Using data for social change work offers many opportunities, but it brings challenges, too. The RD community develops practical ways to deal with the unintended consequences of using data in social change work, establishes best practices, and shares approaches between leading thinkers and doers from different sectors. We discuss thorny topics in-person, facilitate online group discussions on the RD mailing list, and share resources on this site.
What we do
The RD community is a place for those who use data in social change and advocacy to develop practical approaches to addressing the ethical, legal, social and privacy-related challenges they face. We identify the unintended consequences of using data in this kind of work, and bring people together to create solutions.
Adopting responsible data practices requires diverse perspectives and technical knowledge. Making responsible data choices takes teamwork. The RD community is vibrant, diverse, and committed to tackling this complexity together. Many of the challenges to practising responsible data are relatively new and complex, without a clear right or wrong answer. To understand what path of action is best, we often need support beyond the organisations we work for, and the RD community is where we find that support. The RD community is a space where people can share questions and ask for assistance through this site, the responsible data mailing list, and in-person events.
Who we are
The responsible data community was first convened by The Engine Room, alongside a number of partners – most notably Aspiration Tech – who helped design and lead the first Responsible Data Forum kick-off event in 2014. Since then, diverse institutions and individuals have pioneered responsible data practice in their own work and within their communities. This decentralised effort has played a huge role in evolving key concepts and practices.
The Engine Room act as responsible data community stewards. This includes maintaining this site and moderating discussions on the mailing list. Various community partners set up responsible data events, organise calls and develop resources. You can find their work outlined below.
We invite anyone whose interests or areas of work overlap with the topics covered here to be a part of the responsible data community. Get involved by posting on the mailing list, writing a guest blog for the site, curating the responsible data newsletter, or sharing resources that you’ve developed in your own work or for your communities.
What is Responsible Data?
RD encompasses a variety of issues which are sometimes thought about separately, like data privacy and data protection, or ethical challenges. We believe that in order for any of them to be truly addressed, they need to be considered together. Organisations can develop responsible data policies to help them proactively think through these issues on an institutional level and can adopt proactive responsible data practices to prioritise the rights of people reflected in the data.