Governance in The Turing Way#


This chapter is under review.

Governance is a set of formal and informal practices through which an organisation sets goals, assigns responsibilities, establishes systems, and assesses outcomes of organisational action.

The governance body of The Turing Way is represented by the project leadership and volunteer members from the community involved in defining and leading different initiatives within The Turing Way.

Like the book itself, the governance of The Turing Way is always a work in progress! We are very keen to discuss and improve our governance approaches with the involvement of our community members.

Three Levels of Decision Making#

In 2023-2024, The Turing Way adopted three institutional “levels”. Originally described in the context of Studies of the institutional design of natural resource commons[Ost05] and later adopted in the free and open source software (FOSS) communities to describe three broad levels of formal and informal norms that affect decision-making[CharlesMSchweikE07].

  1. The “Community level” (“Operational level”) norms that influence the everyday decisions and actions made by community members such as participating in the community and contributing to the book.

  2. The “Maintenance level” (“Collective choice”) norms allow different groups of people to come together to work on and promote specific areas/initiatives in the project as well as define/change processes to make community level participation easier.

  3. The “Constitutional level” norms are followed by project leaders who are allowed to change/approve maintenance level norms and establish procedures for those decisions. They also are responsible for the project-related responsibilities that affect the whole of the project, the community and sustainability.

Each level of decision-making should inform and influence each other, both applying and evolving governance processes in order to build transparent and accountable governance of The Turing Way.

Below, we describe these three levels of decision-making in the context of The Turing Way, inputs for which were invited from open discussions with our community members (follow Miro board for details). This model was presented at a Community Forum in February 2024, a recording of which is shared below.

This is a recording from the first public Community Forum hosted in February 2024.

However in-depth one would like to engage in The Turing Way, we create opportunities for community participation, skill building and pathways to leadership in data science. We discuss these roles and opportunities so that you can identify the best level of engagement for yourself in the project and our community.

We want to ensure that all roles are recognised and valued in The Turing Way. Therefore, from the onset, we have worked to define these different paths for engagement, support and acknowledgement for community members in The Turing Way. You can read the details in our community handbook in the acknowledging contributors chapter.

1. Community Level#

This level encompasses all members of The Turing Way community, both longstanding and new. Members may have made contributions to the book, participated in an event or simply engaged as book users, social media followers, Slack Workspace members or as independent advocates of The Turing Way.


Participation in The Turing Way doesn’t only involve contributions to the Book.

Decisions and activities undertaken by community level members may include the following:

  • Making individual contributions such as creating an issue, fixing a bug, committing a change on existing chapters, and reviewing Pull Requests.

  • Joining and inviting new individuals to community meetings such as Collaborations Cafe and Co-working sessions.

  • Presenting about The Turing Way at an event.

  • Initiating a conversation or posing a question in The Turing Way community channels.

  • Suggesting content for The Turing Way Newsletter.

  • Applying to participate in the bi-annual Turing Way Book Dashes.

  • Proposing an idea for training sessions or community events.

  • Proposing a new initiative such as a Working Group.

  • Taking any book-related roles in writing, reviewing or maintaining a chapter.

  • Translating any part of The Turing Way chapters and resources.

  • Establishing a collaboration.

  • Helping others with some issues they raise on GitHub or ask on Slack.

  • Asking a question or help!

  • Other things that you can do as individuals.

We have discussed specific roles under this level in Community and Community Roles.

Guidelines and processes for this level are described in the contribution guidelines and Community Handbook. These processes and resources are co-developed by maintenance level members with the involvement of members from the community and constitution levels as needed.

Maintenance Level#

This level includes Working Groups and members from the project delivery team not involved in the constitution level decision making.

You can find details about these members in our ways of working document.

Project Delivery Team#

The Turing Way Project Delivery Team Members are staff members hired to take on responsibilities for delivering and maintaining work, for example, Research Community Manager and Research Project Manager. Project leads may offer support at the maintenance level, but decision-making at this level must stay with the community and stewards of the community, supported by the Research Community Manager.

The Turing Way Working Groups#

Within The Turing Way, Working Groups (or WGs) are formed by small groups of people who work together on specific topics, themes, or types of work identified by community members as areas of interest.

