What do fitness apps, connected wristbands, bribe whistle-blower platform, Internet-scrapped text and bicycle traffic have to do with public policy? And administrative data on tenders, satellite images, patent data, and mobile phone data? These are just a few examples of innovative data sources (and unexpected combinations of data) that are currently being used by some governments and administrations to drastically improve the way information feeds into the policy process. Read about them and much more on the challenges and opportunities around the innovative use of data (big and small) in public policy in the initial findings of the study entrusted by the European Commission to a team from Technopolis, the Oxford Internet Institute and CEPS.
The state-of-the-art report proposes a selective literature review and discusses a variety of policy fields, but also the broad spectrum of data sources, analytics and visualisations, as well as privacy, ethical and inclusion aspects. It also presents useful references: a detailed inventory of innovative practices in public administrations, a mapping of the actors involved in the debate, a selection of ongoing research projects.
A state-of-the-art chasing such a fast-moving target is bound to be outdated by the time the ink dries on the manuscript (sic!). For this reason, the study team proposes a living-document and opens the report, in its very first draft state, to a broad peer-review. All comments, constructive criticism, challenging remarks, questions and contradictions are welcomed and a discussion will be animated online on the project's website – by the 29th May 2015. The authors especially welcome proposals for new initiatives in the inventory of good examples of data for policy practices.
The study feeds a creative reflection on the modernisation of the public sector and specifically on how innovative data technologies can be used to produce better, well-grounded, and evidence-informed policies. It is intended as inspiration not only to the European Commission services, but also to a larger community of practitioners, policy-makers, data scientists and other interested participants.