Responsible data

Responsible data governance

Data sharing is an important condition for digital innovation in the agri-food domain. However, in practice it is challenging to realise trusted data sharing.

While some kinds of data are protected by regulation (such as privacy law or competition law), farm data usually do not fall under either of these laws. Free access to and flow of this data is therefore fostered, as having access to it is thought to empower businesses and foster research and innovation. 

In the past years, however, it has also become abundantly clear that farmers often do not trust others with their data. The free flow of farm data is therefore far from reality. Farmers suspect, for example, that agribusinesses will re-use farm data to develop new products and services which will benefit the agribusinesses but not the farmer. Furthermore, farmers suspect agribusinesses may sell their farm data to third parties or use them for profiling or as pre-information before making investments on the stock market.  Farmers are also often afraid that farm data will be used to publicly penalize them in case they do not live up to public expectations regarding protection of the environment or animal welfare. These are all reasons farmers may have for not trusting others with their data. But other stakeholders in the value-chain may not trust others with their data either, such as input suppliers, food processors, logistic managers, retailers, or consumers.  

Data sharing therefore demands governance, which is attuned to the values and concerns of everyone involved in data sharing..

What do we offer?

Wageningen Economic Research offers research, trainings and services based on scientific expertise on digital ethics and responsible research and innovation. Specifically, around (food and farm) data sharing, we have built up a lot of expertise in previous projects.

Our work on data sharing and data governance is rooted in interaction with policy actors, tech businesses, farmers, and researchers in large-scale innovation projects. We can help you find an appropriate answer to data sharing issues that responds to the values and concerns of various stakeholders.

To read more about what we can do, visit our theme page “Ethics and Responsible digitalization”.


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