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.
Our societies are poorer when these worlds do not work together effectively. But while both science and politics have become increasingly international, they also seem to be drifting further away from each other.
The international nature of both science and politics, moreover, also means we cannot limit K4P to just the Commission’s scientists and policymakers — we need to organise scientific knowledge from across Europe, for policymakers across Europe.
May-November, 2018: Minimum Viable Platform
That is a vast scope for a website, so we got started in classic start-up fashion by launching a "Minimum Viable Platform" (MVP) in May 2018.
This 'Beta phase' ended in late November. As set out in Knowledge4Policy is Out of Beta. What have we learnt so far?, those 6 months were spent creating a searchable knowledgebase by migrating and merging several different databases, created by several different teams, using different technologies and taxonomies, within the Joint Research Centre, the European Commission’s in-house science and knowledge service.
Each of these teams - "Knowledge Centres" and "Competence Centres" - involve multiple Departments ("Directorates-General", or DGs) of the European Commission (EC), making this is a cross-EC platform from the outset.
All knowledge in one single database, using a global taxonomy, so you need no longer search multiple sites to find the knowledge you need
While all Knowledge and Competence Centres are listed on the Home Page, some are present only in a minimal fashion, with a few examples of their key products and activities in the K4P database, but their content remaining on external sites. Most, however, migrated in full.
Crucially, however, K4P is not an ‘archipelago platform’, with each Knowledge Service a stand-alone knowledge silo. All knowledge is in one single database, using a global taxonomy, so you need no longer search multiple sites to find relevant scientific knowledge for policymaking.
Beyond MVP: constant evolution
While bringing together diverse databases, types of content and even data visualisations is a major knowledge management challenge, it is far from enough.
Even after the Beta phase, we are constantly improving and refining both the way we present knowledge, and the systems that manage it behind the scenes.
Beyond bringing together databases of scientific knowledge, we need to find an architecture, content strategy and feature set to build scientific knowledge into something policymakers can use, and which can bring these two worlds closer together.
we need to find an architecture, content strategy and feature set to build scientific knowledge into something policymakers can use
So, in parallel to building this MVP, we carried out in-depth audience research to discover what our audiences actually want and need - see Evidence-based policymaking: a story emerges from audience research.
As K4P leaves Beta in late 2018, these audience research results are being translated into a development programme, encompassing:
- improvements to the basic MVP, notably in the way we present information
- the creation of the new forms of content, interactive features and services indicated by audience research.
New Knowledge and Competence Centres are also expected to join, along with potentially other knowledge sources and services.
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.
We have and will continue sharing our thoughts via a dedicated Publication on the Medium blogging platform. It 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.