News Release

New MIT PRESS book is a wake-up call for America to democratize data

Julia Lane's 'Democratizing Our Data: A Manifesto'

Book Announcement

The MIT Press

Democratizing Our Data

image: The cover art to Julia Lane's forthcoming book, "Democratizing Our Data" from The MIT PRESS. It goes on sale 9/1. view more 

Credit: The MIT PRESS, 2020.

Professor of public policy Julia Lane's forthcoming book from The MIT PRESS (on sale 9/1/2020) "Democratizing Our Data: A Manifesto" explains why public data is vital to public health and democracy in general. The book is a wake-up call for America to create a new framework for democratizing data.

Nancy Potok, former Chief Statistician of the United States, writes, "Julia Lane is a brilliant visionary with the rare ability to bring her visions successfully to fruition. Her manifesto is a clarion call we must heed to ensure a dynamic and viable future for timely, relevant, accurate, and objective federal statistical data. A must-read."

Lane argues that we must rethink ways to democratize data; there are successful models to follow and new legislation that can help effect change. The private sector's data revolution--which creates new types of data and new measurements to build machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms--can be mirrored by a public sector data revolution characterized by attention to counting all who should be counted, measuring what should be measured, and protecting privacy and confidentiality. Just as Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, and Facebook have led the world in the use of data for profit, the United States can show the world how to produce data for the public good.

She calls for a more automated, transparent, and accountable framework for creating high-quality public data that would empower citizens and inspire the workforce that serves them. And she outlines an organizational model that has the potential to make data more accessible and useful. As she says, failure to act threatens our democracy.


Julia Lane is a founder of the Coleridge Initiative, Professor at the NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and the NYU Center for Urban Science and Progress, and an NYU Provostial Fellow for Innovation Analytics.

You can discover more information about the book via The MIT PRESS website here:

You can learn more about Lane here via her website.

Watch a video interview with Lane and The Conversation here;

Watch a virtual talk with Lane and The MIT PRESS Live! virtual event series;

You can read an excerpt from the book here;

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