Data sharing agreements protect against misuse of data and encourage early communication between authorities on issues relating to data processing and use. Confidentiality and exclusion of liability: there must be a disclaimer for the accuracy of the data as well as a description of the data as well as the corresponding metadata. In addition, a statement on the disclosure of information to third parties is required. This is necessary because a non-federal authority may not be able to protect USGS information from disclosure and vice versa, because the USGS may be compelled to disclose information as part of a FOIA application, unless otherwise waived. Data sharing agreements are formal contracts that define in detail what data is shared and what data is used appropriately. Note that the details of these agreements may need to balance differences in management and differences in business practices. For example, how does an authority protect its data and what access can it allow through firewalls and security controls? How will the authorities inform each other if authorisations are changed? Which manager will be responsible for the data declared? „One of the challenges of the geographic data community is to promote data exchange and cooperation between multiple authorities and organizations at multiple levels of public, private and non-profit organizations. The success of inter-authority exchange and cooperation is based on the adoption of guiding principles, the identification of best practices and the recognition of challenges that may include political, scientific and technological issues. (National Geospatial Advisory Committee, 2011) Access rules: whether the data is online or not, the agreement must determine who has what rights to access the data, who has what rights to modify or modify the data, and what methods of access to the data are planned. The USGS cannot disclose or exchange records or data: The USGS Survey Manual Chapter 500.26 – Domestic Memorandum of Understanding states that „where applicable, there is a language [in the MOUs], such as: all data and information produced as a result of this Statement of Intent must be available for use by the USGS in connection with its ongoing programs. This includes, where appropriate, the publication of the results, except in cases that are prohibited for reasons of ownership and safety. If the partner is a foreign company that does not accept compliance with U.S. law, the agreements must go through the USGS Office of International Programs.
Data sharing agreements must include provisions on access and dissemination. It is not desirable to enter into a data-sharing agreement to disclose data protection information, as non-federal organizations are not subject to data protection law. Similarly, it is worth drawing the attention of the non-federal organization to the fact that federal authorities may be forced to disclose information under the FOIA. Authority: the authority under which the data exchange is carried out must be defined. Time limit and amendment: Where appropriate, a time limit for the agreement and a method for amending the agreement should be set. Such a period ensures that the agreement is subject to regular review. USGS Current Approaches to Documenting Data Exchange Agreements….