Using Data Sharing Agreements as Tools of Indigenous Data Governance: Current Uses and Future Options

Paper by Martinez, A. and Rainie, S. C.: “Indigenous communities and scholars have been influencing a shift in participation and inclusion in academic and agency research over the past two decades. As a response, Indigenous peoples are increasingly asking research questions and developing their own studies rooted in their cultural values. They use the study results to rebuild their communities and to protect their lands. This process of Indigenous-driven research has led to partnering with academic institutions, establishing research review boards, and entering into data sharing agreements to protect environmental data, community information, and local and traditional knowledges.

Data sharing agreements provide insight into how Indigenous nations are addressing the key areas of data collection, ownership, application, storage, and the potential for data reuse in the future. By understanding this mainstream data governance mechanism, how they have been applied, and how they have been used in the past, we aim to describe how Indigenous nations and communities negotiate data protection and control with researchers.

The project described here reviewed publicly available data sharing agreements that focus on research with Indigenous nations and communities in the United States. We utilized qualitative analysis methods to identify specific areas of focus in the data sharing agreements, whether or not traditional or cultural values were included in the language of the data sharing agreements, and how the agreements defined data. The results detail how Indigenous peoples currently use data sharing agreements and potential areas of expansion for language to include in data sharing agreements as Indigenous peoples address the research needs of their communities and the protection of community and cultural data….(More)”.