A Licensing Model and Ecosystem for Data Sharing


Project Summary

“A Licensing Model and Ecosystem for Data Sharing” is a spokes project led by researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Brown University, and Drexel University, as part of the Northeast Big Data Innovation Hub.

We are addressing data sharing challenges that are too frequently held up due legal matters, policies, privacy concerns, and other challenges that interfere with finalizing an agreement.

Sharing of data sets can provide tremendous mutual benefits for industry, researchers, and nonprofit organizations. A major obstacle is that data often comes with prohibitive restrictions on how it can be used.  Beyond open data protocols, many attempts to share relevant data sets between different stakeholders in industry and academia fail or require a large investment to make data sharing possible.  

We are addressing these challenges by: 1) Creating a licensing model for data that facilitates sharing data that is not necessarily open or free between different organizations, 2) Developing a prototype data sharing software platform, ShareDB that will enforce agreement terms and restrictions for the licenses developed, and (3) Developing and integrating relevant metadata that will accompany the datasets shared under the different licenses, making them easily searchable and interpretable.

“A Licensing Model and Ecosystem for Data Sharing” is also linked with the Northeast Data Sharing Group, comprising of many different stakeholders to make the licensing model widely accepted and usable in many application domains (e.g., health and finance). 


Research supported by National Science Foundation/IIS/BD Spokes/Award #1636788

NSF 2016 award for Big Data Spokes

Data Sharing Agreements

We are collecting examples of data sharing agreements, licenses, partnerships, and contracts as part of this effort. Please send examples to Metadata Research Center Research Assistant, Sam Grabus. All identifying information will remain confidential.

Publications and activities

  • "Enabling Seamless Data Sharing in Industry and Academia" workshop, Drexel University, Sept. 29-30, 2017 (Workshop Report)

  • Binnig, C. Data sharing project. 2017 Annual Workshop of the Northeast Big Data Innovation Hub, February, 24, 2017 (Powerpoint Slides)

  • Grabus, S. (2017, March 15-17). ShareDB: A Licensing Model and Ecosystem for Data Sharing. Poster presented at the 2017 Joint PI Meeting of NSF BIGDATA and NSF Big Data Hubs & Spokes, Washington, D.C. (Poster)

Research Team

Sam Madden, Lead PI, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Carsten Binnig, PI, Brown University

Sam Grabus, Doctoral student, Graduate Research Assistant, Drexel University

Jane Greenberg, PI, Drexel University

Famien Koko, Graduate Student, MIT

Hongwei Liu, Post-Graduate Researcher, Drexel University

Tim Kraska, PI, Brown University

Danny Weitzner, PI, MIT