensure collaboration on data analysis is seamless and their data integrity is maintained.

I’m a computational biologist at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), where I work on environmental and biomedical […]

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    What does Big Data mean to public affairs research? Understanding the methodological and analytical challenges

What does Big Data mean to public affairs research? Understanding the methodological and analytical challenges

The term ‘Big Data’ is often misunderstood or poorly defined, especially in the public sector. Ines Mergel, R. Karl Rethemeyer, and Kimberley R. Isett provide a definition that adequately encompasses the scale, collection processes, and sources of Big Data. However, while recognising its immense potential it is also important to consider the limitations when using Big Data as a […]

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December 8th, 2016|Big Data, Policymaking|1 Comment|
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    Can data sharing improve public services? Lessons for Parliament

Can data sharing improve public services? Lessons for Parliament

The Digital Economy Bill, currently passing through Parliament, includes proposals for HMRC information on benefits recipients to be shared with the Department of Energy and Climate Change, in order to identify citizens living in fuel poverty. Sharing data between government departments for policy purposes is not so straightforward, explains Edgar Whitley, outlining some of the key issues that must be […]

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    “The Big Data rich and the Big Data poor”: the new digital divide raises questions about future academic research

“The Big Data rich and the Big Data poor”: the new digital divide raises questions about future academic research

Data is being created faster than ever before. However, as Kate Metzler explains, limited access to this big data is creating a digital divide between large companies and the broader scholarly community. To compound this problem, there is also a big data analysis skills gap that further hinders the progress of social science. Without access to these datasets or […]

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November 22nd, 2016|Big Data|2 Comments|
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    Publishing and sharing data papers can increase impact and benefits researchers, publishers, funders and libraries

Publishing and sharing data papers can increase impact and benefits researchers, publishers, funders and libraries

The process of compiling and submitting data papers to journals has long been a frustrating one to the minority of researchers that have tried. Fiona Murphy, part of a project team working to automate this process, outlines why publishing data papers is important and how open data can be of benefit to all stakeholders across scholarly communications and higher […]

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    The potential of big data and new technologies in human rights research

The potential of big data and new technologies in human rights research

In legal studies, discussion of new technologies has often focused on the risks to privacy and data protection. Mariana Gkliati outlines how such technologies may be seen not only as Orwellian threats but also as opportunities for human rights research. Some advances have already been made and there remains much to learn from other fields. However, to build on […]

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September 30th, 2016|Big Data, Research Ethics|0 Comments|
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    Five Minutes with Professor Gary King: Transformational power of big data lies, pure and simple, in its analytics

Five Minutes with Professor Gary King: Transformational power of big data lies, pure and simple, in its analytics

Michael Todd listened to a recent lecture by Gary King on the big data revolution in the social sciences. Professor King insists data is easy to come by and is in fact a by-product of the many improvements in information technology. The issue isn’t its scale, volume or platform. It’s what we make out of all of that and the analytical tools […]

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    Liberating Data: How libraries and librarians can help researchers with text and data mining.

Liberating Data: How libraries and librarians can help researchers with text and data mining.

With advances in computational methods and the proliferation of data sources, text and data mining offers exciting new directions for research. Neil Stewart, Jane Secker, Chris Morrison and Laurence Horton look at the role of libraries in providing support to researchers for these projects, particularly to help with rights issues and to digitise material for scholarly re-use. Librarians should be […]

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    Visualising data in 3D: Handling complexity through visceral and tactile experiences of data.

Visualising data in 3D: Handling complexity through visceral and tactile experiences of data.

Data visualisation can be hugely effective in showing where we are in the world today and in context. Jonathan Minton has been exploring the application and potential of 3D printing for engaging with research. But with these new emerging opportunities for the presentation of data we must not do away with the complexity. Rather, visual, visceral and tactile experiences […]

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    Algorithmic accountability in scholarship: what we can learn from #DeleteAcademiaEdu

Algorithmic accountability in scholarship: what we can learn from #DeleteAcademiaEdu

The controversy surrounding Academia.edu highlights the flaws and limitations of existing scholarly infrastructures. Jean-Christophe Plantin explores the intersection of algorithms, academic research and platforms for scholarly publications. He argues that there is a need to develop a values-centred approach in the development of article-sharing platforms, with suitably designed algorithms.

The networking and article-sharing platform academia.edu has been at the centre of a controversy in […]

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    From Computing Clerks to Androids: Two bits on the material lives of social data in India.

From Computing Clerks to Androids: Two bits on the material lives of social data in India.

The social and material conditions of data collection have a significant bearing on how we think about and understand data. Sandeep Mertia looks at the history of data collection in India and how the conditions have changed over time. From the work of the eminent statistician and founder of the Indian Statistical Institute, Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis, to the now large scale surveys conducted […]

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This work by LSE Impact of Social Sciences blog is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported.