A Data Commons for Food Security

Jeremiah Baarbé, Meghan Blom, and Jeremy de Beer
Publication Date: 20 June 2017

We propose a ‘data commons’, formed through a licensing model that allows farmers to benefit from the datasets to which they contribute. Agricultural data is globally recognized for its importance in addressing food insecurity. This data is generated and used by a value chain of contributors, collectors, and consumers. Our licensing model addresses the crisis caused by a lack of data ownership rights for contributor farmers. Using the IAD framework we consider five case studies. These studies explore how John Deere, Plantwise, and Abalobi license data collection and how Creative Commons and the Open Data Commons license data distribution. Supported by an independent organization, our license supports SME data collectors, who need sophisticated legal tools; contributors, who need engagement, privacy, control, and benefit sharing; and consumers who need open access. Market forces encourage participation in the data commons by granting users the ability to display a social certification mark.