The Big (data) Bang: Opportunities and challenges for compiling SDG indicators

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MacFeely, Stephen
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Official statisticians around the world are faced with the herculean task of populating the Sustainable Development Goals global indicator framework. As traditional data sources appear to be insufficient, statisticians are naturally considering whether big data can contribute anything useful. While the statistical possibilities appear to be theoretically endless, in practice big data also present some enormous challenges and potential pitfalls: legal; ethical; technical; and reputational. This paper examines the opportunities and challenges presented by big data for compiling indicators to support Agenda 2030.
SDGs , Big data , Agenda 2030 , Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) , Agenda 2030
MacFeely, S. (2019) 'The Big (data) Bang: Opportunities and Challenges for Compiling SDG Indicators', Global Policy, 10(S1), pp. 121-133. doi: 10.1111/1758-5899.12595
© 2019 University of Durham and John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: MacFeely, S. (2019), The Big (data) Bang: Opportunities and Challenges for Compiling SDG Indicators. Glob Policy, 10: 121-133, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions