Data Sharing Agreement Development Guidelines

Read our guide to developing a data sharing agreement (DSA), which brings clarity to what can and cannot be done with the data you are sharing as the owner or accessing as the requester.

Our Data Sharing Agreement Development Guidelines help those wishing to share data and those wanting to access the data understand when a data sharing agreement (DSA) is required, what is typically covered in it, and how you should go about producing it.

A data sharing agreement is an agreement between 2 or more entities (most likely legal entities) that are providing and receiving data. It specifies the conditions under which the data will be shared and documents what can and cannot be done with the data, giving clarity and certainty to all parties. It can be seen as a set of rules around how the data can be accessed, shared and reused. 

Creating a data sharing agreement helps the data provider to meet their legal and ethical obligations to protect the data from accidental misuse. It can also protect the rights of the data custodians and provide clarity on data usage for the recipient of the data.


  1. Document Purpose
  2. What Is a Data Sharing Agreement?
  3. When Are Data Sharing Agreements Needed?
  4. Common Types of Data Sharing Agreements
  5. Common Components of a Data Sharing Agreement
  6. Creating a Data Sharing Agreement
  7. When to Start Developing a Data Sharing Agreement
  8. Summary
  9. Glossary

The 1, 2, 3 of Data Sharing Agreements: A Webinar

In light of the questions we received around data sharing agreements, we ran a webinar in May 2023 where we explained the Data Sharing Agreement Development Guidelines and guest speakers shared their experience with DSAs. View the slides and watch the recording:

The webinar was held in collaboration with the Australian Sensitive Data Interest Group.

Notes on Data Sharing Policies

A data sharing agreement is different from a data sharing policy (DSP), which lays out, in general terms, how an organisation or group will respond to requests to share its data.

When a data sharing request is made, the provider’s data sharing policy will inform the process by which the provider receives the request, how and by whom the request is assessed, and the conditions under which the provider is willing to make the data available. These conditions will be reflected in the data sharing agreement between the data provider and the data requester. A data sharing agreement can therefore be seen to instantiate the data provider’s data sharing policy.

The ARDC has another set of guidelines for developing a data sharing policy. Read the guidelines.

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