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Reviewed by: Cheryl LaGuardia, Research Librarian, Widener Library, Harvard University
Big Data & Society’s (BDS) stated purpose is “to provide a space for connecting debates about the emerging field of Big Data practices and how they are reconfiguring academic, social, industry, business and government relations, expertise, methods, concepts and knowledge.” Material on the journal site is published continuously, and for the first three years of the journal’s life (until 2017) there will be no article processing charges (APCs) for authors.
You can access the content on BDS in several ways: through a Latest Articles tab, through an Archives tab (which groups articles by year and quarter), and through a Search (both simple and advanced). In an About the Journal section (on the BDS blog, curiously enough) there’s a statement that, “While peer reviewed research articles are the Journal’s core content, we will also publish a variety of other content to advance research on and communication about Big Data practices,” that content to include Peer reviewed research articles, Colloquia / symposia (external guest editors will be invited to convene debates/discussions), video Bookcasts (replacing the typical book reviews section in a journal of this kind), Commentaries (a section providing space for short submissions on topical issues, controversies, questions, etc.), Demos (the Journal editors will annually invite curators to compile and reflect on projects related to the concerns of the Journal and present this in the form of an essay, images, and links), the Early Career Researcher Forum (short articles invited from postgraduate students and early career researchers about their work and projects on Big Data), and Editorials (annual overviews of published content along with article and journal metrics and reviewer acknowledgments written by the Editorial Team).
Thus far (the journal just debuted this past summer) there are three types of publications available on it: Original Research Articles, Commentaries, and ECR Fora, while some of the content is actually at the Big Data & Society blog, which, in addition to blog posts about the journal and related topics of interest, includes the bookcasts (videos of interviews with authors of recently published books related to the concerns of the Journal), author video abstracts, and lists of upcoming Big Data events.
Here’s a sampling of some of the original research articles available right now: “Emerging practices and perspectives on Big Data analysis in economics: Bigger and better or more of the same?,” “Surveillance, Snowden, and Big Data: Capacities, consequences, critique,” “Big and broad social data and the sociological imagination: A collaborative response,” and “Big and broad social data and the sociological imagination: A collaborative response.” Commentaries include: “Big Data ethics,” “Complementary social science? Quali-quantitative experiments in a Big Data world,” and “Data and life on the street,” while there are two ECR Fora available: “Big Data and Small: Collaborations between ethnographers and data scientists,” and “On minorities and outliers: The case for making Big Data small.”
This title has huge potential for developing our understanding of how Big Data will affect us all, and with SAGE behind it this may be one of the most influential social science titles to emerge in some time. Librarians will want to keep up with it, and be sure to tell your researchers involved with data about it sooner rather than later.