FPF Best Practices and Contract Guidelines Help Companies Share Data with Academic Researchers


Does your company have data that could help academic researchers unravel the mysteries of human health, behavior, education, or other areas of study? Data held by private organizations has the potential to lead to scientific insights that can benefit society and improve lives – if it can be accessed in a responsible manner that respects personal privacy.

To that end, FPF has published a list of best practices for companies that are considering sharing personal data with academic researchers. The Best Practices for Sharing Data with Academic Researchers were developed by FPF’s Corporate Academic Data Stewardship Research Alliance, a group of more than two dozen companies and organizations whose work is supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

The best practices favor academic independence and freedom over tightly controlled research, and encourage broad publication and dissemination of research results, while protecting the privacy of individual research subjects. Specific best practices include having a written data sharing agreement, practicing data minimization, and developing a common understanding of relevant de-identification techniques, among many others.

In addition, FPF’s Corporate Academic Data Stewardship Research Alliance published Contract Guidelines for Data Sharing Agreements Between Companies and Academic Researchers. The guidelines cover best practices and sample language that can be used in contracts between a company that supplies data to one or more researchers for academic or scientific research purposes.

Supporting ethical data sharing to enable academic researchers to use data from corporations is a priority for FPF. In addition to creating the data stewardship alliance and publishing the best practices, FPF recently awarded the first Award for Research Data Stewardship and is creating Ethical Data Sharing Review Committees to provide independent review and oversight. You can learn more about these initiatives at FPF.org/data.