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Kenan Institute 2024 Grand Challenge: Business Resilience
Market-Based Solutions to Vital Economic Issues
Apr 15, 2015

The New Data Frontier: Special Issue Of Research Policy


We are now in the age of Big, and, seemingly, ever Bigger Data. The current public discussion focuses on the avalanche of data, due to fact that nearly all written (and other) materials are now available in a digital format, which simplifies their accessibility, extraction, classification, and analysis. Even more so, the adoptions of online digital platforms create new and ever-larger data quantities every day. While created for other purposes the potential for scientific socio-economic research appears simultaneously extremely promising and extremely uncertain – very much like answers in search of good questions. Amidst the great hype, there are continuing controversies about how to define and delineate Big Data. Because of these ambiguities and questions, we choose not to use the phrase “Big Data” for this Special Issue, but instead focus on the new data frontiers that scholars in our research community might find useful. While the picture is still evolving in terms of what information will be useful and which tools are most efficient for accessing and manipulating data, what is certain is that changes during the last decade enabled by new technologies have dramatically enhanced the availability, scale and ability to connect previously disparate data sources. These existing and emerging data sources provide new opportunities to address questions of interest to Research Policy readers and to demonstrate the potential for providing previously elusive empirical evidence.

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