Call for Action: Building the Data Infrastructure We Need
Add your name below to list of concerned individuals calling upon major stakeholders to take seven key actions to unleash the potential of #datacollaboration in addressing the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and to improve preparedness for the future.
1. DEVELOPING A GOVERNANCE FRAMEWORK: Public actors, private actors, and civil society, worldwide should work together to develop and/or clarify a governance framework for the trusted reuse of privately-held data toward the public interest. This framework should include governance principles, open data policies, trusted data re-use agreements, transparency requirements and safeguards, and accountability mechanisms, including ethical councils, that clearly define duties of care for data accessed in emergency contexts and do not obligate new and additional data collection by the private sector.
2. BUILDING CAPACITY: Governments should increase the readiness and the operational capacity and maturity of the public and private sectors to re-use and act on data, for example by investing in the training, education, and reskilling of policymakers and civil servants so as to better build and deploy data collaboratives. Building capacity also includes increasing the ability to ask and formulate questions that matter and that could be answered by data. Such a list of priority questions and metrics could facilitate more rapid response by critical data holders.
3. ESTABLISHING DATA STEWARDS: Private, public, and civil society entities should create and promote the position of a Chief Data Stewards within organisations. Data stewards would be mandated to coordinate and collaborate with counterparts toward unlocking the public interest value of data, to protect potentially sensitive information, and to act on insights derived through data analysis.
4. BUILDING A NETWORK: Parties across sectors should establish a network of such data stewards. This community of practice can help to coordinate and streamline efforts and provide greater transparency on the current state of play with regard to data stewardship and collaboration. Its mission, objectives, participants, and criteria for participation should all be made open to the public, and its activities should be undertaken in an inclusive manner.
5. ENGAGING CITIZENS: Citizens should be encouraged to co-create data collaboratives for well-defined and documented public interest purposes of their choice. To enable this, governments and corporations should promote user-friendly crowdsourcing and data donation mechanisms. These mechanisms should clearly articulate to citizens how their data will be responsibly used, re-used, and protected. In general, efforts should be made to make more transparent to citizens what the benefits of data collaboration could be for them personally and for society at large.
6. UNLOCKING FUNDS: Funding from a variety of sources, including crowdfunding, should be unlocked and sustained without the use of heavy-handed procurement. Funders should support data systems and infrastructure with an eye toward future crises as well as current challenges. A system of pre-qualified recipients should be developed that can facilitate rapid access to resources during the first stages of a crisis. Other incentives for data collaboration should also be established, including the public recognition of private companies and civil organisations that engage in data collaboratives. Existing funding schemes should take societal priorities into account when making decisions on how to allocate funds or create incentives.
7. PROMOTING TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATION: With the support of governments and foundations, data scientists and researchers should co-design and co-develop technologies needed to implement data collaboration at scale and in a responsible and sustainable way. This collaborative research should be as transparent and interdisciplinary as possible, and could focus initially on core needs such as privacy-preserving technologies, security technologies, and access-control technologies.
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