What key concerns do data sharing agreements address?

Good agreements address the distinct concerns of each side, although a primary concern for all partners is access to data. While the existence of a written agreement does not signify trust in itself, the process of developing a data-sharing agreement presents a trust-building opportunity for both partners. Use the data agreement to outline non-negotiables and good faith commitments.

Partners on the practice side need to set parameters on who has access to data and how data will be handled. In some contexts, there are rules and limitations around data-sharing dictated by statutory, legal or administrative constraints. Additionally, agency partners often want a guarantee of “no surprises” on results released.

Researchers may express concerns about maintaining their independence from the district in the use and interpretation of data, managing the transfer of data across systems, and aligning their data management practices with their host institutions. Common elements in data-sharing agreements include:

  • Authorizations and protocols for those handling data
  • Limitations on the use of data
  • “No surprises” clauses that ensure the agency’s right to review findings before they go public
  • A plan for data security
  • Ownership of data
  • Conflict resolution procedures
  • Modification and termination of services
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Developing Data Sharing Agreements