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11 June 2019

New journal to explore the impact of data science on government policy

A new Open Access journal will explore the role of data science in shaping government policy – and its possible impact on privacy and public trust.

Launched this week, Data & Policy is the result of a collaboration between Cambridge University Press and the annual Data for Policy conference, being held this year at UCL on 11-12 June.

Data & Policy will publish: original, peer-reviewed  articles on how data science can improve policy-making, governance capabilities and citizen services; commentaries exploring the ethical implications of data-driven research and its impact on privacy, law and public trust; and replication studies to promote transparent, reproducible research.

The Alan Turing Institute – the UK’s national institute for data science and artificial intelligence – and UCL have pledged support for the conference and the journal, providing funding that will enable unfunded researchers to publish their research on an open access basis.  The journal will be free to read on Cambridge Core, the online repository of books and journals published by the Press.

The opening manifesto from Data & Policy editors Zeynep Engin (UCL), Jon Crowcroft (University of Cambridge and The Alan Turing Institute) and Stefaan Verhulst (The Governance Lab, New York University) says that while the potential of data – now generated at a massive scale as a result of digital technologies embedded in everyday life – and data analytics have been evident for some time, initiatives using data for policy have been the exception rather than the norm. This is due to a number of obstacles, including: the inaccessibility of much data; gaps in technical and conceptual understanding; and a growing lack of public trust about the way that data is collected, analyzed and used.

The editors call for deeper understanding of “Policy-Data Interactions”, in order to reach a “consistent, symmetrical approach to consideration of systems of policy and data, how they interact with one another”.

The Data for Policy conference has initiated such policy-data interactions by bringing together researchers from different disciplines, people with technical expertise and those with knowledge of different policy domains. Data & Policy aims to sustain this debate and extend beyond the conference by linking together other institutions and networks, and providing a trusted venue for researchers, policy specialists and all who are interested in the implications of data for citizens, services and how they are governed.

Brigitte Shull, Director of Scholarly Communications Research and Development at Cambridge University Press, said: “We are pleased to be working with Zeynep, Jon and Stefaan, and their international board. Data & Policy is embracing the movement towards more open, collaborative and transparent ways of conducting and communicating research. We are excited to see how the potential of this is realised in their effort to bring together technical, policy and other communities.”

Adrian Smith, Institute Director and Chief Executive of The Alan Turing Institute, said: “We are delighted to support the prestigious Data for Policy conference and the development of its new open-access journal Data & Policy. The Turing is pleased to bolster these ongoing efforts to create a global forum for interdisciplinary debates around data in government and we look forward to continuing this collaboration.”


·         Data & Policy:

·         Data & Policy’s opening editorial:



Cambridge University Press is part of the University of Cambridge. It furthers the University's mission by disseminating knowledge in the pursuit of education, learning and research at the highest international levels of excellence. Its extensive peer-reviewed publishing lists comprise 50,000 titles covering academic research and professional development, over 380 research journals, as well as school-level education and English language teaching. Playing a leading role in today's international market place, Cambridge University Press has over 50 offices around the globe, and it distributes its products to nearly every country in the


Data for Policy is a premier global forum for interdisciplinary and cross-sector discussions around the impact and potentials of the digital revolution in the government sector. Established in 2015, it is an independent non-profit initiative registered in the UK as a Community Interest Company. It is supported by a large number of key stakeholders, including prestigious academic institutions, government departments, international agencies, non-profit institutions, and businesses.


The Alan Turing Institute is the UK’s national institute for data science and artificial intelligence.The Institute is named in honour of Alan Turing, whose pioneering work in theoretical and applied mathematics, engineering and computing is considered to have laid the foundations for modern-day data science and artificial intelligence. The Institute’s goals are to undertake world-class research in data science and artificial intelligence, apply its research to real-world problems, drive economic impact and societal good, lead the training of a new generation of scientists, and shape the public conversation around data.

About UCL (University College London)

UCL was founded in 1826. We were the first English university established after Oxford and Cambridge, the first to open up university education to those previously excluded from it, and the first to provide systematic teaching of law, architecture and medicine. We are among the world's top universities, as reflected by performance in a range of international rankings and tables, and are committed to changing the world for the better. Our community of over 41,500 students from 150 countries and over 12,500 staff pursues academic excellence, breaks boundaries and makes a positive impact on real world problems. | Follow us on Twitter @uclnews | Watch our YouTube channel

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