Data Sharing Agreement Overview

Data exchange agreements protect against data misuse and promote early communication between agencies on data processing and use issues. The manual chapter of the USGS Survey 500.26 – Domestic Memorandum of Understanding states: “If necessary, languages are included [in MOUs] such as: All data and information generated as a result of this agreement must be made available to the USGS as part of its current programmes. This includes, if necessary, the publication of the results, unless it is prohibited for well-founded protection and security reasons. Note that the details of these agreements may have to balance differences in management with differences in business practices. For example, how does an agency protect its data and what access can it allow through firewalls and security checks? How will agencies inform each other if authorizations are changed? Which manager will be responsible for the specified data? Data exchange agreements are formal contracts detailing the data disclosed and the data used for the data. If the partner is a foreign unit that does not accept compliance with U.S. law, the agreements must go through the USGS Office of International Programs. It is important to recognize that the process of establishing data exchange agreements between countries, as well as the nature of the data that is shared and the agencies that share the data together, are different. Ideally, these additional concerns should be taken into account in the data exchange agreement, in order to facilitate clear communication and, if necessary, provide additional safeguards: second, it avoids miscommunication by the data provider and the Agency, which receives the data, by ensuring that issues relating to the use of the data are discussed. Before the data is disclosed, the provider and recipient must speak in person or over the phone to discuss data sharing and data usage issues and reach a common communication, which will then be recorded in a data sharing agreement.

A data exchange agreement is a formal contract that clearly documents what data is disclosed and how the data can be used. Such an agreement has two objectives. First, it protects the authority that provides the data and ensures that the data is not misused. The USGS cannot share or share data sets or data: “One of the challenges of the geostrategic community is to promote data sharing and cooperation between several agencies and organizations at several levels of public, private and associative organizations. The interchangeable and successfully collaborating field of interchangeable data is based on the adoption of guiding principles, the identification of best practices and the recognition of challenges that may include political, scientific and technological issues. (National Geospatial Advisory Committee, 2011) Below is a list of items that are generally included in a data-sharing agreement. While this list may cover the databases, additional concerns may be relevant to a data set or supplier agency. Terms of access: Whether the data is online or not, the agreement must determine who has what rights to access the data, who has what rights to modify or modify the data, and what methods apply to accessing the data.