Tilburg Law and Economics Center

Governing Data as a Resource

Date: Time: 00:00 Location: Pavilion S 8, Simon building

The Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and Society (TILT) and the Tilburg Law and Economics Center (TILEC) are pleased to announce a workshop on ‘Governing Data as a Resource’ on 22 November 2019 at Tilburg University, the Netherlands.

Call for Papers         * Extended Deadline for submissions: 18 August 2019


While an increasing number of legislative and policy initiatives across the globe target the functioning of data markets, key foundational questions about possible governance structures for data remain unresolved. Data is regarded as an essential resource for innovation, economic growth, and societal progress in various fields, ranging from health, agriculture and energy to intelligent transport systems, finance and smart cities. To unleash the full potential of data for the economy, mechanisms to create wider accessibility and reuse of data across private and public actors are now being devised in many areas of our lives. However, the design of adequate governance models for data is not a straightforward exercise, because there is a myriad of legal, economic, technical, and social interests to be reconciled.
Questions about data ownership and exclusive rights to data become increasingly complex as datasets typically consist of several types of information (personal, non-personal, machine-generated, organisational, public sector information) over which multiple parties hold overlapping entitlements (data protection and consumer rights of individuals, intellectual property rights of firms as well as confidentiality obligations between parties). The co-existence of such entitlements raises conceptual questions about how various forms of control over data (legal, contractual, technical) can be exercised in parallel and what governance structures should be designed to fully exploit the potential of data across the economy.
Can the classic tenets of private and public ownership still be applied to such forms of co-control over data? Or should other types of governance structures be considered, for instance ‘data commons’ or ‘data pooling’ where any member to the pool can access the resource with a right to exclude only non-members from its use? What is the appropriate role for governments and private ordering through market and social norms? And can any overarching lessons be drawn from industries where a form of data access or sharing has already been adopted? Or, to the contrary, is a more horizontal approach unachievable due to sector-specific differences?

The workshop aims to disentangle these issues mainly from a legal perspective, but we are happy to accommodate papers from other disciplines as well that draw insights for policy making.
Authors are asked to engage with one of the following research questions in their submission:

  • How can data ownership, benefit entitlements and exclusive rights to data be conceptualized in an economy where co-control of data is becoming the norm?
  • To what extent can data access regimes be seen as a regulatory alternative to stronger property or ownership rights in data?
  • How to design effective governance structures for data transactions, from public to private ownership as well as new structures such as ‘data commons’ or ‘data pooling’? What is or should the role of government and private parties be in setting up or maintaining them?
  • What regulatory or market mechanisms should be used to standardize technical data formats so as to implement data portability, data access or data sharing in practice?
  • What lessons can be drawn from industry and policy developments in specific sectors in Europe and around the world (including automotive, health, finance, energy, and agriculture) for the issues of data ownership, data access and data sharing more generally?


The workshop will take place at Tilburg University, the Netherlands, on 22 November 2019 and is planned for one full day. Regular presentations (20 minutes) will be followed by a discussant (10 minutes) and an open discussion (15 minutes).

Fees and sponsoring

The workshop is sponsored by Microsoft.
No conference fee applies. Reasonable travel expenses of speakers are reimbursed (economy class or equivalent). Hotel accommodation of speakers will be arranged and covered by the hosting institutes.


The deadline for submissions is Extended to 18 August 2019.
Papers should be submitted to Dr. Inge Graef at i.graef@tilburguniversity.edu. Long abstracts (minimum of 8 pages) are accepted, but full papers are preferred.
Authors of accepted papers will be notified by 31 August 2019. Speakers may be asked to discuss another paper.
Completed drafts of accepted papers are due by 31 October 2019, and will be circulated among the workshop participants.

Publication of the papers

When selecting the papers for inclusion in the workshop, we will give preference to original, non-published work. This is because we strive to publish good quality papers presented at the workshop in either an edited book volume or a special issue of a journal.
However, upon request we are able to accommodate papers that are under review, accepted, or published by another outlet. Authors should indicate at the time of submission if they do not wish to commit to publishing their paper in an edited book volume or special issue of a journal.

For questions about the workshop, please contact Dr. Inge Graef at i.graef@tilburguniversity.edu