ODI data institutions programme graphic

What is Data Stewardship?

Data stewardship involves collecting, maintaining and sharing data. Organisations that steward data make important decisions about who has access to it, for what purpose, and to whose benefit.

The right kind of access to data is vital in tackling the big challenges we face - from the earlier detection and treatment of disease to reducing pollution in urban spaces. However, data and related technologies can also cause harm, including through automating decisions that need a human touch, or embedding existing biases and inequalities.

How data is stewarded ultimately affects what types of products, services and insights it can be used to create, what decisions it can inform and which activities it can support. Responsible data stewardship can take different forms and we think of organisations that do this as data institutions - organisations that steward data on behalf of others for public, charitable or educational purposes.

We can help you:

  • help organisations bring about new and improved ways of collecting, maintaining and sharing data responsibly.
  • This may be through protecting sensitive data and granting access, combining data from multiple sources, or acting as gatekeepers for data held by other organisations.

Our consultancy services include:

  • Design, set up and run trustworthy data governance processes
  • Design technical infrastructure, advise on ethical business models, and provide back-end services
  • Advise on the policy landscape