The Time is Now: Establishing a Mutual Commitment Framework (MCF) to Accelerate Data Collaboratives

Article by Stefaan Verhulst, Andrew Schroeder and William Hoffman: “The key to unlocking the value of data lies in responsibly lowering the barriers and shared risks of data access, re-use, and collaboration in the public interest. Data collaboratives, which foster responsible access and re-use of data among diverse stakeholders, provide a solution to these challenges.

Today, however, setting up data collaboratives takes too much time and is prone to multiple delays, hindering our ability to understand and respond swiftly and effectively to urgent global crises. The readiness of data collaboratives during crises faces key obstacles in terms of data use agreements, technical infrastructure, vetted and reproducible methodologies, and a clear understanding of the questions which may be answered more effectively with additional data.

Organizations aiming to create data collaboratives often face additional challenges, as they often lack established operational protocols and practices which can streamline implementation, reduce costs, and save time. New regulations are emerging that should help drive the adoption of standard protocols and processes. In particular, the EU Data Governance Act and the forthcoming Data Act aim to enable responsible data collaboration. Concepts like data spaces and rulebooks seek to build trust and strike a balance between regulation and technological innovation.

This working paper advances the case for creating a Mutual Commitment Framework (MCF) in advance of a crisis that can serve as a necessary and practical means to break through chronic choke points and shorten response times. By accelerating the establishment of operational (and legally cognizable) data collaboratives, duties of care can be defined and a stronger sense of trust, clarity, and purpose can be instilled among participating entities. This structured approach ensures that data sharing and processing are conducted within well-defined, pre-authorized boundaries, thereby lowering shared risks and promoting a conducive environment for collaboration…(More)”.