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Data & Society Interface

The increasing digitisation of all aspects of human life has led to an avalanche of data that is collected, stored and processed. Most of this data is stored in data silos of public institutions and private businesses. Analysing this data would certainly promote a better understanding of society and help tackle some of the world’s most pressing societal challenges. This has sparked a widespread calling for “open data”.

Unfortunately, such “data sharing” – in the commonly implied strict sense – is faced with a plethora of hindering factors: the need to protect business or trade secrets, legal or contractual obligations, concerns over the competitive impact of sharing data, ethical considerations, and several more. These are all valid reasons not to make certain data freely accessible to any interested party.

The Data & Society Interface therefore aims to think beyond and go beyond the widespread calling for “open data”. How can we make data from private and public organizations usable for scientific purposes and for the general good of the society, and still take legal, ethical, economic or organizational challenges and legitimate interest of all stakeholders into account? How can we identify, develop and test solutions – both technical and non-technical, as proof of concept, demonstrator or prototypical implementation – which facilitate interfaces on the organizational level? How can we overcome the lack of “interfacing experience” in terms of the actual practices in organizations, and identify and develop best practices of cooperation and implementation? And how can we then generalize these solutions to draw more generic, foundational insights how to accomplish good scientific data use in a data-rich society?

Contact

Jörg Pohle, Dr.

Head of Research Programme: Actors, Data and Infrastructures