Data for Policy 2020: Call for Special Track proposals

Call for conference Special Track proposals leading to Special Collections in Data & Policy – Deadline: February 11, 2020

5th International Conference
Data for Policy 2020

UCL, London, UK
Main conference: September 15-16, 2020
Pre-conference workshops: September 14, 2020  | @dataforpolicy | | @data_and_policy

The Data for Policy conference series is the premier global forum for multiple disciplinary and cross-sector discussions around the theories, applications and implications of data science innovation in governance and the public sector. The conference series has also entered into a new open-access peer-reviewed journal venture, Data & Policy (, published by Cambridge University Press and supported by the Alan Turing Institute, the Office for National Statistics and UCL, in order to capture, assess and disseminate scholarly discussions in this fast-growing field.

Convening for the fifth time in September 2020, the International Organisation Committee for the conference invites Special Track proposals at the conference, leading to the peer-review and potential publication of a Special Collection of articles in Data & Policy after the conference.

Topics covered include but are not limited to the following:

  • Data, Governance and Policy: Digital era citizenship, governance and democracy; data and sustainability, data and politics, evidence and information, data-algorithm-policy interactions, public-private sector collaborations, best practices;
  • Governance Technologies (GovTech): Machine Learning (ML) / Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data, Blockchain Distributed Ledger and Smart Contract Technologies, Behavioural and Predictive Analytics, Internet of Things, Information Security, location-based technologies, user-interaction technologies (chatbots, platforms etc.), and other relevant technologies;
  • Systems & Infrastructure: Data collection, capture, storage, sharing/transactions, processing and visualization systems, mobile applications and web services, high performance computing, distributed and decentralized systems, and other relevant topics;
  • Data Processing & Knowledge Generation: Data representation and pre-processing, data integration, real-time and historical data analysis, mathematical and statistical models, ‘data-driven’ analysis, mixed methodologies, secondary data analysis, web mining, Randomised Controlled Trials (RCTs), gaps in theory and practice, other relevant topics;
  • Policy for Data & Management: Data governance and regulatory frameworks; General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR); data ownership, curation, sharing and linkage; meta-data, standards and interoperability, responsible innovation in governance;
  • Trust, Privacy, Ethics & Law: Personal data sharing, data integrity, algorithm agency and accountability, ‘trustworthiness’ of autonomous systems, algorithmic transparency and interpretability, citizen-government-private sector interactions, citizen/public rights and free speech, other social/ethical concerns and technology responses.

Instructions for Special Track submissions: 
Those interested in organising a Special Track at the Data for Policy 2020 Conference should send a brief description (up to 1000 words) through the conference submission system. If the Special Track is proposed by a group, one person should be identified as the Chair to coordinate with the Data for Policy Team in submissions and the review process.

The Special Track descriptions should cover the following information:

  • The title of the proposed Special Track;
  • An overview of the motivation and topics to be covered;
  • How the collection fits within the scope of the conference themes;
  • Your plans to circulate your Special Track announcement to reach relevant communities and networks;
  • Whether you are interested in editing a Special Collection in Data & Policy, deriving from the Special Track, which will involve guiding submitted articles through the journal’s peer review process, supported by the Data & Policy editorial team and publisher.

The deadline for Special Track Proposals is 11 February 2020

Following review, Special Track leads will be informed and successful proposals will be featured in the main call for papers for the conference.

Special Track assessment process: 
The timeline for the Data for Policy 2020 Conference, including assessment of the Special Track proposals, the Call for Papers and assessment of those papers, is provided at the end of this announcement.

If their proposal is accepted, Special Track Chairs will play an active role in the run up to and during the conference. We expect Special Track Chairs to:

  • Circulate an announcement about their Special Track to their networks, following the Call for Papers sent by the Data for Policy conference team on 11 February 2020 that will ask interested authors to submit extended abstracts;
  • Review the extended abstracts relevant to their Special Tracks and make a recommendation to the conference Organisation Committee, who will notify those accepted to present at the conference on 18 May 2020;
  • Organise the programme for their Special Track at the conference, in conjunction with the conference Organisation Committee – which will, for example, involve the grouping of submissions into panels;
  • Observe the presentations and panels related to their Special Track at the conference and briefly report back on its success to the conference Organisation Committee;
  • Make assessments about the potential for publications arising from the Special Track, especially if the Chair wishes to edit a Special Collection in Data & Policy.

Special Collections in Data & Policy: 
Following the launch of Data & Policy at the last Data for Policy conference, we invite Special Track Chairs to also become actively involved in the process of editing a Special Collection in the journal related to their Track.

This does imply additional work beyond the timeline of the conference, so it is not required, but it is something we encourage in the interest of further disseminating scholarly discussion about data science, governance and the public sector.

Those accepted to present at the conference will be given two complementary options for disseminating their paper and related materials. They will be encouraged to use the Data for Policy community platform on Zenodo (, an open repository, in order to make their conference paper and any related materials – such slides, audio, video, datasets and code – available at the time of the conference.

In addition, authors will have the option of submitting their paper to Data & Policy, in order to undergo a peer review process that could potentially lead to formal publication in the journal.

Special Track Chairs wishing to become involved in the editorial process are invited to act as Guest Editors of Special Collections in Data & Policy. This will involve:

  • Short-listing of the Special Track papers to those that form a thematically coherent collection of publications, presenting the key issues;
  • Guiding submitted papers through the journal’s peer review process (inviting reviewers, recommending decisions to the Data & Policy Editors-in-Chief);
  • Writing an editorial to introduce the Special Collection.

Note that the timeline for Special Collections will extend well beyond that of the conference, with submissions and peer review beginning 30 July 2020 and potentially taking place through 2021. All submitted articles will be peer-reviewed independently, and accepted or rejected on their own merits according to the journal’s process.

Data & Policy is a collaborative effort to produce for this community a peer-reviewed and authoritative resource about the potential and implications of data science for governance, and Special Track Chairs interested in editing Special Collections will receive plenty of support from both the Data & Policy editorial team and the journal’s publisher, Cambridge University Press.


For all questions related to Special Tracks at the conference, please contact; and for questions relating to Special Collections in Data & Policy, please contact .

Official conference page: dataforpolicy.or