Value from reuse

Value is added to data by its reuse or integration with other data.

The value to members of a commons flows from access to and reuse of other data besides their own, and also from the ability to do new things for themselves with their own data. The Data Commons is based on managing the value of reuse, not on profit from trading in owned data. Trading owned data for financial reward incentivises ownership, not integration and reuse. It is part of the current problem that the Data Commons seeks to overcome. The value of data reuse and integration should be an opportunity available equally to all participants of the Data Commons.

Too often data is surrendered (e.g. to marketers or government) in return for access to services (like email or income support respectively) who then capture the value of reuse and integration for themselves or on-sell it. The other participant in the exchange gets something else – but not access to the integrated use of their co-produced data. The value of reuse and integration of data should be available to all co-producers.

This principle of value will drive people to want to be included in the commons because they will receive the value of data integration and reuse for themselves. Google would get to use my profile, but so would I. As ascientist I can add my data to a shared pool and get more back in return. As a citizen I can add my profile and get new kinds of integrated data-enabled services.

In addition, what is rewarded is use of data, not ownership of data. Supporting the value of ownership (and trading data) encourages fragmentation and non-sharing. Rewarding the use of data encourages accessibility and innovation, driving better personal, commercial, and scientific outcomes. It discourages profit-taking from merely owning and on-selling.

This does not mean there is no opportunity to create financial reward from joining and using the commons. Quite the opposite. The fees paid for specific reuse applications will likely be higher than those relying on owned and still fragmented data. Trading a bunch of incomplete/fragmented data is not as valuable to the end user as integrated data. Integrated data offers improved insight and so improved opportunity for personal, scientific, economic or environmental benefits.

If you want to sell or buy access to data, go somewhere else.

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