Volume 66, Issue 8 p. 1523-1545
ADVANCES IN INFORMATION SCIENCE

Big data, bigger dilemmas: A critical review

Hamid Ekbia

Hamid Ekbia

Center for Research on Mediated Interaction (CROMI), School of Informatics and Computing, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana

Search for more papers by this author
Michael Mattioli

Michael Mattioli

Center for Intellectual Property, Maurer School of Law, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana

Search for more papers by this author
Inna Kouper

Inna Kouper

Center for Research on Mediated Interaction (CROMI), School of Informatics and Computing, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana

Data to Insight Center, Pervasive Technology Institute, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana

Search for more papers by this author
G. Arave

G. Arave

Center for Research on Mediated Interaction (CROMI), School of Informatics and Computing, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana

Search for more papers by this author
Ali Ghazinejad

Ali Ghazinejad

Center for Research on Mediated Interaction (CROMI), School of Informatics and Computing, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana

Search for more papers by this author
Timothy Bowman

Timothy Bowman

Center for Research on Mediated Interaction (CROMI), School of Informatics and Computing, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana

Search for more papers by this author
Venkata Ratandeep Suri

Venkata Ratandeep Suri

Center for Research on Mediated Interaction (CROMI), School of Informatics and Computing, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana

Search for more papers by this author
Andrew Tsou

Andrew Tsou

Center for Research on Mediated Interaction (CROMI), School of Informatics and Computing, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana

Search for more papers by this author
Scott Weingart

Scott Weingart

Center for Research on Mediated Interaction (CROMI), School of Informatics and Computing, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana

Search for more papers by this author
Cassidy R. Sugimoto

Cassidy R. Sugimoto

Center for Research on Mediated Interaction (CROMI), School of Informatics and Computing, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana

Search for more papers by this author
First published: 31 December 2014
Citations: 187

Abstract

The recent interest in Big Data has generated a broad range of new academic, corporate, and policy practices along with an evolving debate among its proponents, detractors, and skeptics. While the practices draw on a common set of tools, techniques, and technologies, most contributions to the debate come either from a particular disciplinary perspective or with a focus on a domain-specific issue. A close examination of these contributions reveals a set of common problematics that arise in various guises and in different places. It also demonstrates the need for a critical synthesis of the conceptual and practical dilemmas surrounding Big Data. The purpose of this article is to provide such a synthesis by drawing on relevant writings in the sciences, humanities, policy, and trade literature. In bringing these diverse literatures together, we aim to shed light on the common underlying issues that concern and affect all of these areas. By contextualizing the phenomenon of Big Data within larger socioeconomic developments, we also seek to provide a broader understanding of its drivers, barriers, and challenges. This approach allows us to identify attributes of Big Data that require more attention—autonomy, opacity, generativity, disparity, and futurity—leading to questions and ideas for moving beyond dilemmas.