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Businesses share data for all kinds of reasons. Any data that is personal, confidential or sensitive in nature requires additional care and a well-documented process for what can be shared and how.
A data sharing agreement sets standards for the data sharing, covers what should happen to the data at each stage and helps both sides to be clear about their respective roles. Find out exactly when you might need one, what's usually included and how to write your own with free templates available online.
What is a data sharing agreement?
A data sharing agreement is designed to help businesses confidently share data in a way that is transparent, timely and safe. It is a formal contract that details what data is being shared and the appropriate use of the data.
Download this template at Lawpath
When should I use a data sharing agreement?
The main aim of a data sharing agreement is to define everything in writing before the sharing begins. Here are some instances that may prompt your business to use a data sharing agreement:
- Proprietary data is being shared between organisations
- One or more of the organisations require a data sharing agreement for compliance or regulatory purposes
- There is a need to document which party will be responsible for releasing data and what role the other party should take in assisting with this
- There is a need to document the appropriate use of data by either organisation
Data sharing agreement vs confidentiality agreement
When it comes to data sharing, these two documents can sometimes be confused. A data sharing agreement can include a section on non-disclosure or confidentiality as its purpose is to detail the appropriate use of the data.
A confidentiality agreement is an agreement in which two parties agree not to disclose certain information. This can include data but does not sufficiently cover the steps taken to protect the confidential data.
If necessary, it's much clearer to have two separate documents to ensure clarity in both instances of confidentiality and how you share data.
What does a data sharing agreement include?
While there will likely be sections that will be unique to your industry, these are the most common elements that are included in a data sharing agreement.
- The type of data that will be shared
- The parties participating
- The purpose of sharing the data
- The safeguards around the data and company privacy
- How the data can be used and if there are any exclusions
- When the agreement can be terminated
- The general provisions of the agreement
How effective is a data sharing agreement?
When implemented correctly, a data sharing agreement protects against the mishandling of data and encourages early communication among parties on questions of data handling and use.
Do I need a lawyer for a data sharing agreement?
No, you don't need a lawyer to prepare your data sharing agreement. You may want to consider legal counsel if you're dealing with large amounts of data or complicated third party relationships.
Get access to customisable data sharing agreement templates online
We update our data regularly, but information can change between updates. Confirm details with the provider you're interested in before making a decision.
How do I write a data sharing agreement?
You can certainly write a data sharing agreement on your own but a template will make life a lot easier. You can use one to draft your own or simply as a guide to help you know what elements to include.
If going at it alone, these are the sections that should be covered when writing your own data sharing agreement:
- The start date and duration of the agreement
- In what circumstances the agreement will come to an end
- What will happen to the data on termination
- Which party is responsible for updating and making corrections to the data when needed
- Any confidentiality and security provisions
- Charging provisions (if applicable)
- How disputes will be dealt with
- Any governing law and jurisdiction the agreement is meant to cover
Where to get free legal documents and templates like a data sharing agreement
- Lawpath. Lawpath is an online legal services website with many different document templates for important documents like data sharing agreements.
- Office of the National Data Commissioner. A department of the Australian Government that's responsible for streamlining how public sector data is used and shared. You can download a data sharing agreement template from its website for free.
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