Guiding Principles

The IDSA Rulebook is based on a set of generic principles and underlying values. The key aspects are related to the governance of data spaces and the roles actors can have.

Not reinventing the wheel: use proven technologies

Integrate existing systems: integrate data spaces into existing systems to the extent possible

Integrate or use existing standards: align national and international specifications, technical standards, and established processes

Industry and domain independent: make data spaces applicable as a concept as a horizontal standard

Easy to use: low deployment threshold for companies and initiatives with a focus on portability and replicability

IDSA applies four key governance principles: accountability, transparency, fairness, and responsibility. As a result, IDSA offers free use of IDS specifications and related open resources for all, open governance processes in which everyone can participate, transparent decision making - preferably by consensus.

Overarching considerations of data spaces


Data and technology -- and also data spaces -- are both: never neutral and always neutral. They are never neutral in the sense that they are always parts of complex, human systems which reflect the values of the people involved. Data sets are collected by people, who decide what data to collect and how. These choices, in turn, are linked to values, they indicate what data people consider important to measure and collect.

Data and technology are also always neutral in the sense that they can be used for purposes that support or go against the values of their users and their societies. A classic example of this is nuclear technology, which gave us both the atomic bomb and radiation therapy to treat cancer.

To identify these aspects for data spaces we use PESTLE analysis - a tool to describe a macro picture of the environment of a data space. PESTLE stands for political, economic, social, technical, legal and environmental. For each section, we describe the (European) values embedded in IDS-compliant data spaces and do not prescribe specific purposes for which these data spaces may be used. This allows users of this Rulebook to critically reflect the values embedded in their own data space.

Solid values and ethics are fundamental to any technical implementation; their absence has led to catastrophic effects on humanity. The use of data needs good governance goals. We are deeply rooted in the European values of freedom, inviolability, privacy, security, humanity, and respect (without claiming to be exhaustive) and therefore include considerations of values and ethics into the Rulebook, and carefully choose the path to the data economy weighing the impact on people and societies.

P Political

The political perspective in the European Union

Data sharing and data sovereignty are at the core of the European Data Strategy^11^ (2020). Recognizing that industrial and commercial data are key drivers of the digital economy, the strategy uses "sovereignty" to describe its ambition to keep control of data with those who generate it.

Data spaces are an important means to strengthen digital sovereignty - a cornerstone of the European Digital Decade proposal^9^ as highlighted by EC President Ursula von der Leyen's State of the Union Address to the European Parliament in 2020^10^. Data spaces will empower data users and data holders to establish a healthy balance between the rights and interests of all stakeholders involved. This is outlined in the European Data Strategy - with the objective of a wide use of data.

The European Commission's policy proposal "Path to the Digital Decade" aims for a digital transformation of the Union by 2030. The challenges and objectives are described in the Commission's "2030 Digital Compass"^12^. The Commission proposes several legislative instruments to implement the European Data Strategy, notably: i) the Data Governance Act (DGA, Nov 2020) with a focus on ensuring trust in data transactions, ii) the Digital Markets Act (DMA, Dec 2020) regulating data based market power; iii) the AI Act (2021) with implications for AI data governance and data management; iv) the Implementing Act on high-value data sets under the Open Data Directive to further unlock the socio-economic potential of data as a public good, and v) the Data Act (DA, Feb 2022) targeting a wide spectrum of topics, including facilitating access to and use of data by businesses and consumers, and enabling public sector bodies and institutions to use data held by enterprises in exceptional circumstances.

Challenges stem from the complexity of the legal framework (EU vs. national, horizontal vs. sector-specific, economic law vs. fundamental rights, etc.) and competing relationships between stakeholders in data spaces. This highlights the need for legal interoperability: a common understanding of the evolving legal environment, a common vocabulary (legal-technical) and facilitating the implementation of the balance between policy objectives. The realization of data spaces requires policies that can adapt to respective specificities and their dynamic evolution over time, while aiming at a common European data space.

Finally, in the "EU Strategy on Standardization setting global standards in support of a resilient, green and digital EU single market" the EU emphasizes the importance of the success of European actors in standardization at international level. It will strengthen Europe's competitiveness, technological sovereignty, and will protect EU values. One of the priority areas identified is "data standards enhancing data interoperability, data sharing and data reuse in support of the Common European Data Spaces".

