From our perspective, sociologists, historians, political scientists, economists, philosophers and anthropologists are well placed to deal with the big data movement. At the present time, social and human scientists have at their disposal a wide volume and variety of data, including massively-growing public archival data. This allows to extend the geographical and longitudinal scope of analyses on a new scale. However, first and foremost it gives social and human scientists the opportunity to show their strong competence on contextual knowledge, the capacity to historically situate objects of analyses and discuss meanings and vast textual corpora. Still, the strategies for storing and analysing such data are complex and not without difficulties.
This Special Issue aims to discuss the challenges and opportunities in applying computational methods to massive textual and historical data, the potential change in standards of evidence, as well as the impact of such methods on qualitative-based research approaches. It also seeks to build bridges with formal, applied and natural scientists, exploring how new methods can actually lead to new discoveries in the social sciences.