Policy Informatics

Policy informatics is the "transdisciplinary study of how computation and communication technology leverages information to better understand and address complex public policy and administration problems and realise innovations in governance processes and institutions" (Center for Policy Informatics). This approach seeks to strengthen the connections among scholars and between scholars and practitioners who share an interest in how policy relevant information and data are used to formulate, implement, and evaluate public policies (Kamensky, 2012). Policy informatics also encompasses exploration of the implications of new analytical tools and data sources for conducting policy relevant research. The core intellectual focus is to advance research and practice that can enhance our understanding of complex policy and managerial problems.

The latest innovations in information and communications technology and information collection and dissemination capacity are changing the ways in which analysis can support public policy decisions. Policy informatics emphasises theories and research concerning decision-making, complexity theory, and visualisation of quantitative and qualitative information, collective intelligence, behavioural economics, and persuasive technologies. For example, availability of large quantities of data, often on whole populations, promoted by open data and social media raises new questions about how analyses are conducted (Helbig et al., 2012). Data visualisation tools expand ability to display and disseminate complex temporal and spatial information. Together, these innovations bring ample opportunities and challenges for developing new theories on complex dynamic social systems and new approaches that might be suitable for analysing how policies affect them (Johnson and Kim, 2011).


Centre for Policy Informatics, Arizona State University

Kamensky, J. (2012). Policy Informatics is Bridging the Gap Between Researchers and Politicians, Government Executive

Helbig, N., Nakashima, M. and Dawes, S., (2012), Understanding the Value and Limits of Government Information in Policy Informatics: A Preliminary Exploration. In Proceedings of the 13th Annual International Conference on Digital Government Research. pp 291-293. College Park, MD. ACM Digital Library.

Johnson, E. and Kim, Y. (2011). Introduction to the Special Issue on Policy Informatics, The Innovation Journal: The Public Sector Innovation Journal, Volume 16(1)

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