Data for Policy 2021 2

Data for Policy 2021

The sixth International Data for Policy Conference will take place in London on September 14-16, 2021.

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.

All conference contributions will be considered for peer-reviewed publication in Data & Policy, a Data for Policy – Cambridge University Press collaboration supported by the Alan Turing Institute, Office for National Statistics and UCL.


International Organisation Committee:

Leigh Anderson – University of Washington
Emanuele Baldacci – European Commission
Jon Crowcroft – University of Cambridge, Alan Turing Institute
Zeynep Engin – University College London
Innar Liiv – Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia
Christoph Luetge – Institute of Ethics and AI, ITM, Munchen
H. Scott Matthews – Carnegie Mellon University
Barbara Ubaldi – OECD, Paris
StefaanVerhulst – New York University
Masaru Yarime – Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Advisory Committee:

Jean Bacon – University of Cambridge
Kenneth Benoit – London School of Economics and Political Science
Anil Bharath – Imperial College London
Gabrielle Demange – Paris School of Economics
Anthony Finkelstein – UK Government Office for Science
Rayid Ghani – Carnegie Mellon University
David Hand – Winton Capital Management; Imperial College
Helen Margetts – University of Oxford; The Alan Turing Institute
Beth Noveck – New York University
Alan Penn – University College London
Rob Procter – University of Warwick; The Alan Turing Institute
Peter Smith – University of Southampton
Tom Smith – Office for National Statistics, UK
John Shawe-Taylor – University College London
John Taysom – Privitar
Philip Treleaven– University College London
Dame Alison Wolf – King’s College London
Derek Wyatt – Royal Trinity Hospice; All Party Parliamentary Group on Data Analytics
Milan Vojnovic– London School of Economics and Political Science

Programme Committee:

David Bounie – Telecom ParisTech
Daniel Castro – Centre for Data Innovation
Suleyman Demirsoy – Intel
Jasmine Grimsley – Office for National Statistics, UK
Jose Manuel Magallanes – University of Washington; Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru
Eric T. Meyer – The University of Texas at Austin, University of Oxford
Slava Mikhaylov – Hertie School of Governance, Berlin
Suzy Moat – University of Warwick; The Alan Turing Institute
Mirco Musolesi – University College London; The Alan Turing Institute
Florian Ostmann – The Alan Turing Institute
Martijn Poel – Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the Netherlands
Tobias Preis – University of Warwick; The Alan Turing Institute
Harald Stieber – European Commission
Jatinder Singh – University of Cambridge
Akin Unver – Kadir Has University
Michael Veale – University College London
Andrew Young – New York University
Louisa Zanoun – UK Science and Innovation Network

Data & Policy Journal Manager: 

Andrew Hyde – Cambridge University Press

Data & Data for Policy Community Manager: 

Emily Gardner – University College London

Conference Timeline:


Deadline for Special Track proposals 10 December 2020
Call for Papers – announcement 12 January 2021 (provisional)
Extended abstract and full paper submission deadline 25 March 2021 (provisional)
Notification of acceptance with reviewer comments and invitation to submit revised versions for those accepted 11 June 2021 (provisional)
Registration deadline for presenters 23 July 2021 (provisional)
Submission of revised paper for a second round of review for journal (compulsory) – along with submitting any pre-conference material upload on Zenodo; submission of video (if relevant) (optional) 20 August 2021 (provisional)
Public registration deadline 20 August 2021
Conference 14-16 September 2021
Decision on publication of revised paper, and invitation to submit to Data & Policy if accepted, or invitation to second revision Post-Conference


Call for Papers General Information

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. Its associated journal, Data & Policy, published by Cambridge University Press has quickly established itself as a major venue for publishing research in the field of data-policy interactions. Both the conference and the journal receive valuable support from their sustainer partnersthe Alan Turing Institute, the Office for National Statistics and UCL. 

