Editorial Board Member of Data & Policy (Cambridge University Press)

Since June 2022, I am an Editorial Board Member of the Cambridge University Journal Data & Policy. Data & Policy is a peer-reviewed, open access venue dedicated to the potential of data science to address important policy challenges. For more information about the goal and vision of the journal, read the Editorial Data & Policy: A new venue to study and explore policy–data interaction by Stefaan G. Verhulst, Zeynep Engin, and Jon Crowcroft. More precisely, I act as an Area Editor of “Focus on Data-driven Transformations in Policy and Governance” area (with a proud short name “Area 1“). This Area 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 include, but are not limited to:

  • Data-driven innovation in public, private and voluntary sector governance and policy-making at all levels (international; national and local): applications for real-time management, future planning, and rethinking/reframing governance and policy-making in the digital era;
  • Data and evidence-based policy-making;
  • Government-private sector-citizen interactions: data and digital power dynamics, asymmetry of information; democracy, public opinion and deliberation; citizen services;
  • Interactions between human, institutional and algorithmic decision-making processes, psychology and behaviour of decision-making;
  • Global policy-making: global existential debates on utilizing data-driven innovation with impact beyond individual institutions and states;
  • Socio-technical and cyber-physical systems, and their policy and governance implications.

The remaining areas represent more specifically the current applications, methodologies, strategies which underpin the broad aims of Data & Policy‘s vision: Area 2 “Data Technologies and Analytics for Policy and Governance“, Area 3 “Policy Frameworks, Governance and Management of Data-driven Innovations“, Area 4 “Ethics, Equity and Trust in Policy Data Interactions“, Area 5 “Algorithmic Governance“, Area 6 “Data to Tackle Global Issues and Dynamic Societal Threats“.

For the types of submission we are interested in, they are four:

  • Research articles that use rigorous methods that investigate how data science can inform or impact policy by, for example, improving situation analysis, predictions, public service design, and/or the legitimacy and/or effectiveness of policy making. Published research articles are typically reviewed by three peer reviewers: two assessing the academic or methodological rigour of the paper; and one providing an interdisciplinary or policy-specific perspective. (Approx 8,000 words in length).
  • Commentaries are shorter articles that discuss and/or problematize an issue relevant to the Data & Policy scope. Commentaries are typically reviewed by two peer reviewers. (Approx 4,000 words in length).
  • Translational articles are focused on the transfer of knowledge from research to practice and from practice to research. See our guide to writing translational papers. (Approx 6,000 words in length).
  • Replication studies examine previously published research, whether in Data & Policy or elsewhere, and report on an attempt to replicate findings.

Read more about Data & Policy and consider submitting your contribution!

Moreover, as a part of this journal, we (Data & Policy community) organize a hybrid physical-virtual format, with one-day, in-person conferences held in three regions: Asia (Hong Kong), America (Seattle) and Europe (Brussels). “Data for Policy: Ecosystems of innovation and virtual-physical interactions” conference I sincerely recommend you to consider and preferably to attend! While this is already the seventh edition of the conference, I take part in its organization for the first year, thus am especially excited and interested in its success!

In addition to its six established Standard Tracks, and reflecting its three-regions model this year, the Data for Policy 2022 conference highlights “Ecosystems of innovation and virtual-physical interactions” as its theme. Distinct geopolitical and virtual-physical ecosystems are emerging as everyday operations and important socio-economic decisions are increasingly outsourced to digital systems. For example, the US’s open market approach empowering multinational digital corporations contrasts with greater central government control in the Chinese digital ecosystem, and radically differs from Europe’s priority on individual rights, personal privacy and digital sovereignty. Other localised ecosystems are emerging around national priorities: India focuses on the domestic economy, and Russia prioritises public and national security. The Global South remains underrepresented in the global debate. The developmental trajectory for the different ecosystems will shape future governance models, democratic values, and the provision of citizen services. In an envisioned ‘metaverse’ future, boundaries between physical and virtual spaces will become even more blurred, further underlining the need to scrutinise and challenge the various systems of governance.

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. Data for Policy is a non-profit initiative, registered as a community interest company in the UK, supported by sustainer partners Cambridge University Press, the Alan Turing Institute and the Office for National Statistics.

Read more about Data for Policy and become a part of it!

