Estimated reading time 3 min

Rulebook for data sharing – nine steps to get started

The idea that joy multiplies when shared also applies to data sharing networks. Data in itself is a worthless cost factor until it is processed into services. Shared data is a new success factor.


Saara Malkamäki

Specialist, Well-being solutions


Sitra’s rulebook is a toolkit aimed at business development professionals for generating new competitive edge using data.

Common rules establish trust

Data sharing ecosystems present larger value creation opportunities than the traditional value chain approach. Partners in a data network can access more diverse data and know-how and have improved capacity to scale up operations rapidly, reduce costs and optimise operations. An important gauge of success is that the members of a data network understand the value they collectively create, and that they abide by common rules.

Building new business in data-sharing ecosystems can nevertheless be difficult and expensive. Establishing confidence between partners takes time and even when there is a clear vision, the common means of achieving it may be elusive. There is a wide range of issues that need to be collectively agreed upon, and it can be difficult to know what they are.

The rulebook is an excellent toolkit for anyone who wants to generate business based on data sharing with partners.

The two most important tools of the rulebook are:

  1. Checklists consisting of control questions
  2. Agreement templates.

The checklists help you concentrate on the relevant issues when you decide on the content of agreements with your data network partners. The questions also help the parties take into account the most common business risks related to collaboration, as well as ethical viewpoints.

Agreement templates save time and effort and reduce costs associated, for instance, with using legal services.

Advantages of the rulebook at a glance

  • It contains the tools and framework for creating a data sharing network.
  • It helps set common rules for data sharing partnerships.
  • Signing agreements becomes easier when moving from bilateral agreements to an ecosystem’s founding agreement, and to the adoption of related agreement templates
  • Data shared under common rules creates value for the entire related network: the company/other party, customers, partners and other stakeholders.
  • It helps users make technical choices that support innovation.

How to use the rulebook

Starting to use the rulebook is easy. Simply follow these steps:

  1. Decide on the data network’s collaborative goals and each party’s roles in it.
  2. Get to know the rulebook.
  3. Think about how the main content of the rulebook has been taken into account in the joint work of the data sharing network.
  4. From the checklist, select the questions that apply to your network.
  5. Answer the control questions section by section: 1) business, 2) legal issues, 3) technology, 4) data.
  6. For each question, think about what needs to be done next and who will do it.
  7. What ideas does the rulebook’s code of conduct bring to mind? Start by assessing the level of your ethical data sharing practices by using the related control questions. Then agree on the key principles and values related to co-operation.
  8. Get to know the rulebook’s agreement framework and templates.
  9. Amend and supplement the agreement templates when necessary.

As a result you and your partners will have the rules of your data network in a single document plus the necessary agreement templates ready for use. Everything you need has been thought of.

Towards fair data markets

The rulebook is one of the tools in Sitra’s fair data economy IHAN project. The rulebook is being continuously developed based on feedback. The goal during 2021 is to create an online toolkit from the rulebook. In the spring 2021, Sitra will be leading a project to develop the Fair Data Economy Score self-assessment online tool, which will help companies measure their sustainable data use and subsequently overhaul their operations.

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