Data Rights and Responsible Data Working Group


GODAN is coordinating efforts to explore issues of open data, data ownership and data governance in the context of agriculture and nutrition. Two significant papers, addressing the issues involved, have already come out of the work: Responsible Data in Agriculture, and; Ownership of Open Data: Governance Options for Agriculture and Nutrition. Our next step is to convene a Working Group building on the outputs of these papers, and we intend to use the research as a catalyst to further debate and action.

The main objective of this Group is to develop a clearer position on data ownership and responsibilities, and to highlight the often complex legal issues related to open data in the areas of law, data protection, intellectual property rights, licensing contracts, traditional knowledge and personal privacy.

The aims of this group are:

  • To identify gaps and develop solutions through policy and legal frameworks to help ensure fair distribution of the benefits of open data
  • To motivate those involved in agriculture and nutrition to use open data and make it more readily available through analysing legal regulations and socio-political actors at play
  • To draw attention to issues, and initiate a constructive and productive discussion, and to produce tangible outcomes and solutions.
  • To look at systems of governance that support a fairer, more equal distribution of benefits, and where transactions are based on mutual interest and trust.
  • To strengthen the agricultural sector through greater collaboration, increasing awareness of open data rights, ownership issues and possible solutions.
  • To initiate further independent activities.

The Sub-Group on Codes of Conduct, Voluntary Guidelines and Principles Relevant for Farm Data Sharing (or Sub-Group on Data Codes of Conduct for short) was established in February 2019, in a collaboration between GODAN and the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA). It came about as part of a collective action plan from an expert consultation convened in Bonn, Germany in July 2018 by GODAN, the CTA and the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR). The sub-group is intended as a practical arm of the GODAN Data Rights and Responsible Data Working Group, and a means to inform and guide the activity of the parent group. FIND OUT MORE HERE

We are going to build our work on two pillars, looking at both developed and developing countries:

1a.  Africa

1b.  Asia

2a.  Europe

2b.  USA

2c.  Australia 

We will examine the different issues and gaps faced by these regional areas, and different approaches may be needed culturally, financially and politically. However, we will ensure that the legal approach focuses on all actors involved (for example, farmers, consumers and researchers).


Key Topics

  • Ethics
  • Policy
  • Soft law
  • Legislation
  • International Treaty
  • Ownership
  • Intellectual Property
  • Data rights
  • Privacy
  • Security
  • Data protection

We also plan to examine different actors:

  • Farmers
  • Farmers’ associations.
  • Governments/public sector.
  • Researchers
  • Private sector

The goal is to create a network that enables inclusive participation of all actors (including small stakeholders) in sustainable agri-food systems, through fairer data sharing.

We will explore how best practices implemented in some countries could be replicated, and used to benefit, other countries (taking into consideration financial barriers, climate change, culture and politics, all of which vary across countries and continents).

Taking good governance examples from local, national and regional model frameworks, we will look at how they can be used as an example for larger-scale legal systems.

Independent bodies can be used to inspect data-related practices, ensuring records are consistent and adhere to best practices along the entire value chain.



Request to join the Working Group discussions mailing list:

Working Group Contact: Foteini Zampati