Data Sharing Toolkit

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Module 5

Sharing data through data licensing

5. women in a laboratory inspect a soil sample
Module 5

Is this investment proposing to share data?

Value can be created from data when it is collected, accessed, used and shared. 

Data sharing agreements and data licenses provide ways to safely share data and maximise its reuse. Without them legal permission and restrictions can be unclear to potential users and innovation suffers as a result.

eLearning Module

How to confidently read, understand and use data sharing agreements and data licenses.

Tools and Resources

This module explains the Agriculture Data Spectrum, and has a cheat sheet, three guides and a checklist.

What does good look like?

Does it demonstrate knowledge of existing best practice, and, the clearest and most open license as possible?

Module 5

eLearning Module

Login or sign-up for a free CABI Academy account to get started. In this module you will learn to:

  • Explain the benefit of wider data sharing to maximize findability and reuse of data
  • List the key fears that prevent data from being shared as openly as possible.
  • Categorize data into closed, shared and open
  • Explain the roles of data sharing agreements and data licenses in safeguarding data
  • List the key aspects of data sharing agreement and of a data license
  • Choose a license for data that maximizes the findability, reusability and safeguarding of data.
5. women in a laboratory inspect a soil sample
Module 5

Tools and Resources

Cheat Sheet

Sharing data through data licensing

All the key points from the eLearning module in one tidy document.

335 KB


The Data Spectrum: Agriculture

Helping explain the language of data sharing, and the difference between open, shared and closed.

484 KB


Data principles and policy

The guide offers a practical checklist for any multi-stakeholder investments, organizations or initiatives funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that require access, use of sharing of data. This guide incorporates best practice advice.

430 KB


Deciding how to provide access to data

Ensuring a FAIR and safeguarded approach, that minimizes harm: consider, consult stakeholders, and, apply a purpose-led approach to deciding the most appropriate way to provide access to data generated, used or shared.

726 KB


How to choose an open data license

Providing a simple, clear and relevant introduction to data licenses so organizations can make informed decisions, to enable data generated and used in funded research to be FAIR and as open as possible.

553 KB


Designing data sharing agreements

This guidance note will take you through steps to consider your data sharing needs, whether a data-sharing agreement is right for you and what to include.

375 KB

Module 5

What does good look like?


Is this investment proposing to share data?

Data Purposeful

The investment plans to share data with actors from multiple sectors (i.e. public, private, third sector) and to do so under a clear license that is as open as possible, drawing on a wide body of best practices and using existing well established and widely adopted data sharing platforms and standards to ensure the maximum findability and reuse of data.

Existing standards and best practices used within the data ecosystem have been identified. There is a clear plan to engage potential users to understand their needs.

Data Aware

The investment identifies a need to share data with external actors, but these are limited to specific stakeholders in a similar sector.

Methods of sharing data appear to be restrictive (e.g. data sharing agreements or license permissions). The need to consider formats and standards when sharing data has been identified and there is an intention to adopt existing standards and best practice. There is an awareness of needing to understand user needs.

Data Unintentional

The investment does not commit to sharing any data, even internally.


The investment appears to propose the creation of a new platform and/or standard as part of the project but doesn’t clearly articulate the need for one.

To find the definitions of these headings and see what good practice looks like across all seven modules: Download PDF

6. farm worker picking berries from a tree

Module 6

Minimising harmful impacts from data sharing

Have the risks of collecting, using and sharing (or not sharing) data been addressed?

Worries around data security and privacy, mistrust in data or other peoples use of data, can limit the extent to which people and organizations are willing to share data. The best way to minimize the harmful impacts of sharing data is to consider carefully in advance what those impacts are likely to be, and, how to avoid or reduce them.