Working Paper

Public Data Commons as a Policy Framework for the Data Impact Hub and the Mutual Commitment Framework

A framework for data sharing - based on the principles of commons-based data governance.

Date Published
7 Nov 2023
Alek Tarkowski

This brief outlines how a framework for data sharing within multilateral institutions, consisting of a data impact hub and a mutual commitment framework, could be established, based on the principles of commons-based data governance.  

It builds on the concept of Public Data Commons, a public interest data sharing model developed by the Open Future Foundation during the policy debate on the European Data Act. This legal act is one of several prior cases of legislation that establishes regulatory frameworks for Business-to-Government (B2G) data sharing. The Public Data Commons framework is particularly suited enable sharing of data from various sources, and in particular to secure greater availability of data held by private companies.  

Since this type of data will be crucial for the mission of the data impact hub, the Public Data Commons model offers a valuable reference point for establishing the hub and the mutual commitment framework. A commons-based approach offers a set of principles and more specific policy design guidelines that can help to share data as digital public goods, to enable collective decision making, to balance the need to share with care for data rights and to secure public interest. 

The proposed data impact hub in the report of the High-Level Advisory Board on Effective Multilateralism correctly frames the need for pre-positioned data capacities and pre-agreed frameworks if global emergencies are to be properly addressed. The Public Data Commons offers a model in which a trusted institution acting in the public interest not only pre-positions capacities but, over time, builds a body of data that can be shared securely and in a trustworthy manner. This is particularly important in times of “poly-crisis”, where emergencies cannot always be framed as discreet events but have a systemic character and play out over longer periods. For this reason, ad hoc data sharing solutions in face of emergencies will not be sufficient. 

The first part of this brief outlines the Public Data Commons concept as a framework for business-to-government (B2G) data sharing. The second part considers what lessons could be learned from the European debate on B2G data sharing. It offers additional considerations for introducing a commons-based approach for the data impact hub.

Access 'Public Data Commons as a Policy Framework for the Data Impact Hub and the Mutual Commitment Framework' here. 

Suggested citation: Alek Tarkowski. Public Data Commons as a Policy Framework for the Data Impact Hub and the Mutual Commitment Framework : UNU-CPR, 2023.

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