Kick-starting the Data Commons

Compared to expensive centralised data repositories. the Data Commons is almost “virtual”. It is made up of a number of communities of common interests who are developing the set of protocols that allows them to share, integrate, and reuse data. They also enable other people to come up with valuable applications based on this integrated data. The Data Commons is in many ways a self-organising system that forms and regulates a “market” for data integration and reuse.

Like all markets, the value of the Data Commons will only grow with use. Entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs, scientists, analysts, community groups,and others who can benefit from data reuse need to climb on board and build their ideas on the back of the Data Commons protocols. Supporting this growth becomes a matter of managing incentives to join and identifying high-value starting points to kick-start a network effect.

Note that this leads to a chicken and egg challenge: the need to grow a set of generalisable commons protocols whilst at the same time actually building value for people on a nascent Data Commons.

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