Research Topic

Big Data: Public Health Friend or Foe?

About this Research Topic

While the exponential proliferation of data has been described for decades, the “Big Data” phenomenon has more recently become a cross-disciplinary area of significant attention and development for public and global health. We are increasingly able to process, mine and analyse more and more data faster than ...

While the exponential proliferation of data has been described for decades, the “Big Data” phenomenon has more recently become a cross-disciplinary area of significant attention and development for public and global health. We are increasingly able to process, mine and analyse more and more data faster than ever before, enabled by rapid advances in technology and connected citizen engagement around the globe. The continued growth of society’s contribution to and use of data and technology continues to present incredible opportunities to public health. Many research activities have been exploring the use of big data and associated technologies within the public health landscape, ranging from event detection and early warning to targeting health behaviour ('precision public health') and assessing interventions. At the same time, however, the use of Big Data has also come with growing and legitimate concerns, such as privacy, data quality, and analytical validity.

This Research Topic of Frontiers in Public Health: Digital Health section focuses on novel and cutting-edge approaches to big data use in public health and the critical assessment of these and existing approaches. The data streams discussed might include linked data from traditional surveillance systems, mobile GPS data, personalised data from health intervention apps, participatory surveillance, sensor data, social media and more. Research investigating cross-linking of various data streams is particularly welcomed. While much has been published in this area, methods and applications continue to evolve, fueled by increasing cross-pollination between disciplines, changing competencies and limitless creativity.

We encourage submissions from researchers and practitioners across academia, industry and government, highlighting theoretical and applied uses of Big Data to advance public health practice and improve the health of populations around the globe. Papers may highlight positive and/or negative implications of Big Data use and will be assessed on novelty, creativity and contribution across domains.


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

15 January 2018 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

15 January 2018 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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