Step 2. Define the principles that will guide how data is shared

Data principles can be helpful as they set out expectations on ways of working to help access, use and share data at regional, international, organisational or project level. There is a wealth of data principles to look to for examples, and they cover different needs; from encouraging best practice to practical application to maximise use of data.

It can be useful to draw on recognised international frameworks that define principles around how data should be shared. Four key international frameworks are:

  • The Five Safes Framework – principles to help manage risk when sharing data.

  • FAIR Framework – principles to help ensure data is findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable (FAIR).

  • CARE Framework – principles that support Indigenous governance of data.

  • WHO Data principles – principles that ensure trust is built between data agencies and those using data.

You can find more information on these international frameworks in the Appendix of this play.

When considering your data principles, you could either:

  • select a pre-existing framework of principles to guide data sharing, or

  • develop a unique set of principles, agreeable to all partners, to guide data sharing. In this case it will be important to develop a mutual understanding of each partner’s values and mission to help agree on the principles that work for all.

There are also examples of organisations that have developed their own set of principles to guide data sharing. For example, Roche's Global Policy on Sharing of Clinical Study Information defines five key principles that then guide data sharing implementation processes. Roche's principles document a commitment to societal benefits, which has led to a focus on ensuring that the purpose of data sharing projects leads to enhancing personalised healthcare. Other models like the World Health Organization's data principles are intended to affirm trust and provide a foundation for data governance.

Key actions to take:

  • Decide what principles will guide your data sharing arrangements and ensure agreement with the organisations involved.

  • Use the principles to help define what data sharing mechanisms and processes you will need to have in place.

  • Consider preparing a one-page summary of the principles you are adopting so that you can explain this to partners or other organisations you are working with in your data ecosystem.

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