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Media release: Swiss Data Literacy Charter as the basis for data literacy

The Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences are publishing a Data Literacy Charter for Switzerland. This Charter is intended to initiate a broad-based cultural change in the way society handles general and personal data. One aim is for each person to be in a position to determine how personal data is handled. A further aim of the Charter is that people should be able to critically evaluate data and statements based on it.


In our networked world, a flood of data and information needs to be appropriately assessed and evaluated. This requires proficient data literacy. The further development of artificial intelligence (AI) also makes it necessary for everyone to have a sufficient knowledge of data usage in all walks of life. The “Swiss Data Literacy Charter” was drafted to create a data culture that comprises a self-determined way of handling data and confident evaluation of data and statements. 


What is data literacy? 

Data literacy encompasses the ability to collect, manage, evaluate and utilize data in a carefully-considered manner. Data protection and data ethics principles must also be taken into account here. Because general conditions may change, ongoing interaction between data producers – for example website operators – and data consumers – for example website users – is essential. A lifelong learning process is required due to the complexity of the topic and the rapid progress of developments in this area. Such an approach will ensure that data is handled, exchanged and interpreted sensibly. 


Who should be responsible for data literacy? 

Coordinated interaction is urgently needed between all the stakeholders involved:  only if everyone acquires the ability to exchange and use data in all areas in an ethical and data protection-compliant manner can this data contribute to a participatory society. The media, education and politics play an important role in ensuring that data literacy is fostered at all levels and in all areas. International developments need to be taken into account here. The Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences and the organization “Data Literacy – Switzerland” therefore call on the general public, all relevant disciplines, the media and politicians to come to terms with data literacy and to implement it in their respective contexts. This Charter is intended to help initiate, firmly establish and implement a cultural change in accordance with the principles of the Swiss Data Literacy Charter. 

To the Swiss Data Literacy Charta

The Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences (a+) are an association of Switzerland's science academies: the Swiss Academy of Sciences SCNAT, the Swiss Academy of Humanities and Social Sciences SAHS, the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences SAMS, the Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences SATW and the Swiss Young Academy SYA. In addition to the five academies, they include the competence centres TA-SWISS and Science et Cité as well as other scientific networks. Early career academics can network and exchange ideas within the Swiss Young Academy. The Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences network the sciences regionally, nationally and internationally. They represent the scientific communities in a disciplinary, interdisciplinary manner and independently of institutions and subjects. Their network is long-term oriented and committed to scientific excellence. They advise politics and society on knowledge-based and societally relevant issues.


“Swiss Data Literacy” is an interprofessional, independent movement launched in 2020 at the initiative of Prof. Dr ès sc. Diego Kuonen and Dr. Monique Lehky Hagen. It is committed to promoting and implementing, through regional, national and international networks, the foundations of a broad-based social change in data literacy and to anchoring that change in the political agenda.

  • Who can sign?

  • Why does this concern me personally?

  • Data literacy in kindergarten - how is this supposed to work?

  • Why  are doctors & statisticians jointly launching an appeal to the public and politicians?

  • What is the point of the appeal and which obligations arise from my signature?

  • Why is the appeal linked to the coronavirus pandemic?

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