On Wednesday, a new Industry Data for Society Partnership (IDSP) was launched by GitHub, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), LinkedIn, Microsoft, Northumbrian Water Group, R2 Factory and UK Power Networks. The IDSP is a first-of-its-kind cross-industry partnership to help advance more open and accessible private-sector data for societal good. The founding members of the IDSP agree to provide greater access to their data, where appropriate, to help tackle some of the world’s most pressing challenges in areas such as sustainability and inclusive economic growth.
In the past few years, open data has played a critical role in enabling faster research and collaboration across industries and with the public sector. As we saw during COVID-19, pandemic data that was made more open enabled researchers to make faster progress and gave citizens more information to inform their day-to-day activities. The IDSP’s goal is to continue this model into new areas and help address other complex societal challenges. The IDSP will serve as a forum for the participating companies to foster collaboration, as well as a resource for other entities working on related issues.
IDSP members commit to the following:
- To open data or provide greater access to data, where appropriate, to help solve pressing societal problems in a usable, responsible and inclusive manner.
- To share knowledge and information for the effective use of open data and data collaboration for social benefit.
- To invest in skilling a broad class of professionals to use data effectively and responsibly for social impact.
- To protect individuals’ privacy in all these activities.
The IDSP will also bring in other organizations with expertise in societal issues. At launch, The GovLab’s Data Program based at New York University and the Open Data Institute will both be partnership Affiliates to provide guidance and expertise for partnership endeavors.
As part of their work together, participating IDSP companies will launch a Data for Local Environments Challenge with the Open Data Institute. Using publicly available datasets and datasets shared or curated by the private sector, participants will explore how officials in cities, counties and municipalities can use these datasets to generate insights and solutions to improve their local environments, such as reaching their net zero goals. More about the data challenge can be found here. Registration will open in early 2023.
The IDSP will also foster connections between industry and the public sector, researchers and academics to better understand how industry data can improve their work. The partnership’s first engagement is with the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and the United States National Committee for CODATA (USNC/CODATA) to plan a Summit that will convene scholars, government, industry and nonprofit research organizations to surface opportunities to work together across disciplines, leverage the strengths of individuals organizations and move common agendas forward more rapidly. More information about the planning process can be found at Association of Research Libraries (ARL).
IDSP founders supporting statements:
GitHub – “GitHub is the global home for all developers, including data scientists and ML engineers who are increasingly using the platform for data sharing and collaboration. We’re proud to join the Industry Data for Society Partnership to help make private-sector data more broadly available. This will empower developers to work together across industry, academia and the public sector to address some of the world’s most pressing social challenges.” – Shelley McKinley, Chief Legal Officer, GitHub
HPE – “HPE is proud to be a part of this initiative because we support open data and the goals of the Industry Data for Society Partnership. At HPE, we want to democratize the access to data and provide guidance on how to approach this form of data sharing to solve big problems. For example, our work with sustainable agriculture has enabled farmers in developing countries to find the right data, at the right time, to be more productive producers. It is this kind of collaboration and sharing that can help overcome some of society’s most difficult challenges.” – Glyn Bowden, Chief Architect for AI and Data Science, HPE
LinkedIn – “Joining the Industry Data for Society Partnership is perfectly aligned with exactly what LinkedIn is all about — creating economic opportunity for the global workforce. The data we make available to partners for research and development purposes, what we call the Economic Graph, provides a vibrant representation of the global activity of more than 850 million professionals, as they connect, learn new skills, explore jobs, and gain the knowledge and insights needed to successfully pursue economic opportunity. We can’t think of a better time than now, or a more necessary moment, to use data to address the immediate needs of a changing world.” – Sue Duke, Vice President Global Public Policy, LinkedIn
Microsoft – “Making data more open and accessible can aid in the progress of solving today’s most urgent societal challenges, and that’s why we are a founding member of the Industry Data for Society Partnership. Over two years ago, Microsoft launched the Open Data Campaign to help close the data divide and extend the benefits of open data to organizations of all sizes. We know we can accomplish that by working together and make real progress toward addressing today’s most pressing societal challenges.” – Burton Davis, Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, Intellectual Property Group, Microsoft
Northumbrian Water Group – “At Northumbrian Water, we firmly believe in the power of data and have a long track record of using data to fuel innovation. Since our first open, annual Innovation festival back in 2017, we have run almost 200 sprints, hackathons and data dashes and most of these have been powered by data from our own company along with that of our peers and partners. We know there is more we can do and so we are incredibly excited to be an active member of this new partnership. We are looking forward to not only increasing the impact we can have together in addressing societal and environmental challenges but also to share our learning to help others do the same.” – Nigel Watson, Group Information Services Director, Northumbrian Water Group
R2 Factory – “Systemwide problems require systemwide collaboration. R2 Factory exists to foster collaboration between industry partners, to unlock the hidden value from data. Taking the lessons we learned from convening the Emergent Alliance — where over 50 corporates, individuals, NGOs and governments collaborated with data to aid pandemic recovery — and continuing to pursue that shared expertise for social good is really important to us. We’re delighted to be founding members of the Industry Data for Society Partnership and are excited to find out what we can achieve together.” – Ian Whitford, CTO, R2 Factory
UK Power Networks – “The power of data for any organization is in looking beyond its own boundaries and combining it with information from other sectors and developing fresh insights that will ultimately lead to action and long-lasting change. At a time when the global energy crisis is impacting us all, especially the most vulnerable, the IDSP has the potential to be a powerful tool for positive change.” – Matt Webb, Head of Enterprise Data Management, UK Power Networks
Affiliate organizations supporting statements:
The GovLab – “One important lesson we’ve learned about using data for good is the importance of collaboration and partnerships. There is an exponential return when organizations align their goals and pool their data resources and expertise. Collaboration also improves trust in how data is handled, as well as the legitimacy of the projects initiated. In other words, data partnerships are critical to unlocking data’s potential for societal benefit while limiting its risks and potential harm.” – Stefaan G. Verhulst, Co-Founder of The GovLab and Director of its Data Program
Open Data Institute – “The ODI is proud and excited to be an affiliate of the Industry Data for Society Partnership. The program represents the ambition and duty of the private sector to be at the forefront of driving positive social change through open data.
It is well known that businesses can create value by using third-party data to develop new products and services. But at the ODI, our research has shown that they can unlock more value for society by opening up the data they have collected. This will help address global issues, such as the climate crisis and the COVID pandemic.
As an affiliate, we will use our expertise to help shape the partnership’s plans and approach, and we look forward to offering guidance and support to its partners as they embark on new data sharing projects.” – Jack Hardinges, Head of Programmes at the Open Data Institute
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