Valuing data: foundations for data policy

This scoping study aims to produce a framework identifying key types of data and the appropriate approaches for valuing them.

Assessing the value of data is much more complex than valuing conventional assets, and there does not yet exist a framework for doing so that can be shared among policymakers, researchers and industry. Most of the existing literature on data valuation is theoretical, and what empirical work does exist uses market valuations as the basis for estimation, which are not entirely appropriate.

The study will begin with a literature review of the different economic approaches to data valuation. This will be followed by up to 20 stakeholder interviews aimed at developing an understanding of the prevailing market characteristics of data, the reasons why voluntary private data sharing arrangements come about, and the barriers to further opening of public data. Interviews will be carried out with stakeholders in wholly commercial data markets as well as providers of public data in both open and marketed forms.

Based on the interviews, a first draft of the framework will be presented for discussion to a wider group of stakeholders at further interviews and workshops, and then refined for publication.

In addition to the framework, the final study report will include policy recommendations, discuss key conceptual challenges, and identify outstanding questions for research and policy. It is expected to be of significant interest to UK and international policymakers, holders of large datasets, and all those concerned with the use of data and its impact on social well-being.

This study is closely connected with the work of the Nuffield-funded Ada Lovelace Institute.

Project Details


Professor Diane Coyle CBE and Dr Stephanie Diepeveen, Bennett Institute for Public Policy, University of Cambridge

Dr Jeni Tennison, Peter Wells and Lawrence Kay, Open Data Institute


Grant amount and duration

July 2019 – February 2020