E Economic

The overarching goals for IDSA include making more data available to more organizations and ecosystems, recognizing that the availability and sharing of data is a critical success factor for local, national, and international economies.

Economic benefits happen in a data space at two levels: directly through sharing or accessing data that is of value to participants (micro-level: ego-system) and indirectly through supporting/creating a larger ecosystem that benefits all participants (macro-level, eco-system).

A digitally supported value chain can facilitate collaboration and improve resilience by identifying deviations or threats early (for example resource scarcity in a value chain). Access to even broader collaboration can unlock potential when multiple data spaces are connected.

In terms of fairness, benefits can be spread throughout the value chain. Often large benefits can be achieved at a later stage at the expense of efforts at an earlier stage. Consensual agreements in the data space can make this mutually beneficial.

S Social

The social values embedded in the work of IDSA data spaces are European ideals such as freedom, inviolability, privacy, security, humanity, and respect. Issues such as gender equality, socio-economic opportunity, and cultural representation are relevant wherever data is collected. Exactly how these values manifest in each data space is up to the implementer to decide - in collaboration with all stakeholders. The needs and priorities of specific economies, ecosystems, and communities vary. Our overarching societal value commitment is pluralism of interoperable and mutually respectful data spaces whose values and priorities are defined in an inclusive manner.

T Technical

Data spaces should be built on widely established and openly accessible protocols, standards, and technical frameworks. Interoperability standards define the boundaries between two objects that have gone through a consensus process. The consensus process should have a narrow technical focus (like W3C, OASIS). W3C has developed processes and policies that promote the development of high-quality, consensus-based standards, many of which power the web and enterprise computing. ISO and IEC are adopting W3C technology and guidelines for a broad industry use.

When standards are adopted successfully, best practices show that the industry needs to establish feedback loops. Community-driven open source implementations demonstrate the feasibility of the defined reference architecture. An MVDS (Minimum Viable Data Space) gives a first impression of how technologies can be plugged together. This is the first step to starting projects for specific use cases and gives feedback to the developer community. Market needs will drive the interfaces of commercial products and services. The feedback loop between use cases and used data products will improve interoperability.

Distinguish between mandatory (MVD) and optional requirements (discuss essential principles and optional one)

The "Public money, public code" campaign wants legislation to require that publicly funded software developed for the public sector to be made publicly available under a free and open source software license. IDS-G is where the developer community finds the reference implementation of all components - available under free licenses. We recommend hosting all technical developments there and ask to contribute to further development.

There is a strong connection between political and legal factors. Legislation follows political decisions. Besides knowing the existing legislation, the impact of new and planned regulations based on political developments must be taken into account. Political and social sentiments need to be considered.

Legal fields to bear in mind when sharing data include antitrust/competition, data protection and security, copyright, patents/intellectual property. The European Data Strategy mentioned above brings a higher level of regulation to data sharing in the EU, including the Data Governance Act (DGA), the Proposal for Data Act (DA-E), the Digital Markets Act (DMA), the Digital Services Act (DSA) and the AI Act. If a data space operates globally the legal framework becomes more challenging since each country has its own rules and regulations.

E Environmental

Data usage - collecting, processing, or federation - has a huge and growing impact on our planet. The EU Data Strategy states that making more data available and improving data use is essential to address societal, climate and environmental challenges, contributing to a healthier, more prosperous and sustainable society. It will lead, for example, to better policies to achieve the objectives of the European Green Deal. At the same time, the current environmental footprint of the ICT sector is estimated at 5 to 9% of the global electricity consumption and more than 2% of all emissions, a large part of which is due to data centers, cloud services and connectivity. The EU's digital strategy "Shaping Europe's digital future" proposes green transformation measures for the ICT sector.

The choice of implementation design can have a significant impact on the energy consumption of digital tools. We strongly recommend an ongoing assessment of the key components and technology that determine the energy profile of data spaces and services. For distributed ledger technologies, for example, the main factors affecting energy consumption are the ability to control participation and the consensus algorithm. While cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin waste resources, other approaches may be more energy efficient than existing payment systems.

When developing data spaces special attention should be paid to sustainable digital technologies. AI-based services and state-of-the-art data mining technologies can increase resource efficiency, optimize supply chains, improve coordinate sector coupling and thus lower emissions and add value. Avoiding rebound effects with digital technologies is an important goal. Continuous monitoring and sustainable design should ensure that the use of digital technologies has a net positive impact on the climate footprint.

