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Ann Am Acad Pol Soc Sci. 2015 May 1;659(1):16-32.

From Big Data to Knowledge in the Social Sciences.

Abstract

One of the challenges associated with high-volume, diverse datasets is whether synthesis of open data streams can translate into actionable knowledge. Recognizing that challenge and other issues related to these types of data, the National Institutes of Health developed the Big Data to Knowledge or BD2K initiative. The concept of translating "big data to knowledge" is important to the social and behavioral sciences in several respects. First, a general shift to data-intensive science will exert an influence on all scientific disciplines, but particularly on the behavioral and social sciences given the wealth of behavior and related constructs captured by big data sources. Second, science is itself a social enterprise; by applying principles from the social sciences to the conduct of research, it should be possible to ameliorate some of the systemic problems that plague the scientific enterprise in the age of big data. We explore the feasibility of recalibrating the basic mechanisms of the scientific enterprise so that they are more transparent and cumulative; more integrative and cohesive; and more rapid, relevant, and responsive.

KEYWORDS:

big data; data visualization; informatics; integrative data analysis

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