Laying the Foundation for Effective Partnerships: An Examination of Data Sharing Agreements

Paper by Hayden Dahmm: “In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, data has never been more salient. COVID has generated new data demands and increased cross-sector data collaboration. Yet, these data collaborations require careful planning and evaluation of risks and opportunities, especially when sharing sensitive data. Data sharing agreements (DSAs) are written agreements that establish the terms for how data are shared between parties and are important for establishing accountability and trust.

However, negotiating DSAs is often time consuming, and collaborators lacking legal or financial capacity are disadvantaged. Contracts for Data Collaboration (C4DC) is a joint initiative between SDSN TReNDS, NYU’s GovLab, the World Economic Forum, and the University of Washington, working to strengthen trust and transparency of data collaboratives. The partners have created an online library of DSAs which represents a selection of data applications and contexts.

This report introduces C4DC and its DSA library. We demonstrate how the library can support the data community to strengthen future data collaborations by showcasing various DSA applications and key considerations. First, we explain our method of analyzing the agreements and consider how six major issues are addressed by different agreements in the library. Key issues discussed include data use, access, breaches, proprietary issues, publicization of the analysis, and deletion of data upon termination of the agreement. For each of these issues, we describe approaches illustrated with examples from the library. While our analysis suggests some pertinent issues are regularly not addressed in DSAs, we have identified common areas of practice that may be helpful for entities negotiating partnership agreements to consider in the future….(More)”.