Digitalisation presents organisations with ever new challenges. Data Stewards are to ensure that everything runs smoothly.

The term Data Stewardship is relatively new and refers to the growing importance of digital data in all areas of education, research, business, and culture. Accordingly, the professional field of Data Stewards is also new. It encompasses the most diverse tasks and works:

  • Collection and securing of data
  • Ensuring data quality
  • Data classification and cataloguing
  • Support in data integration and migration
  • Promotion of a sustainable data culture
  • Awareness for data management practices
  • Advising on new technical developments
  • Design and implementation of training
  • Support for digital projects of all kinds
  • Development and implementation of policies
  • Compliance with data protection and compliance regulations

Even large organisations with specialised Data Stewards or Data Stewardship Services quickly reach their limits. Not to mention medium or small institutions, which lack the means for Data Stewards.

Cultural Change

Data Stewards work in a complicated to contentious position, as mediators between professional, methodological, organisational, technical, legal, and other requirements. How do you manage this exchange so that it is not seen as interference but as an enrichment?

Scope Creep

The fact that Data Stewardship requirements are so varied quickly leads to work areas being not precisely defined and gradually expanding. Scope Creep describes the creeping expansion of their scope, which in Data Stewardship leads to goals being diluted and resources not properly allocated. What can be well managed with internal resources, and when should one resort to external services?

E-Learning Officers

E-Learning Officers often take on the role of a Data Steward. A problematic assignment, as they thus bear not only educational but also technical, data protection, and other responsibilities, often without adequate resources and support. What opportunities do educational organisations have to efficiently support their E-Learning Officers?


The complexity of the requirements speaks for the involvement of external actors. What are the points to consider in operational partnerships regarding critical aspects such as data security and privacy, quality standards, intellectual property, flexibility, and efficiency in communication, etc.?

To successfully implement Data Stewardship and optimally support Data Stewards, it is crucial to find the right balance between internal and external resources and to manage them skillfully.