Convening for the sixth time in September 2021, the International Organisation Committee for the conference invites Paper and Panel Session proposals at the conference to be also considered for potential post-conference publications in Data & Policy (subject to peer-review). There are six broad, interdisciplinary, cross-sectoral areas of interest, which form the standard tracks of the conference. Following the momentous events of 2020, the International Committee and organisers wish to recognise the additional focus on data throughout the whole of society as a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the opportunities this creates for learning about and developing data and policy interactions. This focus should not be seen as limiting, and we welcome submissions across domains, sectors and applications. In addition to the standard tracks, eight Special Tracks have also been shortlisted this year.

The standard tracks of the conference are as follows:

  • Data-driven Transformations in Governance & Policy – this standard track focuses on the high-level vision for philosophy, ideation, formulation and implementation of new approaches leading to paradigm shifts, innovation and efficiency gains in collective decision-making processes. Topics may include:
    • From data to decisions: scientific innovation in knowledge generation processes, data-driven insights, evidence-based policy making;
    • Applications in public, private and voluntary sector governance and policy-making (local, national, international)
    • Real-time management, future planning, and rethinking/reframing of governance and policy-making in the digital era;
    • Government-private sector-citizen interactions: data and digital power dynamics, asymmetry of information;
    • Democracy, public opinion and involvement, citizen services, media and digital platforms;
    • Interactions between human, institutional and algorithmic decision-making processes; psychology and behaviour of decision-making;
    • Socio-technical and cyber-physical systems, and their policy and governance implications.

The remaining categories represent more specifically the current applications, methodologies, strategies which underpin the broad aims of Data for Policy’s vision:

  • Data Technologies & Analytics for Policy & Governance
    • Data sources: Personal, proprietary & administrative data, official statistics, open & public data;
    • Technologies: GovTech/RegTech, AI, blockchain, IoT, cloud, platforms, visualisation & user interaction;
    • Methodologies & Analytics: Theory & data-driven models, statistics, computational social science,
    • Machine Learning, edge analytics, mixed methods, real-time & historical data processing, geospatial analysis, gaps in theory & practice.
  • Policy Frameworks, Governance and Management of Data-driven Innovations – this track focusses on governance practices and management issues involved in implementation of data-driven solutions:
    • Data collection, storage and circulation;
    • Data and algorithm design, value assessment;
    • Data supply chains, ownership, provenance, sharing, linkage, curation, and expiration;
    • Assignment of accountability;
    • Governance models and frameworks;
    • Data literacy, translation, communication;
    • Data intermediaries, trusts, collaboratives;
    • Data and algorithms in the law, regulation;
    • Meta-data, standards and interoperability.
  • Ethics, Equity and Trust in Policy Data Interactions – this track examines the issues which must be considered in technology design and assessment.
    • Digital Ethics: Data, algorithms and interaction models;
    • Privacy, data sharing and consent;
    • Digital identification and services;
    • Uncertainties, bias, imperfections in data and data-driven systems;
    • Algorithmic behaviour: equity and fairness, transparency , explainability, accountability, interpretability and reliability;
    • Human control, rights, democratic values and self-determination;
    • Responsibility and maliciousness.

The following are areas which fall within the above categories, but are highlighted as being of special interest:

  • Algorithmic Governance:
    • Algorithm agency along with human and institutional decision-making processes; black-box processing, data-driven insights;
    • Governance automation: citizen service delivery, supporting civil servants, managing national public records and physical infrastructure, statutes and compliance,  public policy development;
    • Good governance with/by/of algorithms: participation, consensus orientation, accountability, transparency, responsiveness, effectiveness and efficiency, equity and inclusiveness, the rule of law.
  • Data to Tackle Global Issues and Dynamic Societal Threats:
    • Human existence and the planet;
    • International collaboration for global risk management and disaster recovery;
    • Global health, emergency response, Covid-19 and pandemics;
    • Sustainable development, climate change and the environment;
    • Humanitarian data science and international migration;
    • Racial justice and gender-based issues;
    • International security, organised crime and hostile environments.

