Worldwide, the amount of data is increasing exponentially. Yet we still share only a small portion of all our data for reuse by others. Due to concerns about ownership, IP, authorship or competition. Uncertainty about security, privacy and data ownership makes sharing trusted data expensive, inefficient and legally cumbersome. This causes organizations to not share their data, leaving a valuable part of all that information undisturbed. How to turn the tide? Parties are often willing – or even have a considerable interest in – making data accessible to others. They want to do that under suitable conditions and while remaining in control. That is exactly what AMdEX is working on: ensuring and giving substance to data sovereignty. Axel Berg is innovation manager of the SURF Open Innovation Lab. SURF is the ICT cooperative for education and research in the Netherlands.
How did your interest in data sharing arise?
“Our SURF cooperative has a branch at the Amsterdam Science Park: there are many different parties here, from scientific research institutions to companies specialized in ICT. Within the Science Park we wanted to join forces – in the context of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) – and in particular with the trusted sharing of data, one of the biggest challenges of today. A data exchange, in analogy to the Amsterdam Internet Exchange (AMS-IX) is a solution. We look at how best to share sensitive data between parties in a trusted way for a specific purpose only. This way we can remove many obstacles to data sharing.”
How do you do that?
“Everyone involved in AMdEX sees that less data is being shared than is possible. The common benefit you could get out of it is not exploited enough. AMdEX is a trusted environment in which a sector or community shares its data: collaborations are supported via the infrastructure and organization of the AMdEX. At SURF, we mainly look at collaboration between the public and private domain, such as between research institutes and companies, but also between research institutes themselves. That is the interesting thing about such an exchange: it is very broad and sharing data not only applies to researchers from academia, but also, for example, to companies.”
In that case, the AMdEX can be applied to any sector
“Yes, AMdEX facilitates several digital ‘marketplaces’ that can co-exist. Different data is shared on each marketplace and under different conditions.