One of the most pressing and fascinating challenges scientists face today, is understanding the complexity of our globally interconnected society. The big data arising from the digital breadcrumbs of human activities promise to let us scrutinize the ground truth of individual and collective behaviour at an unprecedented detail and scale. There is an urgent need to harness these opportunities for scientific advancement and for the social good. The main obstacle to this accomplishment, besides the scarcity of data scientists, is the lack of a large-scale open infrastructure, where big data and social mining research can be carried out.
The aim of this research field is the creation of analytical platforms, data infrastructures and workflow languages providing an integrated ecosystem for ethic-sensitive scientific discoveries and advanced applications of social data mining on the various dimensions of social life, as recorded by “big data”. This technologies will open up new research avenues in multiple research fields, including mathematics, ICT, and human, social and economic sciences, by enabling easy comparison, re-use and integration of state-of-the-art big social data, methods, and services, into new research. In addition, open research infrastructures, will promote repeatable and open science helping the researchers but also to reduce the distance between them and industrial partner and other stakeholders (e.g. government bodies, non-profit organisations, funders, policy makers).