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How do we create a data-sharing Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)?


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Many organizations have strict policies regarding data security and sharing. You may find it helpful to create a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for your data sharing needs. To figure out basic information to include in your MOU, think about the following questions:

  • What information would you like to access? (Know the data elements you need before you ask. You can determine these from considering your desired outcomes. Keep in mind that you probably don’t need everything.)
  • Why do you want these data?
  • How much data do you need? (Sometimes it is better to ask for partial data sets.)
  • Do you need data that includes information that could identify people (e.g., if you need future data from them)? Or would data without identifiable information work for your needs?
  • Who or what are the sources of information for these data?
  • Who will have access to these data?
  • How will you share these data?
  • What security measures are in place when storing data?
  • How long will you need access to these data?