Data is a common-pool resource

The data in the commons is assumed to be a common-pool resource for the common good.

Data will be added to the commons where I get some personal, professional, or commercial value back by being able to meet my own purposes as a result of integrating the data. However, there is a common good in enabling that data to be freely available to other members of the commons – if they can meet my needs for safe reuse.

For reuses of data that don’t intrude on my personal, professional, or commercial interests, data is held in common and available to all participants. Data integration and reuse may be exploited in various ways to improve lives and typically have many spillover benefits. It is intended that one of the primary purposes served by the Data Commons is enabling data to be managed as a common-pool resource for the common good.

A Data Commons is designed to be generative, in the sense that it is designed for the benefit of the community that owns and administers the platform. We assume that I and my community will get many direct and indirect benefits from improvements to science, society, health, the environment, and improved commercial and entrepreneurial activity from the reuse of data I have (co)produced.

For example, I indirectly get value back from the commons when a scientist uses the data to cure a disease. Similarly, science is the winner when scientists collaborate. We all win economically, through enhanced innovation and invention, when there is shared access to non-rival resources such as data.

The common good may be further supported by ways of building the commons that allow the value of reuse to be redistributed back to data donators directly. For example, reusers who make money from their innovations (e.g. sell “apps” that rely on commons data) may be taxed a portion of sale that is then redistributed back to the participants of the commons whose data has been reused. This allows net donators of data to also receive redistributed commons value, even though they don’t develop their own on-selling reuses.

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