The Special tracks for the conference are as follows:

  1. ‘Showcasing innovative data services from EU Member States – Paving the way towards transparent documentation’ Track Chairs: Seth van Hooland, Emanuele Baldacci, Blanca Martinez De Aragon and Joao Rodrigues Frade
  2. ‘Governance of the digital transformation of health systems’ Track Chairs: Tugce Schmitt and Mujaheed Shaikh
  3. ‘Arguments, algorithms and tools: what do we need to shape policy and confront misinformation post-pandemic?’ Track Chairs: Jaron Porciello, Ulrike Hahn and Stephan Lewandowsky
  4. ‘Ethical Technology Adoption in Public Administration Services’ Track Chairs: Francesco Mureddu, Giovanna Galasso and Francesco Paolo Schiavo
  5. ‘AI and public decision-making processes’ Track Chairs: Sarah Giest, Bram Klievink and Alex Ingrams
  6. ‘Rethinking the open data movement through an intersectional feminist lens’ Track Chairs: Anjali Mehta, Gülsen Güler and Amanda Greene
  7. ‘Facilitating Data-Driven Innovation for Sustainability: Policy Frameworks and Measures for Data Governance’ Track Chairs: Masaru Yarime
  8. ‘Towards a data-driven economy: Data Mexico’ Track Chairs: Luis Godoy, Ana Cruz and Fiorentina Garcia

Submissions will be accepted in the following categories:

  1. Individual Research/Policy/Practitioner Proposals to Standard or Special Tracks in the form of i) full research papers or ii) extended abstracts
  2. Session Proposals

Individual Research/Policy/Practitioner Proposals to Standard or Special Tracks: Full research papers

For the benefit of those authors who wish to submit their paper for consideration in the open-access Data & Policy Journal published by Cambridge University Press, we are integrating the review process for the Conference into that of the Journal; it is intended that the reviews performed for the Conference will be considered as part of the Journal’s peer review procedure, leading to faster decisions in the Journal and the potential of publication ahead of the Conference. Authors interested in taking advantage of this integrated process can submit a full paper through the Conference’s EasyChair system by the deadline of 25 March 2021.

In order to submit a full paper, authors can use the LaTeX and Word templates available via the Data & Policy Instructions for Authors

Please consider the following points, which are described in more detail in the instructions that are linked to above:

Data & Policy has two main categories: Research Articles (presenting novel findings; approx 8,000 words inclusive of references) and Commentaries (an overview of existing knowledge about an issue; approx 4,000 words). In your article, please include a heading that indicates into which category your article falls;

The Journal also requires authors to provide a policy significance statement, a competing interest statement, a funding statement and a data availability statement in their article;

The Journal encourages authors to make replication data and materials openly available and to link to these in the data availability statement in their article;

Authors should watermark or otherwise indicate in the full paper that it is ‘under review’.

The review process is likely to include multiple iterations that extend beyond the timeline of the conference, and publication is subject to reviewer comments being reflected in the final paper.

Note that Conference acceptance does not guarantee publication in Data & Policy.

Individual Research/Policy/Practitioner Proposals to Standard or Special Tracks: Extended abstract

The process is essentially unchanged from the 2020 conference. This should be 1,000 words maximum, including a title, research/policy question, research methodology and data used, and key findings. Authors who decide to just submit an extended abstract – in order to present at the Conference – will still have the option of submitting to the Journal at a later date if they wish to do so, but will not benefit from the integrated review procedure.

Note also that some Special Track Chairs are intending to guest-edit thematic collections of articles in Data & Policy, so you may be separately contacted by the Chair about the potential of submitting to the Journal.

Session Proposals

Session proposals should comprise a combination of 3-4 presentations from researchers and/or practitioners, each of whom must provide an abstract (1,000 words maximum). A description of the panel should also be submitted (500 words maximum).

