Lydia Franklinos , 1 , Rebecca Parrish 2 , Rachel Burns 3 , Andrea Caflisch 4 , Bishawjit Mallick 5 , Taifur Rahman 6 , Vasileios Routsis 7 , Ana Sebastián López 8 , Andrew Tatem 9 , Robert Trigwell 10
18 June 2020
Big data, migration, cross-disciplinary research, policy, humanitarian, environment, displacement, climate change, health, data security, Environmental modelling, Public policymaking, Environmental justice and inequality/inequity, Statistics, Health and climate change
Migration is one of the defining issues of the 21st century. Better data is required to improve understanding about how and why people are moving, target interventions and support evidence-based migration policy. Big data, defined as large, complex data from diverse sources, has been proposed as a solution to help address current gaps in knowledge. The authors participated in a workshop held in London, UK, in July 2019, that brought together experts from the UN, humanitarian NGOs, policy and academia to develop a better understanding of how big data could be used for migration research and policy. We identified six key areas regarding the application of big data in migration research and policy: accessing and utilising data; integrating data sources and knowledge; understanding environmental drivers of migration; improving healthcare access for migrant populations; ethical and security concerns; and addressing political narratives. We advocate the need for increased cross-disciplinary collaborations to advance the use of big data in migration research whilst safeguarding vulnerable migrant communities.