Co-founder and Chief Research and Development Officer, Stefaan Verhulst, is an Editor-in-Chief of the new Data & Policy journal. The press release announcing the launch of the journal (originally published here) is copied below.
Today we announce the launch of a new open access and peer-reviewed journal: Data & Policy. Aimed at a growing global community of scholars, policy leaders, and industry innovators, this new venue, published by Cambridge University Press, seeks to explore a variety of issues related to the growing use of data science technologies for governance and in the public sector. It will offer a forum, among other topics, for commentary concerning developments in this emerging field; their social and ethical implications; and the emergence of data and policy as a distinct body of knowledge and practice.
The journal emerges out of the many conversations and interactions we have held under the aegis of the “Data for Policy” (dataforpolicy.org) conference series, which has emerged as a premier forum for exploring the potential of the digital revolution in the government sector. As part of this series, we have hosted a wide variety of dialogues and talks by global thought leaders, opinion makers, practitioners and members of the scientific community. These have allowed us to identify much of the potential of this field, and also the many challenges and shortcomings it continues to face (some of which we outline in our launching editorial).
In particular, it has become increasingly clear to us that we need a dedicated venue to deepen and sustain conversations in this area beyond the limitations of an annual conference. Hence this journal, which we hope will explore new frontiers and spur greater innovation while at the same time mitigating barriers to the greater use of data in policymaking and governance. We seek to break disciplinary and geographic boundaries, and especially to bridge the two cultures of science and humanism, providing a platform for genuine intellectual exchange that will go beyond routine (and tokenistic) appeals to interdisciplinarity.
The stakes are high, and the implications for society potentially significant. Some of the areas of public life that could be improved by greater (and better) use of data in government include citizen service delivery, public health, environment, policing, justice and law, social cohesion — and much more. We are therefore excited by the potential. But we are also mindful of the risks and responsibilities. We seek to explore these issues in a considered, evidence-based manner, and to publish pieces of the highest rigor and integrity.
We also see the potential, with this launch, to extend beyond the limitations of a conventional academic journal. Articles published in Data & Policy will be open access — freely available under licensing that allows unimpeded reading, sharing and re-use, helping us to reach readers and potential authors in academic institutions, government agencies, international, non-profit and commercial organisations, and the general public around the world. Although the core of Data & Policy is peer-reviewed research, we ask authors to think beyond traditional outputs and formats, and facilitate the sharing of proposals, posters, presentations and policy-related problems that could benefit from further collaborative investigation. The impetus behind this, of course, is a movement towards open, transparent and collaborative research, evidenced for example in efforts to create new links between technical, policy and other forms of expertise, and to build trust among different research and practice communities.
We are pleased to have stellar editorial and advisory boards supporting us in this endeavour. These include a collection of global opinion makers, computer scientists, policy practitioners and others drawn from a diversity of fields. Our community has evolved organically over time, as an open, collaborative initiative. We set up this blog alongside Data & Policy to have a flexible way of engaging with the community and we invite you all to get in touch with feedback, suggestions and ideas.