Data Mining OK’ed By LinkedIn For Economics Research

Via LinkedIn, data is everywhere, at least for economists and academics. Bloomberg reported that LinkedIn (owned by Microsoft) is allowing access to its data so that it can be used by academic researchers.

The newswire reported Monday (Aug. 20) that the access will not be unfettered — rather, there will be controls in place. That statement comes from the LinkedIn Chief Data Officer Igor Perisic. Among the chief protocols and protections: The researchers will have had to have their proposals approved by the networking site. The proposals will be vetted by legal teams.

The data, confined to a sandbox, as noted by Bloomberg, will be aggregated and anonymized at the same time. The researchers will not be able to download the data.

The proposals themselves will be limited to “economic opportunity with an eye toward enabling a level playing field for economic outcomes.” Bloomberg reported that, in an interview with Perisic, the executive stated that “this is not about having a direct product impact.” There have been improvements made to the site in the wake of interactions with those researchers, he said. Perisic also noted that the company had worked on projects that had been of value in motivating its own internal data science employees and research efforts.

Broadly speaking, the academic ideas can be lumped into three areas. Those three areas span economics, artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics. The executive told Bloomberg that roughly a dozen teams will have data access, and will be tied to an initiative known as the LinkedIn Economic Graph Program, a collaboration that expands on a program that traces its genesis to 2015.


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