Digital economy

OECD expert workshop: Enhanced access to data - Reconciling risks and benefits of data re-use


2-3 October 2017 
Danish Business Authority, Copenhagen, Denmark

The use of data, in combination with data analytics (software), can generate social and economic value. It can help boost productivity and improve or foster new products, processes, organisational methods and markets – which is referred to as “data-driven innovation” (DDI). Firm-level studies suggest that using data and analytics raises labour productivity faster than in non-users firms by approximately 5-10%. Data and analytics can also help address global challenges, including climate change and natural disasters, health and ageing populations, water, food, and energy security, and mass urbanisation.


Data is a form of capital that cannot be depleted and that can be re-used for a theoretically unlimited range of purposes. Its re-use across the economy provides beneficial spill-overs, whereby data can be re-used to open up significant growth opportunities, or to generate benefits in ways that could not be foreseen when the data were created. This underlines the role of data as a key infrastructure for 21st century knowledge economies, an infrastructure to which access will be a critical social and economic policy question.


Despite growing evidence of its economic and social benefits, re-use of data across organisations, sectors and countries remains below its potentials, as individuals, businesses and governments often face barriers to data re-use which may be compounded by reluctance to share. The social and economic risks associated to the possible revelation of confidential information (i.e. personal data and trade secrets) are often indicated as the main reason behind this reluctance to share.


Enhanced access to data is seen as an effective means through which the social and economic value of data can be maximised, while addressing the risk and challenges of data access and re-use. To kick off the first phase of the OECD project on enhanced access to data: reconciling risks and benefits of data re-use, this expert workshop addressed knowledge gaps in the aforementioned challenges to help move the policy agenda further and contribute to identifying best practices. In particular, it examined how enhanced access to data can maximise social and economic benefits, while addressing legitimate concerns of individuals and organisations (including governments). Four approaches for enhancing access to data were discussed in dedicated sessions on open data, community-based data sharing agreements, data markets and data portability.

The workshop background report was an initial draft of the November 2019 publication .

Workshop programme (pdf) |  Bio book (pdf)


The general questions addressed at the workshop were:

  • What are the conditions under which specific approaches are more appropriate?
  • What promising and sustainable business models are emerging?
  • What are common, domain and approach-specific, governance challenges and solutions?
  • What possible or further role could governments and private sector play, respectively?
  • Where is further international cooperation needed and what role should the OECD play?

For further information on the event, please contact: [email protected].