Data Sharing Policy Development Guidelines

Read our guide to developing a data sharing policy (DSP), which can be crucial to good data management and the data governance framework for your research project.

Our Data Sharing Policy Development Guidelines provide information and guidance on developing a data sharing policy (DSP), a policy written by an organisation or a group to address: 

  • the types of data the agencies have in their custody 
  • the principles and strategy around the sharing of that data 
  • the governance and management procedures that should be followed when that data is being shared. 

It lays out, in general terms, how that organisation or group will respond to requests to share the data.

A data sharing policy should be agreed on whenever there is a need or an intention to share data created by a research project or projects. The policy ensures that all data requests are handled consistently and appropriately. It also ensures that both the data holder and potential data requesters understand the process of making and assessing requests.

These guidelines discuss the ‘how’ and ‘what’ of developing a data sharing policy, specifically how one can be created and what components it usually has.


  1. Document Purpose
  2. What Is a Data Sharing Policy?
  3. When Is a Data Sharing Policy Required?
  4. How to Create or Set Up a Data Sharing Policy
  5. Common Components of a Data Sharing Policy
  6. Summary

Notes on Data Sharing Agreements

A data sharing policy is different from a data sharing agreement (DSA), a formal agreement between a data provider and a data requester that refers to a specific case of data sharing.

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 agreement. Read the guidelines.

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