Research and Innovation Forum 2022: panel organizer, speaker, PC member, moderator and Best panel moderator award

As I wrote earlier, this year I was invited to organize my own panel session within the Research and Innovation Forum (Rii Forum). This invitation was a follow-up on several articles that I have recently published (article#1, article#2, article#3) and a Chapter to be published in “Big data & decision-making: how big data is relevant across fields and domains” (Emerald Studies in Politics and Technology) I was developing at that time. I was glad to accept this invitation, but I did not even think about how many roles I will act in Rii Forum and how many emotions I will experience. So, how was it?

First, what was my panel about? It was dedicated to data security entitled “Security of data storage facilities: is your database sufficiently protected?” being a part of the track called “ICT, safety, and security in the digital age: bringing the human factor back into the analysis“.

My own talk was titled “Data security as a top priority in the digital world: preserve data value by being proactive and thinking security first“, which makes it to be a part of the panel described above. In this talk I elaborated on the main idea of the panel, referring to an a study I recently conducted. In short, today, in the age of information and Industry 4.0, billions of data sources, including but not limited to interconnected devices (sensors, monitoring devices) forming Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) and the Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem, continuously generate, collect, process, and exchange data. With the rapid increase in the number of devices and information systems in use, the amount of data is increasing. Moreover, due to the digitization and variety of data being continuously produced and processed with a reference to Big Data, their value, is also growing. As a result, the risk of security breaches and data leaks. The value of data, however, is dependent on several factors, where data quality and data security that can affect the data quality if the data are accessed and corrupted, are the most vital. Data serve as the basis for decision-making, input for models, forecasts, simulations etc., which can be of high strategical and commercial / business value. This has become even more relevant in terms of COVID-19 pandemic, when in addition to affecting the health, lives, and lifestyle of billions of citizens globally, making it even more digitized, it has had a significant impact on business. This is especially the case because of challenges companies have faced in maintaining business continuity in this so-called “new normal”. However, in addition to those cybersecurity threats that are caused by changes directly related to the pandemic and its consequences, many previously known threats have become even more desirable targets for intruders, hackers. Every year millions of personal records become available online. Moreover, the popularity of IoTSE decreased a level of complexity of searching for connected devices on the internet and easy access even for novices due to the widespread popularity of step-by-step guides on how to use IoT search engine to find and gain access if insufficiently protected to webcams, routers, databases and other artifacts. A recent research demonstrated that weak data and database protection in particular is one of the key security threats. Various measures can be taken to address the issue. The aim of the study to which this presentation refers is to examine whether “traditional” vulnerability registries provide a sufficiently comprehensive view of DBMS security, or whether they should be intensively and dynamically inspected by DBMS holders by referring to Internet of Things Search Engines moving towards a sustainable and resilient digitized environment. The study brings attention to this problem and make you think about data security before looking for and introducing more advanced security and protection mechanisms, which, in the absence of the above, may bring no value.

Other presentations delivered during this session were “Information Security Risk Awareness Survey of non-governmental Organization in Saudi Arabia”, “Fake news and threats to IoT – the crucial aspects of cyberspace in the times of cyber war” and “Minecraft as a Tool to Enhance Engagement in Higher Education” – both were incredibly interesting, and all three talks were delivered by females, where only the moderator of the session was a male researcher, which he found to be very specific, given the topic and ICT orientation – not a very typical case 🙂 But, nevertheless, we managed to have a great session and a very lively and fruitful discussion, mostly around GDPR-related questions, which seems to be one of the hottest areas of discussion for people representing different ICT “subbranches”. The main question that we discussed was – is the GDPR more a supportive tool and a “great thing” or rather a “headache” that sometimes even interferes with development.

In addition, shortly before the start of the event, I was asked to become a moderator of the panel “Business in the era of pervasive digitalization“. Although, as you may know, this is not exactly in line with my area of expertise, it is in line with what I am interested in. This is not surprising, since both management, business, the economics are very closely connected and dependent on ICT. Moreover, they affect ICT, thereby pointing out the critical areas that we as IT-people need to refer to. All in all, we had a great session with excellent talks and lively discussion at the end of the session, where we discussed different session-related topics, shared our experience, thoughts etc. Although it was a brilliant experience, there is one thing that made it even better… A day later, a ceremony was held where the best contributions of the forum were announced and I was named the best panel moderator as a recognition of “the academic merit, quality of moderation, scheduling, and discussion held during the panel”!!!