Review and Assessment

Full papers will be subject to the usual peer review process for Data & Policy

Extended abstract and session proposal submissions will be assessed according to following criteria:

  • Potential contribution to the debates in the field
  • Potential for stimulating debate in the Conference
  • Freshness of the content, novelty and originality
  • Formulation of the research/policy question
  • Data and methodology
  • Quality of writing and presentation

Post-acceptance of submission for conference presentation (preliminary information)

Extended abstract submissions: authors will be invite to submit a discussion paper to the Data for Policy community profile on the Zenodo platform. Other materials that they wish to share can be included – such as their presentation slides, or any related data sets. Any material submitted to Zenodo is citable, so it can be referenced in any future publications.

Full paper authors will also be encouraged to make their paper and other relevant material available before the conference, using the Data for Policy community on Zenodo.

Further details on how to submit will be provided nearer the time.

Authors may be required to prepare video presentations in advance of the conference. Further details will be provided nearer the time, if appropriate.


Submissions should be made via EasyChair, or via the SUBMIT NOW button below.

Authors are invited to enter their name(s), title and abstract, and keywords. A number of ‘Submission Categories’ are then presented, from which authors can choose the relevant option. Please convert your article to PDF to submit to Conference’s Easy Chair System (see How to Submit); if accepted into the Journal we will ask for the source files.

Submissions are now closed

Instructions for Special Track submissions:

Those interested in organising a Special Track at the Data for Policy 2021 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 10/12/2020. Following review, we will inform Special Track leads and feature successful proposals in the main call for papers for the conference.

Special Track Process

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 that will ask interested authors to submit extended abstracts;
  • Review the extended abstracts relevant to their Special Tracks for final decision by the International Organisation Committee, who will notify those accepted to present at the conference;
  • Organise the programme for their Special Track at the conference, in conjunction with the conference organisers – which will, for example, involve the grouping of submissions into panels, and organising panel chairs;
  • Report on the success of the track in the form of a Data & Policy blog, and communicate issues or improvements to the organisers after the conference;
  • 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 establishment of Data & Policy, we invite Special Track Chairs to 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 after September 2021 and continuing through 2022. 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, the Data for Policy Community Manager and the journal’s publisher, Cambridge University Press.



The Data for Policy 2021 Conference will be hosted by University College London.

University College London
Wilkins Building
Gower St, Bloomsbury,
London WC1E 6BT

UCL is London’s leading multidisciplinary university. Founded in 1826 in the heart of London, UCL was the first university in England to welcome students of any religion and the first to welcome women on equal terms with men.

UCL operates in a global context and is committed to excellence, innovation and the
promotion of global understanding in all of its activities: research, teaching, learning, enterprise and community engagement. Its distinctive approach seeks to inspire its community of staff, students and partners to transform how the world is understood, how knowledge is created and shared and the way that global problems are solved.


UCL is located in the Bloomsbury district at the very centre of London.

Bus: UCL’s Gower Street site is served by many Transport for London bus routes. Buses travelling from north to south stop in Gower Street, immediately outside UCL’s main gate, while those travelling from south to north stop outside Warren Street station, about five minutes’ walk from UCL. Services to these stops include route numbers: 10, 14, 24, 29, 73, 134, 390

London Underground: The closest tube stations to UCL’s Gower Street site are Euston Square (Hammersmith and City, Metropolitan and Circle lines), Warren Street (Northern and Victoria lines), Euston (Northern and Victoria lines) and Russell Square (Piccadilly line)

Rail Overground: London has many mainline rail stations. Most of these are a short journey away from UCL, with the stations at Euston, King’s Cross and St Pancras being within easy walking distance. Trains from London serve destinations across the UK.


Delegates are responsible for securing their own accommodation whilst in London. There are numerous hotels and other accommodation options within walking distance of the Conference Centre.


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

Conference Registration
Follow Us

Newsletter Subscription