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This is a quick tool that you can use when examining the equity implications of your data relationship. To learn about data relationships and the interplay of price, value, ownership, and profit, check out the original article here

Data equity is about power dynamics and one of the most important dynamic in any data process is the type of relationship you are setting up with the people who are the source of your data. If you’re not quite ready to figure out exactly how to label your relationship (ugh labels, am I right?), we’d like to offer a few primer questions.

If your answer to any of these questions is “I don’t know”, then you’ve got some work to do.

At We All Count, we think that almost any style of data relationship (donor, seller, partner, investor, etc.) can be very equitable as long as it’s intentional, transparent, and both parties have some say in what kind of a relationship it is.


Price is what is paid for the data. It is distinct from profit, which is the result of the collection and use of the data. 

  • What is the price being offered for the data?

  • In what form?
    • Money
    • Discounts
    • Tax Incentives
    • Goods
    • Gift Cards
    • Other
  • Who is setting the price?
    • Is the price negotiable by the provider?
    • Does the provider have a competitive market of alternatives to sell to?
    • How does the economic pressure faced by the provider and the collector compare?
    • Is the provider empowered to walk away from a deal they don’t like?
  • Who is the payee? 
    • Are they the direct data source?
    • Are they going to be able to keep the payment in their culture/context/situation?
  • What is the payment structure?
    • One-time
    • Royalties
    • Percentage of project
    • Per-use
    • Other

Value is what the data is worth. Value to the provider and collector will likely be different. The value will likely change with accumulation, time, and processing.

  • What is the data worth to the collector?
    • What will the value be worth to the collector in the future?
  • What is the data worth to the provider?
    • Is there a sacred value to the data?
    • Is there a personal value to the data?
  • What value does the price of the data reflect?
    • Whose value?
    • At what point in the process?

  • Are the collector and the provider aware of the other’s current and potential valuation of the data?

Ownership covers the terms of the control, storage, access, and timeline of the data.

  • Who owns the data in this transaction?

  • Is the data being sourced from its original provider or a 3rd party?
    • What were the terms of the relationship of the original data transaction?
  • Will the provider of the data get:

    • Continued access to the data?
      • In what form?
        • Raw
        • Analyzed
        • Reported
    • Input into what is done with the data?
      • Meaningful control?
      • Veto power?
      • Involvement in meetings/decision making?
  • Can the provider provide this same data to other parties?

  • Can the collector provide this data to other parties?

  • Who is responsible for the privacy, security, and storage of the data?

  • Who else beyond the data provider and the collector will have access, input or ownership in this data relationship?

Profit is the result of the use of the data. It is typically the reason for having a data relationship in the first place. 


  • What is the expected form of the profit?
    • Knowledge/Information
    • Improvement to products, services, programs, decisions
    • Sellable data product
    • Data processing income (salary)
    • Power
    • Sellable dataset
    • Combination
    • Other
  • What is the expected amount of profit?

  • Will the provider expect any form of profit?
    • Is it guaranteed in any way?
  • Will the provider and collector experience similar or different levels and forms of profit?

  • Who else beyond the data provider and collector will profit from the relationship?