These were wonderful three days of the forum with very positive emotions and so many roles – panel organizer, speaker / presenter, program committee member and panel moderator with the cherry on the cake and such a great end of the event. Thank you Research and Innovation Forum!!! Even being at home and participating online, you managed to give us an absolute amazing experience and even the feeling that we were all together in Athens!

The International Day of Women and girls in Science and my new role – Keynote Speaker for the international Innovation and Smart Government (ISGov) conference

And today, celebrating the International Day of Women and Girls in Science dedicated to celebration of both science and gender equality (as part of United Nations Transforming our World: 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development), I would like to share the information about very special event, in which I am invited to take a part – this time the role of mine is to be a keynote speaker for the international Innovation and Smart Government (ISGov) conference!!!

In case you are interested in topics related to public innovation, smart government, public governance, open government data, and changes in government organizations, I believe that this event, in which I will act as a keynote, could be of interest for you.

This conference aims to discuss cutting-edge solutions for the technology in government implementations. Propose alternatives and solutions for practical governmental problems and advance research in emergent trends. This conference seeks for contributions representing 4 different tracks:

  • TRACK 1. Smart Government and Public Innovation focused on research for public innovation and smart government in this challenging times. This track seeks research on new frameworks, ideas and evaluation of e-government services. Topics include but are not limited to: One-stop government – service integration, Digital Transformation of public administration, Governance for Smart Government, Framework for smart government, Frameworks and model of IT adoption for the smart government, Framework for governance and management the e government, Smart government public policies, Evaluation of e-government services, Adoption and implementation of AI in public organizations, Impacts on public governance, e-Government;
  • TRACK 2. Artificial Intelligence in Government  focused on discussing AI applications, experiences, and unintended consequences, drawing on a variety of methodologies, techniques, applications, theoretical frameworks, and empirical cases, in order to capture the unique phenomena triggered by the increasing adoption of AI. Topics include but are not limited to: Governance of AI, Trust in AI, AI Ethics, Applications or cases of AI use, AI-based public policy and public policies for AI, Machine learning techniques useful for government efficiency, AI frameworks for government;
  • TRACK 3. Open Government Innovations and challenges focused on research about open government and related topics, such as government transparency, citizen participation, accountability, open data, among others. This track seeks to concentrate and disseminate research work on new case studies, theoretical frameworks, and evaluation of institutional openness policies. 
  • TRACK 4. New digital technologies in public services focused on the investigation of the improvement of public services through new digital technologies. The investigations can be frameworks, applications, case studies, methodologies and empirical cases that allow knowing the impact of these technologies on public services. Topics include but are not limited to: Internet of Things in public services, Social and Mobile Media for Public Administration, Web-mobile ethics, Virtual Communities, Mobile technology in public services, Digital culture, Digital surveillance, tracking, and monitoring, Digital divide, AI-based technologies, Big data in Public Services, Wireless Technology in public services.

Two keynote speeches will be delivered during this event, delivered by J. Ramon Gil-Garcia and me. As regards Dr. J. Ramon Gil-Garcia, he is an Associate Professor of Public Administration and Policy and the  Director of the Center for Technology in Government, University at Albany, State University of New York (SUNY). He is considered the most prolific author in  the  field of digital government research worldwide and in 2013 he was selected for the Research Award, which is “the highest distinction given annually by the Mexican Academy of Sciences to outstanding young researchers.” More recently, Dr. Gil-Garcia was named “One of the World’s 100 Most Influential People in Digital Government” in 2018 and 2019 by Apolitical. Dr. Gil-Garcia is the author or co-author of articles in prestigious international journals in Public Administration, Information Systems, and Digital Government and some of his publications are among the most cited in the field of digital government research worldwide. His research interests include collaborative electronic government, inter-organizational information integration, smart cities and smart governments, adoption and implementation of emergent technologies, digital divide policies, and multi-method research approaches. This makes my participation as the second keynote to be even more pleasant for me as for relatively young researcher.

At this moment, the topics of our speeches are not very well known, since we both work actively on our ongoing studies and perhaps will be ready to present some the most recent results, but, hopefully, despite the final decision on the topic to be covered (within the general scope of the conference, of course) they will be of interest for the audience and will result in a lively and fruitful discussion!

And Happy International Day of Women and Girls in Science! 👩‍🎓💻