Brussels, Belgium, March 13, 2023
(Thanks to Lisa Talia Moretti, Sampriti Saxena, and Andrew Zahuranec for their research support; and the alumni of the Data Stewards Executive Course for their input)
With the rapid datafication of our world and the ever-growing need to access data for re-use in the public interest, it’s no surprise that the need for data stewards is becoming increasingly more important every day. Organizations across sectors and geographies, from the United Nations Statistics Division to the Government of New Zealand, are all moving towards defining the roles and responsibilities of a data steward within their own unique contexts and use cases.
At The GovLab, we have long advocated for the professionalization of data stewardship through our research into the role of data stewards in fostering data collaboration, as well as our executive education courses at the Data Stewards Academy. The recent launch of The Data Tank, a non-profit dedicated to addressing the challenges and opportunities of datafication, which I co-founded, is another step in the right direction, creating a platform to explore data stewardship in practice and providing additional educational resources.
While these resources are no doubt valuable, we are still often faced with the question: What are the required competencies of a data steward? If I want to hire or train a data steward, what should the job specifications be?