Data Collaboratives: Enabling a Healthy Data Economy Through Partnerships

Paper by Stefaan Verhulst (as Part of the Digital Revolution and New Social Contract Program): “…Overcoming data silos is key to addressing these data asymmetries and promoting a healthy data economy. This is equally true of silos that exist within sectors as it is of those among sectors (e.g., between the public and private sectors). Today, there is a critical mismatch between data supply and demand. The data that could be most useful rarely gets applied to the social, economic, cultural, and political problems it could help solve. Data silos, driven in large part by deeply entrenched asymmetries and a growing sense of “ownership,” are stunting the public good potential of data.

This paper presents a framework for responsible data sharing and reuse that could increase sharing between the public and private sectors to address some of the most entrenched asymmetries. Drawing on theoretical and empirical material, we begin by outlining how a period of rapid datafication—the Era of the Zettabyte—has led to data asymmetries that are increasingly deleterious to the public good. Sections II and III are normative. Having outlined the nature and scope of the problem, we present a number of steps and recommendations that could help overcome or mitigate data asymmetries. In particular, we focus on one institutional structure that has proven particularly promising: data collaboratives, an emerging model for data sharing between sectors. We show how data collaboratives could ease the flow of data between the public and private sectors, helping break down silos and ease asymmetries. Section II offers a conceptual overview of data collaboratives, while Section III provides an approach to operationalizing data collaboratives. It presents a number of specific mechanisms to build a trusted sharing ecology….(More)”.