Knowledge for policy

About Knowledge4Policy

The EU Commission's Knowledge4Policy (K4P) platform supports evidence-based policymaking: bridging the world of policymakers — who ideally develop public policy based on sound scientific evidence — and the scientists who develop that evidence in the first place.

(last update: 5/8/2020) We do not limit K4P to just the Commission’s scientists and policymakers — we aim to organise scientific knowledge from across Europe, for policymakers across Europe. This is a vast mission, however, so after explaining the state of play in mid 2020 - what you will find on K4P, how it is organised – this page sets out where we’re going next, and even provides a little history. 

Knowledge4Policy in 2020 

At a glance 

Today you will find a single database of scientific knowledge, created specifically for policymakers by over a dozen different scientific teams ( “Knowledge Services”) to help inform policy. There are two types of “Knowledge Service” (links to them are on the K4P home page):  

  • If you are a policymaker in a field covered by one or more Knowledge Centres, K4P has knowledge for you.   

  • If you are looking for tools for analysing scientific knowledge to help inform policy, then one of the Competence Centres may have what you’re looking for. 

One database, many teams 

“Knowledge Services” are multidisciplinary teams led by the Joint Research Centre, the European Commission’s in-house science and knowledge service. However, each Knowledge Services involves multiple Commission Departments ("Directorates-General", or DGs), so K4P is a cross-EC platform.  

While each Knowledge Service has its own ‘Landing page’ on K4P, almost everything on K4P is in a shared “knowledgebase”. That means: 

  • you can search everything from K4P home, using filters like type of knowledge, publishing organisation, a global “Thesaurus” of keywords, etc. 

  • you can search just the content relevant to a Knowledge Service from its Landing Page, using the above filters plus extra filters specific to the Knowledge Service – i.e., you'll search a small subset of the knowledgebase, with greater granularity. 

There are many sorts of knowledge (publications, data visualisations, projects, etc.), so the search engine allows you to select what you’re looking for. All knowledge is either created or curated (published by someone else) – either way, the Knowledge Service’s scientists vouch for its quality and relevance. 

All knowledge is either created or curated – either way, the Knowledge Service’s scientists vouch for its quality and relevance

You’ll also find that each piece of knowledge automatically links to related knowledge across the platform. So we’re avoiding ‘knowledge silos’ (different teams publishing knowledge in different databases) while still providing each Knowledge Service’s audience with highly granular knowledge management. 

Knowledge brokerage for policymakers 

But there’s more than just scientific data and information on K4P. Knowledge Services include both scientists and knowledge brokers – specialists in explaining scientific findings to policymakers.  

This is why each Knowledge Service is more than simply a search engine. Within each Knowledge Service are interfaces structured and written solely to help policymakers quickly find policy briefings, data visualisations and other key documents. These features were only introduced in early 2020, however, so not all Knowledge Services are using them fully. 

What’s next? 

While building the ‘beta version’ of K4P in 2018, we carried out in-depth audience research to discover what our audiences actually want and need. Everything we do next is guided by what we found, which we share via our blog (see, for example, Evidence-based policymaking: a story emerges from audience research). 

More knowledge, more accessible

Since 2018, the number of Knowledge Services on the K4P platform has grown from five to 13, with another four on the way, so the quantity and diversity of knowledge continues to grow. And as more Knowledge Services create knowledge brokerage content for policymakers, the knowledge here will become more accessible. 

Online communities

In summer 2020, finally, we migrated to a new web publishing software (Drupal 8), allowing us to start work on the next major development: online communities. 

Users will be able to submit knowledge to Knowledge4Policy, ask questions and comment on what they find, and even collaborate with Knowledge Services on transferring scientific knowledge into public policy. 

More information

We will continue sharing our journey via our blog, which is open to contributions: we want to learn from evidence-based policymaking experts worldwide, apply what we learn, and generally advance the state-of-the-art. 

All content concerning the K4P Platform itself - from the above audience research through to the wider resources on evidence-based policymaking - has been tagged Knowledge4Policy.