At the time of writing this chapter, the following WGs have been established and are being led by community members in various roles:

  • Translation and Localisation WG

  • Infrastructure WG

  • Accessibility WG

  • Book Dash WG

See also

From the onset, different kinds of work in The Turing Way project have been led and executed by different groups of people. For example, since 2020, localisation and translation work has been carried out by a group of international community members, who although initially worked in an ad-hoc manner, later were named and recognised as the ‘Translation and Localisation Team’. Similarly, in 2021, after moving Book Dash as an online event, a ‘Book Dash Planning Committee’ was convened yearly joined by a few previous attendees of Book Dashes who supported the planning and delivery of the event. Nonetheless, the formation of WGs had largely remained informal: after existing streams of work had been identified, community members engaged with the work were formally recognised and encouraged to develop ways of working that aligned with their needs.

However, as the community has grown, WGs have been more formally established and explicit pathways are being created to formalise WGs.

Guidelines and resources for WGs are shared in the Community Handbook. <– At the time of writing, this chapter is under review (see preview).

Decisions at this level#

Decisions at the maintainer level may include the following:

  • Setting up, leading or representing a WG in different types of roles as leads, co-leads, secretaries and contributing members.

  • Facilitating the creation of a new WG

  • Decisions for planning and hosting the WG meetings and recurrence of the meetings.

  • Organising and distributing the responsibilities within each WG.

  • Proposing which conferences to participate in or apply to represent their work in The Turing Way.

  • Proposing funding ideas/proposals or responding to a call for applications to support their work in The Turing Way.

  • Suggesting changes in ongoing processes or current working models through discussions.

  • Organising a Fireside Chat in conversation with the project delivery team.

  • Clarifying unclear processes that guide the work of a WGs.

  • Escalating issues that can not be addressed at the maintainer level.

3. Constitutional Level#

Strategic decisions and significant changes in the project, such as leadership, recruitment, goals, governance and funding. As of 2024, the constitutional level decision-making sits with the project leads, Kirstie Whitaker and Malvika Sharan. Their aspiration is to move decision-making power to the community through process development through which more community representation, perspectives and inputs can be brought to this level. Ideally, the chairs/representatives/leads of WGs will join this level in the near future.

In the future, we hope that we can work with the community to further design roles such as for community representatives to advise and build stronger accountability for decisions made at this level.

Decisions at constitutional level may include the following:

  • Providing leadership and strategic directions in the project.

  • Applying for core funding, and approving expenses.

  • Building clarity around budget and resources available for the maintainers and community members.

  • Proposing new directions for the community.

  • Process whereby the co-chairs of the WGs can represent community and WG interests at this level of decision-making.

  • Designing community representation roles such as through an Advisory Group.

  • Support each WG in developing process documentation for their decision-making process, and identifying resources they need to continue their work.

  • Meeting other institutional obligations and communicating them transparently to the community.

This document is in its early stages and will evolve in conversation with the community.


Since 2019, Collaboration Cafés and Book Dash have become dedicated spaces for coworking for community members for all levels of governance (even when these levels were not formally described for The Turing Way). These spaces have allowed different groups to form around shared ideas and work of interests, several becoming Communities of Practice within The Turing Way.

Initially, some community members self-organised themselves into groups to work together, collaborated with the project delivery teams, supported/mentored members from the broader community and represented the project in different contexts. In 2022-2023, the project delivery team organised regular meetings with these core contributors to discuss the maintenance-related norms and decisions in The Turing Way, while maintaining transparency of their work through open communication via Slack, newsletters, presentations and reports for the broader community. These conversations were instrumental in adopting the current governance model, particularly, through the formalisation of different WGs in close collaboration with the research community manager.

These meetings in 2024 transitioned into a series of community calls, called Community Forums, hosted by project leads where governance-related matters can be openly discussed.

Community Forums#

Starting in 2024, the project leads host open/public community events called ‘Community Forums’ to discuss governance-related matters with our community members and anyone who is interested in understanding the community and project management aspects of The Turing Way. Modelled off a political town hall event, these online sessions are an opportunity to better understand activities across the project and how decisions are made. Our aim is to leverage the expertise across our community, and we explicitly invite you to review our processes and recommend improvements.

Please join Community Forums to stay up to date with the development.

Join us in building this community together!