Access and Feeds

Open Data: Standardizing Agreements to Enable Easier Data Sharing and Collaboration

By Dick Weisinger

There are an abundant number of open source licenses to choose from to support the public sharing and collaboration of software code. These licenses include Apache, BSD, GNU, MIT, Mozilla and others. That’s not the case though when it comes to public sharing of data.

Erich Andersen, Microsoft’s corporate vice president and chief IP counsel, wrote in a blog on LinkedIn that “much of the potential that can be realized through data sharing remains untapped – in part because the tools for collaboration are often immature or non-existent. Organizations that wish to share data often have to confront the reality of having to spend months or even years negotiating and drawing up contracts to govern data sharing arrangements, for example, which can be a time consuming, expensive and laborious process.”

In order to address the need, Microsoft has proposed three draft data sharing agreements that could cover different scenarios. Andersen wrote in the blog post that Microsoft is “looking to do for data what open source did for code.”

Constellation Research Inc. analyst Ray Wang said that “the challenge today is that we have not defined property rights around data and so these agreements are a good first step towards helping organizations work with each other on this data. Over time, benchmarking data will be less important and derived data and data derivatives will be where the value is.”

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