Data management and use: seminar report

by Co-chairs: Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser DBE FRS and Professor Genevra Richardson CBE FBA

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As data collection activities continue to increase in speed, scale and variety, and the analytic techniques used to process these datasets become more sophisticated, individuals and communities are affected in new and unexpected ways. The Royal Society and British Academy’s report Data management and use: Governance in the 21st Century addressed this changing data landscape and recommended a principled approach to data governance, and called for stewardship of the entire data governance landscape.

The Academies hosted a seminar to explore the priorities across sectors for such a stewardship body. The discussions at the seminar are summarised in this paper, and set out a set of governance needs, practical challenges and conceptual concerns that any such body could take on. After the seminar, the Government announced in its budget statement on 22 November 2017 the creation of a new Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation to enable and ensure safe, ethical and ground-breaking innovation in AI and data-driven technologies. The Nuffield Foundation worked closely with a number of organisations, including the Alan Turing Institute, Royal Society, British Academy, Royal Statistical Society, Omidyar Network, TechUK and the Wellcome Trust, on plans to establish an independent Convention to tackle the ethical and social issues arising from data use, artificial intelligence and associated technologies.

This report summarises discussion at a seminar at which the British Academy and the Royal Society hosted a discussion about the priorities for data governance, aiming to inform the important deliberations about the foundation of the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation.

The report also includes short papers exploring the concepts discussed at the seminar by a range of stakeholders.

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