Advancing data justice research and practice

Project status

Ongoing

Introduction

Advancing data justice research and practice is a collaboration between the Global Partnership on AI (GPAI), The Alan Turing Institute, 12 policy pilot partners, and participants and communities across the globe.

Project aims

The objective of this project is to fill a gap in data justice research and practice and provide resources that help policymakers, practitioners, and impacted communities gain a broader understanding of data governance. This includes considerations of equity and data justice informed by affected communities that encompass questions of access to, and visibility and representation in, data used in the development of AI and machine learning (AI/ML) systems. The project aims to provide (a) an assessment of the current state of research in this area and the identification of gaps in order to create a forward-looking research agenda and (b) guides for three target audiences: policymakers, developers, and communities affected by AI/ML systems. The guidance includes practical questions to consider in the practice, use, and experience of AI/ML systems, with particular emphasis on realising the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

Throughout this project, we have engaged with many individuals and civil society organisations through consultations and through an online participatory platform.

The research from this project is a core component of the Global Partnership on AI’s (GPAI) Data Governance Framework.

A collaborative, self-critical approach

Our approach to this research prioritises collaborative co-design. We are very fortunate to have an advisory board composed of individuals involved in various data communities of practice connected to human rights, modern slavery, global public health, and sustainable development, representing diverse perspectives from lower- and middle-income countries and the marginalised contexts of high-income countries. The Advisory Board played an active part in our research, providing guidance on how to not only consider data justice more broadly, but also carry out engagements within a variety of research environments and areas while working to co-design a unique, culturally informed, and international governance framework for responsible AI innovation.

Our research was also informed by contributions made on decidim, a participatory platform employed for this project that enabled open participation from individuals and community organisations across the world during the consultation phases of this research.

We also worked closely with 12 policy pilot partners from around the world who made significant contributions to our research, through their own research reports informed by a series of interviews and workshops, and by providing iterative feedback on our research throughout the project.

As scholars, advocates, and individuals, we are committed to social justice and to revealing the systemic bases of intersectional discrimination in our research practices and life choices. Some members of our team relate to marginalised stakeholders from both a position of kinship and one of solidarity, navigating their own lived experiences and confronting intersectional discrimination. Others reflexively acknowledge their inheritance of legacies of unquestioned privilege along with the limited mindsets that derive therefrom. From such a critical self-acknowledgement of privilege and difference, comes a deep sense of responsibility—namely, the responsibility to marshal the advantages of carrying out research in power centres of the Global North and at well-funded research institutions in order to serve the interests of those on our planet who are all too often marginalised, de-prioritised, and exploited in the global data innovation ecosystem. We recognise how critically important diversity, equity, and inclusion are to carrying out substantively objective and reflexive research.

Applications

It is our hope that our resources are open and accessible to anyone interesting in learning more about data justice and how to promote it within their context. Additionally, our Data Justice in Practice Guides are aimed at three distinctive stakeholder groups, namely policymakers, developers, and impacted communities. The Advancing data justice research and practice project aims to offer practical guidance and conceptual framings for illuminating how historically rooted conditions of power asymmetry, inequality, discrimination, and exploitation are drawn into processes of data protection, extraction, and use.
 

Recent updates

The research team:

  • Formed a global partnership with 12 policy pilot partners. Each partner was tasked with interviewing 10 individuals on the topic of data justice and organising a workshop. Each partner produced a report summarising and collating these research findings, which can be found here.
  • Worked with an incredible advisory board consisting of experts across the globe who assisted with framing our research and provided valuable insights.
  • Produced the first episode of a three-part documentary series on advancing data justice with collaborators at Fable Studios and EngageMedia. The next two instalments of the series are coming soon.
  • Hosted a virtual event entitled New Agendas for Data Justice on April 7, 2022, which allowed for the 12 Policy Pilot Partners to share insights from their research in a panel format. The project team also hosted Q&A sessions for anyone to ask members of the research team questions about the research.
  • Produced 6 main research outputs all published in 2022. These included an integrated literature review of data justice, an annotated bibliography and table of organisations conducting data justice or data justice adjacent work, and a repository of data justice stories. The team also produced three guides titled ‘Data Justice in Practice’ intended for policymakers, impacted communities, and developers. The guides can all be found on the GPAI data justice homepage.
  • Launched our participatory platform in autumn 2021 where we sought feedback to inform the first of our three outputs through the form of a survey and proposals. Response on this platform has contributed significantly to the overall quality of our research.
  • Presented a series of papers at the Royal Anthropological Institute’s virtual conference on Anthropology, AI and the Future of Human Society in 2022. Papers from the conference are slated to be published in a special journal issue soon.

Find out more

Collaborators

Collaborating organisations

International Centre of Expertise in Montréal on Artificial Intelligence (CEIMIA)

GPAI Data Governance Working Group

Policy pilot partners

AfroLeadership, Cameroon

CIPESA, Eastern and Southern Africa

CIPIT, Kenya

WOUGNET, Uganda

Gob_Lab UAI, Chile

ITS Rio, Brazil

Internet Bolivia, Bolivia

Digital Empowerment Foundation, India

Digital Natives Academy, Aotearoa

Digital Rights Foundation, Pakistan

Open Data China, China

EngageMedia, Asia-Pacific

Researchers and collaborators

Professor David Leslie

Director of Ethics and Responsible Innovation Research at The Alan Turing Institute and Professor of Ethics, Technology and Society, Queen Mary University of London

Contact info

[email protected]