Call for Papers: Reconfiguring concepts and understanding realities for social sciences in the age of big data

Posted Date: 2016-02-10
Expiry Date: 2016-08-30

Call for Papers


Reconfiguring concepts and understanding realities for social sciences in the age of big data

The challenge of the new data landscape has become a dominant theme within discussions in social science from both the perspective of theory and methodology. Certainly, big data has been a major issue, however it is still rather unclear what impact it has on societies, politics and markets.

It is widely known that today large amounts of data are available to use for research on human behaviour: social media, data from online social networks, vast amounts of digital text, sensory information from personal hand-held and other devices, information from search engine usage and other online services, etc. Such data could increasingly be used to address larger societal issues of social relations, inequality, education, healthcare, political participation, and more. The advances in the use of big data and network analysis offer the possibility to answer questions that were beyond research in the past, and this new generation of large-scale, complex, and usually unstructured data requires new forms of data analysis and scientific applications.

However, its interaction with and relation to the ‘good old’ paradigms of research and interpretation raises important questions. We still seem to be in the phase when producing quality from quantity (in the form of meaning, knowledge and value) is the major challenge. Despite some achievements of the open data principle, the availability and access to commercial and government data for the sake of academic research and its repeatability by others could be further major issues. The intention of other disciplines from outside the social sciences to measure and interpret social processes could create a new division of work and roles that also needs to be addressed and understood.

This special issue is trying to be a meeting point where researchers focusing on the use of big data for social scientific research could have the opportunity to present their thoughts on theories, methods, ethical or legal issues, or publish their tangible research results.

We invite papers that touch upon the dilemmas and use of big data. Both theoretical and empirical papers are welcome. We encourage scholars to submit an abstract of 600-800 words including a short bio and the description of the main question(s) and finding(s) of the paper together with the methodology applied (if relevant) by 30 June, 2016 through our online submission system. Authors will receive feedback from the editorial team by 6 July, 2016. The deadline for submitting the final papers is 15 October, 2016.

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