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Data Responsibility

LAUNCH: New Interactive Tool to Enable Trusted Data Collaboration in Society

Public Beta of the Data Responsibility Journey Mapping Tool

Posted on 12th of May 2021 by Andrew Young

LAUNCH: New Interactive Tool to Enable Trusted Data Collaboration in Society
LAUNCH: New Interactive Tool to Enable Trusted Data Collaboration in Society

Data Collaboratives, the purpose-driven reuse of data in the public interest, have demonstrated their ability to unlock the societal value of siloed data and create real-world impacts. Data collaboration has been key in generating new insights and action in areas like public health, education, crisis response, and economic development, to name a few. Designing and deploying a data collaborative, however, is a complex undertaking, subject to risks of misuse of data as well as missed use of data that could have provided public value if used effectively and responsibly.

Today, The GovLab is launching the public beta of a new tool intended to help Data Stewards — responsible data leaders across sectors — and other decision-makers assess and mitigate risks across the life cycle of a data collaborative. The Data Responsibility Journey is an assessment tool for Data Stewards to identify and mitigate risks, establish trust, and maximize the value of their work. Informed by GovLab’s long standing research and practice in the field, and myriad consultations with data responsibility experts across regions and contexts, the tool aims to support decision-making in public agencies, civil society organizations, large businesses, small businesses, and humanitarian and development organizations, in particular.  

The Data Responsibility Journey guides users through important questions and considerations across the lifecycle of data stewardship and collaboration: Planning, Collecting, Processing, Sharing, Analyzing, and Using. For each stage, users are asked to consider whether important data responsibility issues have been taken into account as part of their implementation strategy. When users flag an issue as in need of more attention, it is automatically added to a customized data responsibility strategy report providing actionable recommendations, relevant tools and resources, and key internal and external stakeholders that could be engaged to help operationalize these data responsibility actions. 


To be sure, responsible data collaboration is a complex undertaking, so the Journey features a significant number of questions and considerations. We encourage users to involve relevant team members in the use of the tool, as the tasks and objectives it describes are beyond the responsibility of any one individual. We also recognize that important risks or considerations may have been excluded from the beta version of the Data Responsibility Journey. If you notice a risk or responsible data consideration that is missing from the beta version, please contact [email protected] with your suggested additions or revisions.

Collaborate with Us on your Data Responsibility Journey

The public beta of the Data Responsibility Journey aims to provide a comprehensive overview of questions and considerations for responsible data collaboration. The GovLab is now seeking institutional partners interested in designing and implementing a more customized and targeted iteration of the tool to support responsible data handling in their specific context. If you are interested in exploring partnership, please contact [email protected].

The GovLab would like to acknowledge and thank the many contributors to the development of the Data Responsibility Journey, including especially Eve Marenghi, formerly of the GovLab, Lisa Talia Moretti and colleagues who provided essential substantive insight and feedback, and the participants in a series of interdisciplinary user-testing and co-design workshops help during the spring of 2021. 

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