big data

Getting the data you pay for

A new blog at Nesta, reflecting on Tim Harford’s recent critique of big data and why the recommendation to continue a decennial census is a good thing:

We live in a world of exponentially expanding data. Digitisation and the emerging internet of things have created a world in which our daily activities leave a digital trail. To an organisation or an individual with the right skills, that digital trail becomes data, able to be probed and interrogated for meaning, for correlations and for trends. But in the rush to take advantage of this tsunami of zeroes and ones, it’s important to remember that not all data is created equal.

Big data in social science research: access and replication

This is a blog I wrote for Nesta in two parts (part 1, part 2). I include both parts here for convenience.

Academic researchers are increasingly recognising the value in proprietary big data. The huge, networked, personal datasets associated with web giants such as Facebook could be a boon for social science research. But without a way for interested researchers to consistently access this data, such research fails the basic test of replicability. (more…)