Open data, Big data : what values, what challenges ?

Digital Document and Society - 5th conference

4-5 May 2015 - Rabat - Morocco

Call for papers

The evolution of networks towards an “Internet of Things” urges us to examine the current buzz about "Big Data" stirring the sectors of business, government and science at the moment. As such, the “Internet of Things” stands for a generalized interconnection that turns network users’ services and behaviors of Internet data providers and, generally speaking, a series of technological developments related to the computational capabilities that deal with information over its entire processing chain.

"Big Data" has been a buzzword for the last three years. It is often considered as a "gold mine" giving value to a "global ocean data", and shows the awareness of the rapid expansion of a new universe consisting of data processing resulting in a profitable Eldorado. "Big Data" also refers to the massive exploitation of informational data produced or generated online within legal frameworks that are still being defined and negotiated.

The term "Big Data" is frequently associated with "Open Data", at least in the public sphere. With academic research, the movement of open access to scientific results – whether text or data – is consistent with the major issue of unlimited data exploration and interconnection at the heart of the promises put forward by data mining.

Democracies have also jumped on the bandwagon of the “Open” phenomenon and have built a renewed access to public data, reflecting the values of transparency, citizen participation, support for economic innovation, etc. 2009 was a starting point, with the launch of, by US President Obama’s Open Government. Moreover, with encouragement from the European Union, it was translated in France into an "open platform of the French public data",, still being expanded today. The same applies in the case of Morocco through its platform dedicated to public data ( In this respect, France ranks 10th out of 77 countries in the 2013 barometer of Open Data Institute, and Morocco ranks 40th.

Another phenomenon, not least important in terms of proliferation, regards the release of data by users themselves on social networking services, blogs, websites of sharing videos, images, texts ... potentially exploitable for marketing purposes or by any other services which activities are based on making predictions.

Within companies, many projects which aims range from simple performance optimization to a deep transformation of business models are emerging. Data visualization is an issue associated with the efficiency of control. The possibility of decision making in real time and the idea of enriching usual data with new sources of finer granularity allow for the adjustment of an ongoing relationship with the customer to design products and services refined according to profile and needs.

Indeed, there are numerous opportunities related to the access to huge volumes of data from different fields such as health, safety, environment, urban planning, media, employment and other areas that have a deep impact on the structure of a society and even international relations.

A form of "value creation" – a concept we aim to interrogate - seems to emerge through the approaches of these different areas, raising issues of innovation and new economic opportunities. The availability of massive data leads to evaluate different metrics such as unprecedented data correlations and the development of "predictive" models. For research, the challenge is to build, share and verify additional scientific evidence, to reuse data and extract new hypotheses.

However, even if many stakeholders acclaim Open Data and Big Data are admitted by, we should still consider their stakes as critical issues, given their cross-cutting properties, magnitude, and potential social impact. One of the main issues central to the debate is the protection of personal data. Whether actual information about an individual (their identity, the results of their work, their preferences, their behavior, their past, their real-time needs, their health or banking data...), or virtual information related to their digital shadow. The notions of property and privacy remain at stake. Discussions and reflections on the legal, citizen and commercial levels currently stir the debates in France including through the intermediary of the CNIL (National Commission for Computers and Liberties), but also at the level of the European Union, through the on-going development of a new directive for the harmonization of practices.  For its part, Morocco works to achieve the completion of the first investigations to ensure the protection of personal data by the CNDP under Article 24 of the new Constitution[1], which guarantees the right to privacy and confidentiality of communications. Making data anonymous does not seem to be a sufficient solution today.

Whether it is a technological breakthrough, as suggested by some stakeholders’ discourse promoting a new ecosystem, an innovation in terms of economic and social models, an evolution in the performance of existing tools or a simple fashion effect, this transverse phenomenon is at the heart of a number of research papers not only in information and communication sciences but also in management sciences, IT, social sciences and, more generally, sciences with quantitative experiments that involve significant data volumes such as genomics, meteorology, epidemiology, criminology, etc.

Various issues regarding information and communication sciences need to be put into perspective. This fifth conference on "The Digital Document and Society" fosters not only comments and feedback from experiences but also theoretical reflections and reviews on models that "Big Data" raises, particularly those that renew the field of information and communication sciences.

  1. Technical issues related to structuring and constructing knowledge: In order to be analyzable, reusable, combinable and aggregated, data must be structured. Strengthening the convergence systems for the identification of documentary resources with those of the web and the creation of metadata schemas promote interoperability and calculations on data. Case studies describing the lessons learned could be interesting from both public institutions and businesses. Regarding the construction of knowledge, what kind of knowledge is likely to be built by the crossing of data?
  2. Societal issues related to the use of "Big Data": We ask if the strategies of opening and sharing data may pave the way to renewing a form of dictatorship of transparency by claiming a "culture change" based on leaving behind the protection of personal data. Both behaviors developed by users in the exploitation of their data and regulations/legislation to be considered should be studied.
  3. Industrial and professional issues: One may wonder about the profile of organizations that are already taking advantage of this opening, the weight of web giants in the redistribution of value. Specific skills seem necessary to process data: is there a general acculturation to data mining? What specializations are there for "new" jobs such as data-journalists or data-scientists?
  4. Epistemological issues related to the renewal of analysis frameworks and interpretation, new metrics, and new business models will also be put into focus.

Symposium topics include, but are not limited to:

  • New roles for librarians (data scientist, digital curation librarian, data manager...)
  • Data- journalism
  • "Big Data" applications, particularly in the field of competitive intelligence
  • Big Data and Open Government
  • Big Data and open science : impact on scientific research
  • Legal framework for Big Data (Protection of personal data, copyright…)
  • User behavior facing open data and big data
  • Informational Ethics
  • Innovation in services and open data
  • Data-vizualisation
  • Emerging Trends in Information Science induced by Big Data
  • Adaptation of norms and standards (taxonomies , metadata schemas ... )
  • Management of data (ILS, institutional repositories, e-learning platforms)
  • Big data and business management functions
  • Epistemology of big data ...

[1] Morocco has adhered to the Council of Europe Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data (ETS No. 108).


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Responsables de la conférence n°5

Ahmed BACHR, Professeur ESI - Maroc
Evelyne BROUDOUX, Maître de conférences en Information-Communication, CNAM
Ghislaine CHARTRON, Professeur titulaire de la Chaire d’ingénierie documentaire, CNAM
ElHassan LEMALLEM, Directeur de l’ESI – Maroc

Comité d'organisation

Alli Abderrazzaq (Affaires pédagogiques, ESI)
Khalid Cherkaoui (Formation Continue et Prestations aux entreprises, ESI)
Nazha Hachad (Coopération et Partenariat, ESI)
Moustafid Said (Association Nationale des Informatistes, ANI)
Hanae Rhoul (ESI, Maroc)
Béatrice Arruabarrena (Université Paris8)
Joumana Boustany (Université Paris Descartes)
Anna Nesvijevskaia (Cnam, Paris)

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