Data Access Agreements

Data Access Agreements (DAAs) set out the “terms and conditions”, or the arrangements, between you and The University when you use spatial data that has been acquired through SAL and/or stored in the Spatial Data Repository. The University is the data custodian and acting on behalf of the spatial data owner/supplier of the spatial data set that you are using.

To enable the University to be party to any spatial data agreement, it is necessary for an appropriate delegate to see the licence before the data has been acquired. Acquisition of a spatial dataset via digital download is the same as agreement by signature on a paper agreement – this is known as a “click-wrap licence”.

For SAL / the University to act as a “custodial authority”, and perform the necessary governance checks on a dataset, there is a range of tasks that must be completed. Here is an example of some of the essential things that need to be done before SAL can physically acquire the data:

  • obtain a copy of the licence/terms & conditions and have it checked for suitability by an appropriate organisation delegate
  • determine whether it is a point-of-truth dataset
    • if it is not, is the post-processing/lineage clear and appropriately documented
  •   evaluate the supplied metadata and accompanying documentation for any other issues of organisational concern
    • if data has been sourced for a specific project, note issues that may be of interest to the project
  • Determine if there is likely to be sufficient storage space for the data if it is acquired,  and start making arrangements if not and data  acquisition is anticipated

For more complex situations, things may not be this straightforward!

If all this “getting things checked” seems like a lot of unnecessary fuss to you, there are a couple of things to consider:

  • Check out the Things to be Aware Of page, there are policies you should probably brush up on…
  • Think about how you would want your own IP respected and that by not checking the agreements you are committing you and your research teams too, you are not respecting that very IP!
  • Talk to people who deal with these licences regularly, the people who actually do read them, and find out what some of them actually say. You may well decide that having a team behind you on this stuff isn’t such a bad thing after all, even if it does make things slower than the instant “click of the mouse”  😉