Refugees, migrants and data science: it’s not just research.

Nov 2016 Tilburg #MigrationEcon for the #SocialGood. #PracticeMakesPerfect #Not #DataScience.

linnet taylor

Today I heard about yet another ‘big data’ research project on ‘refugees-and-migrants’ and it became time to write something.  The project aimed to interview undocumented migrants in Europe, then combine those interviews with data from mobile phones, bank accounts and national databases, and also with data from the organisations responsible for controlling the presence of migrants (and often deporting them). The aim of the project was, it appeared, unclear. The researchers wanted to, variously, create knowledge about the characteristics and situation of the undocumented because it would lead to better outcomes for migrants; to create knowledge because it would lead to social acceptance of migration, and to locate ‘lost’ child migrants.

This was not the only project I have heard presented recently. Since the increased influx of refugees into the EU due to the Syrian conflict, data science has discovered migrants as an object of study, and every new research…

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