September 8, 2020

New Paper: “A Data Sharing Discipline”

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Link to Report: "A Data Sharing Discipline"
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A new white paper from the Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity (CLTC) explores the increasingly important domain of data sharing, when individuals and/or organizations voluntarily share data for mutual benefit. The paper considers an array of questions related to the sharing of data, which in recent years has become a valuable asset as organizations use algorithms to extract insights and drive decision-making.

The paper, A Data Sharing Discipline, was authored by Steven Weber, Professor and Associate Dean at the UC Berkeley School of Information and Faculty Director of CLTC; Matthew Nagamine, Manager of Strategic Partnerships at CLTC; and Max Ingraham-Rakatansky, a Graduate Student Researcher at CLTC and Vice President of the Information Management Student Association at UC Berkeley.

In the paper, the authors consider whether, how, and when firms should choose to share data, whether with competitors or other organizations. Noting that different stakeholders — investors, researchers, privacy advocates, government agencies, or NGOs — tend to have different attitudes about the sharing of data the authors propose a conceptual framework and a common language for analysis of shared-data initiatives and value creation. The typology addresses the questions: where in the value chain are organizations sharing data? What can organizations do with shared data? And who gets access to shared data — and on what terms?

“Rapid advances in data science have now raised the stakes for developing clear arguments about the precise meaning of data sharing,” the authors explain. “We need a discipline that defines the reasons why and conditions under which any organization — whether in the public or private sector — should choose, be incentivized, or even be required to share data. A practical set of arguments needs equally to address sharing with whom, under what conditions, and — most importantly — to what purposes.”

The paper also includes diverse case studies examining how institutions have approached data sharing. Among the cases considered is the World Bank’s Open Data Initiative, as well as the European Commission’s “European Strategy for Data,” which aims to build toward a single market for data that would boost European competitiveness and set distinctive characteristics for privacy, governance, and access.

The authors also consider the important role of sharing data during the public health emergencies, and highlight data-sharing efforts that have emerged since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Public health emergencies have incentivized action from key players in a range of sectors, including industry, government, academia, and non-profit,” the authors write. “These actors have tried to remove disincentives to sharing data in the context of public health emergencies; create positive incentive structures, by making some data sharing mandatory for journal publication; and build various types of infrastructure to enable real-time data sharing and access.”

Download the paper here