At the end of June the British Academy and the Royal Society issued a report calling for the urgent creation of a data governance body to provide stewardship and oversight in respect of the increasing complexity of data use.

The report suggests three key functions to ensure successful data governance namely:

  • Anticipate, monitor and evaluate: consider alternative futures, managing risks, keeping pace with changes, reflecting on performance;
  • Build practices and set standards: enabling and continuously improving well founded practices that can be spread quickly across relevant sectors and uses;
  • Clarity, enforce and remedy: ensuring sufficient arrangements for evidence gathering, debate and decision making, and for action in the forms of incentives, permissions, remedies for harm, incentives and penalties.

Whilst the report does not make specific recommendations about the location, funding or status of the new stewardship body for data governance, it does suggest that the body must be independent, deeply connected to diverse communities, have expertise across and beyond key disciplines, be tightly coupled to decision processes, be durable and visible and be nationally focused but globally relevant.