Data Sharing Agreements

Below is a list of the items that are normally included in a data sharing agreement. While this list may cover the basics, additional concerns may be relevant to a given data set or to a given supply agency. The USGS Survey Manual Chapter 500.26 – Domestic Memorandum of Understanding states that “where applicable, there is a language [in the MOUs], such as: all data and information produced as a result of this Statement of Intent must be available for use by the USGS in connection with its ongoing programs. This includes, where appropriate, the publication of the results, except in cases that are prohibited for reasons of ownership and safety.┬áIt is important to recognize that the process of setting up data-sharing agreements varies from country to country, as does the type of data shared and the agencies that share the data. Data exchange is an important way to increase the capacity of researchers, scientists and policy makers to analyse data and translate it into meaningful reports and knowledge. A data sharing agreement is an agreement between a party that has useful data (the broadcaster) and a party that seeks data for research on (the recipient) in which the disclosure provider agrees to share its data with the recipient. These could be two universities that would agree to exchange data to collaborate in the field of research, could include one or more private companies active in research or development, and could even include a government agency that works with a private organization. Second, it avoids any misunderstanding on the part of the data provider and the Agency receiving the data by ensuring that all issues relating to the use of the data are discussed. Before sharing the data, the provider and recipient must speak in person or over the phone to discuss issues related to the disclosure and use of the data and a collaborative understanding that will then be documented in a data sharing agreement. Data sharing agreements protect against misuse of data and encourage early communication between authorities on issues relating to data processing and use. Data sharing agreements must include provisions on access and dissemination. It is not desirable to enter into a data-sharing agreement to disclose data protection information, as non-federal organizations are not subject to data protection law.

Similarly, it is worth drawing the attention of the non-federal organization to the fact that federal authorities may be forced to disclose information under the FOIA. Data sharing agreements are formal contracts that define in detail what data is shared and what data is used appropriately….