PolicyModels started as an implementation of DataTags, a project aimed to allow researchers to create proper dataset handling and sharing policies, even if they lack the required legal and technological expertise. Since PolicyModels allows modeling of various domains (such as social benefits or publishing decisions), it is now a project in its own right.

PolicyModels is a part of a the Privacy Tools for Sharing Research Data project.

Academic Reference

The DataTags concept, as well as a previous version of the code described here, was presented in the paper: Sharing Sensitive Data with Confidence: The Datatags System.

Sweeney L, Crosas M, Bar-Sinai M. Sharing Sensitive Data with Confidence: The Datatags System. Technology Science. 2015101601. October 16, 2015. http://techscience.org/a/2015101601

A more technical introduction, including theoretical explanation of policy spaces, is presented at the paper: DataTags, Data Handling Policy Spaces and the Tags Language.

Bar-Sinai M, Sweeney L, Crosas M. DataTags, Data Handling Policy Spaces and the Tags Language. Security and Privacy Workshops (SPW), 2016 IEEE, May 2016, https://doi.org/10.1109/SPW.2016.11

A decision graph is a graph (in the mathematical sense) with different type of nodes. When the user goes through the interview, a Decision Graph Engine traverses the graph. When the engine reaches a node, it performs an instruction associated with it, such as ask (ask the user a question) or set.


Want to take this toolset for a spin? Here’s how.

Policy spaces are also described by a domain specific language.

This site documents those two languages, and some language-related tools.


The code for this project is open source, and available at a GitHub Repository. The code and this site were developed by Michael Bar-Sinai, through an affiliation with the Institute for Quantitative Social Science and the Data Privacy Lab at Harvard University, with the help of students from US REU programs and the computer science department at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel.

Indices and tables