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How do data collaboration projects work?

Updated: Apr 18, 2023

The DCA enables charties, nonprofits, and corporate-for-good teams to host data crowdsourcing projects that result in datasets that they can make accessible for tech-for-good initiatives (dashboards, apps) while retaining 100% control.

How do data collabs work?

Hosting a data collab project is similar to co-writing a Google Doc where people compose the words while the software provides suggestions and automates access controls and backup.

Document Collaboration

Data Collaboration


Files hosted on shared document applications e.g. Google Docs

Datasets hosted on data collaboration platform e.g. Collaboration Hub


Produce better quality documents, more efficiently and with greater diversity of ideas

Produce better quality documents, more efficiently and with greater diversity of intelligences


People and software simultaneously add, edit, suggest, correct

People and software simultaneously add, edit, enrich, correct


Software supports auto-backup and auto-versioning

​Software supports auto-backup and auto-versioning


Document-level access controls

Data-layer access controls

​Use cases

​Business proposals, press releases, blog posts, policies

Reference data, web applications, dashboards, maps

What types of projects do data collabs support?

Data collab projects typically focus on one of the following domains:

  • Data Privacy and Data Protection

  • Sustainability & Cleantech

  • Public Health

  • Smart Cities

  • Finance & Open Banking

  • Public Education

  • Open Society

  • Agriculture & Food Security

How is the data used?

Owners are invited to grant the DCA access to their datasets for re-use in multiple digital solutions that are hosted in our Collaboration Hub, including:

  • Reference datasets, data catalogs

  • Dashboards

  • Precision maps

  • Web applications

All apps and dashboards are built using a pioneering Data Collaboration Platform so that the data is never copied and the controls set by data owners are never eroded.

Is there support for volunteers?

Yes. The Data Collaboration Alliance supports volunteers across a variety of project operations, including

  • Connecting data sources (e.g. spreadsheets, databases)

  • Setting up data tables / schemas

  • Creating data collection forms

  • Automating data governance / access controls

  • Building digital solutions e.g. dashboards, maps, web apps

Are there examples?

Sure! Check out these free anonymous apps-for-good that have been delivered as a result of data collab projects:

How is data protected?

Our development process complies with Zero-Copy Integration, a new national standard that defines the parameters for true data collaboration, including the elimination of app-specific databases and copy-based data integration.

The result is meaningful control for all data stakeholders and new digital solutions delivered with unprecented control, collaboration, and cost-effectiveness.

Getting started

We welcome applications from organizations who are interested in sponsoring a new data collab / app-for-good project.

We also offer sponsorship packages for the free applications already available in the app marketplace of our Collaboration Hub.


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