Informing the Global Data Future: Benchmarking Data Governance Frameworks

Paper by Sara Marcucci, Natalia González Alarcón, Stefaan G. Verhulst and Elena Wüllhorst: “Data has become a critical trans-national and cross-border resource. Yet, the lack of a well-defined approach to using it poses challenges to harnessing its value. This article explores the increasing importance of global data governance due to the rapid growth of data, and the need for responsible data practices. The purpose of this paper is to compare approaches and identify patterns in the emergent data governance ecosystem within sectors close to the international development field, ultimately presenting key takeaways and reflections on when and why a global data governance framework may be needed. Overall, the paper provides information about the conditions when a more holistic, coordinated transnational approach to data governance may be needed to responsibly manage the global flow of data. The report does this by (a) considering conditions specified by the literature that may be conducive to global data governance, and (b) analyzing and comparing existing frameworks, specifically investigating six key elements: purpose, principles, anchoring documents, data description and lifecycle, processes, and practices. The article closes with a series of final recommendations, which include adopting a broader concept of data stewardship to reconcile data protection and promotion, focusing on responsible reuse of data to unlock socioeconomic value, harmonizing meanings to operationalize principles, incorporating global human rights frameworks to provide common North Stars, unifying key definitions of data, adopting a data lifecycle approach, incorporating participatory processes and collective agency, investing in new professions with specific roles, improving accountability through oversight and compliance mechanisms, and translating recommendations into practical tools…(More)”