Contracts for Data Collaboration (C4DC) aims to improve understanding of the legal conditions that can enable effective data collaboration.

In taking on urgent global challenges, we are faced with a critical hurdle: a lack of necessary data. From regional health epidemics to broad efforts like the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), this data shortage persists; for example, specific to the SDGs, 131 of the 232 SDG indicators still lacked either regular data or an established methodology for measurement as of 2018.

Research is ongoing on how the data community can fill these data gaps with new technologies, sources, and collaborations. But promising data sharing partnerships and data collaboratives (particularly between the private and public sectors) can struggle to overcome institutional and legal barriers.

To better understand the legal conditions that can enable effective data collaboration, The GovLab, SDSN TReNDS, University of Washington’s Information Risk Research Initiative, and the World Economic Forum have joined forces to create an online library of data sharing agreements (DSAs) that have facilitated data sharing in a variety of settings and countries. These agreements cover a range of data applications and consider a host of legal issues in the use of data. The library is accompanied by associated use cases, guides and other resources.

Given that DSAs generally share common elements that can be conceptually organized, the initiative is focused on understanding how the legal agreements are constructed and applied in practice. By identifying recurring patterns and common legal clauses, an array of useful insights can emerge related to challenges at the micro and macro level (including the SDGs). In the C4DC project, we have developed an analytical framework to parse the many terms in DSAs into logical categories, consistent with the framework (see Our Framework) developed by Stefaan Verhulst and Andrew Young at the GovLab as part of their Data Collaboratives program.

Call for Contributions

The searchable library aims to capture a wide scope of data sharing arrangements for the common good and has a particular focus on the 17 SDGs. Public and private organizations are invited to send redacted data sharing agreements from their own work. Please remove any party names or identifying information as necessary from the agreements before sending and to make certain not to share any private or confidential materials. Please email documents or any questions you may have to TReNDS Analyst Hayden Dahmm. Do note that all contributed materials will be made publicly available online.