Initiatives like Open Government Data make more and more data available to citizens. At the same time, “post-truth” has been chosen as the word of 2016 and many people distrust statistics. In other words, data science has more capabilities to help us understand the world, yet it is becoming less relevant in many public discussions. We think one of the reasons is that data science is often opaque, hard to interpret and creating data-driven reports is limited to a small number of experts.
The goal of The Gamma project is to democratise data science. We build tools that encourage everyone – including journalists and interested citizens – to understand how presented claims are justified, explore data and make their own claims that are not only backed by data, but also fun!
To do this, we combine the best from spreadsheets and programming languages. On one hand, spreadsheets make it very easy to explore data and almost anyone can use them without having programming skills. On the other hand, programming languages let us write programs that fully describe where the data comes from and what has been done to it.
By bridging the gap between programming and spreadsheets, The Gamma project makes it easy to create engaging interactive visualisations that enable the reader to check how the data is used, where it comes from, and encourage the reader to explore the data further on their own.