Investing in Data Infrastructure and Capacity Building for a More Circular UK Economy
We also highlight the need for a coordinated effort to better capture dynamics of relevance to the circular economy in statistical classifications for products and activities across production and trade. This would help to ensure that data is collected and organized in a consistent and standardized manner, making it easier to use and compare across different datasets. For example, by using consistent definitions and classifications, we can ensure that data collected on products and materials is comparable across different sectors and regions. This would make it easier to identify areas where circular practices are being used effectively, and where additional efforts may be needed to improve circularity.
Additionally, the report recommends greater consistency in the dissemination and formatting of datasets and related metadata, including the use of shared terminology. This would help to reduce confusion and improve the reliability of the data, enabling more accurate and meaningful analysis. For example, by using standardized formats and metadata, researchers and policymakers can easily understand how data was collected, what it represents, and how it can be used (and importantly, reused). This would help to reduce the risk of errors and misunderstandings, and support more robust and reliable analysis. Furthermore, a shared and common language facilitates transdisciplinary collaboration between not only academics, but those in industry and policy positions too.
Clearer indications of reuse permissions for datasets would also help to encourage their use and support the development of new circular economy solutions. By making it clear what is and is not allowed when it comes to using public datasets, we can help to foster a culture of openness and collaboration while continuing to build a robust circular economy in the UK.
In order to remove barriers and accelerate the UK economy’s transition towards greater circularity, we must build an environment of openness and transparency. This applies across the board, not least in the collection and publication of data. For now, we recommend that publishers of public data:
- Provide clearer indication of reuse permissions for datasets
- Normalise a culture of open access publication for data collected using public funding
- Maintain greater consistency in the dissemination and formatting of datasets and related metadata, including shared terminology
- Capture dynamics of relevance to the circular economy in statistical classifications for e.g. products and activities across production and trade
Adopting the circular values of maintaining the right data at the highest value for as long as possible won’t take us all the way to a regenerative economy, but it’ll certainly be a vital step in the right direction.