Layers of data space governance

The layers of data space governance (Figure 4) are inspired by the Design Principles for Data Spaces[^7] publication. This was developed in the context of the OPEN DEI project funded by EU where data spaces experts teamed up to define cross-sectoral principles for building data spaces.



Data space instance governance

Executes and implements the governance practices and rules of a data space instance. Oversees data space functions and the rules.​

Data space ecosystem governance​

Defines the rules for the data space instance. Creates the intra data space trust between collaborating organizations. Complements standardization and regulation focusing on business-driven rules. Defines the inter data space interoperability practices.​

Data space domain governance​

Establishes sector-specific data space principles and mechanisms including semantic interoperability and domain-specific regulation. Leaves room for geographical differences while supporting maximum interoperability.​

Soft infrastructure governance​

Brings all the generic data space building blocks and concepts together, defines the legal basis and creates the common framework on which all data spaces are built.​

Table: Four Layers to describe data spaces governance

Data economy with digital sovereignty

Using IDS based frameworks, services and offerings guarantees data sovereignty for your business.

There are some common rules and guidelines:

  • Common definition on lifecycle agreements for IDS-based assets, the IDS standards and services. See appendix "Operational Agreements, Life Cycle".

  • General definitions of necessary processes for development, certification, onboarding, operation and usage. See appendix "Operational agreements. Processes".

Typical roles of an IDS based data space are described in more detail in a following chapter. Some papers will also address the different roles with examples of use cases and business models.

In summary, using IDS with its data sovereignty is a competitive advantage for your own business and quite easy to do, since everything is well prepared. The IDSA website provides all information. A hotline can help with questions (

Data Space Governance Framework

The Data Space Governance Framework is the defined set of technical policies, business rules, and regulations that participants in a data space have to adhere to. It is the core agreement between all parties, which defines a data space. The Data Space Governance Authority is mandated to maintain and enforce the Data Space Governance Framework.

The functional requirements section explains how such a framework needs to be translated into a common set of policies.

Role models

Roles in this Rulebook describe functions, and no status. The model definition of roles should provide clarity about tasks and capabilities and support the understanding of architectures and interfaces. Roles may not always exist in their pure form - mixed forms are often experienced by participants in data spaces - and new or more specific roles will emerge over time. In this section we define the most important and common roles without claiming to be exhaustive. In practice, it has proven useful to first implement the essential roles that are necessary for the data space to function. Three roles should be established first: provider, consumer, and intermediary services.

Data consumer (essential)

The term data user means a natural or legal person who has lawful access to certain personal or non-personal data and has the right, including under Regulation (EU) 2016/679 in the case of personal data, to use that data for commercial or non-commercial purposes.

Data provider (essential)

The term data holder means a legal person, including public sector bodies and international organizations, or a natural person who is not a data subject with respect to the specific data in question, who has the right to grant access to or to share certain personal data or non-personal data in accordance with applicable Union or national law.

Service Provider (intermediary, operator, value-adding services)

In a data space multiple service providers can offer optional capabilities to enable data sharing and data transactions. Some services may be considered as essential, depending on the data space governance framework. Those may be services required to operate a data space, to intermediate in data transactions, or support the value creation process in a data space. Fundamentally, all such service providers are considered to be a participant in a data space and therefore bound to the agreed policies and rules of a given data space.

Operators provide essential services to a data space like Trust Services. Such services are typically mandated by the Data Space Governance Authority and are agreed as service providers for a given data space. Nevertheless, the agreement on such operators may be derived from a certain regualation, that needs to be implemented by a data space governance scheme.

Intermediary service aims to establish commercial relationships for data sharing between a number of data holders and data users. This is done through technical, legal, and other means; it includes to exercise the rights of data subjects in relation to personal data; it excludes at least the following:

  • services that obtain data from data holders and aggregate, enrich, or transform the data to add value and then license it to data users, without establishing a commercial relationship between data holders and data users

  • services that focus on the mediation of copyright-protected content

  • services exclusively used by one data holder to enable the use of the data held by that data holder, or used by multiple legal people in a closed group, including supplier or customer relationships or contracted collaborations, in particular those who want to ensure the functionalities of objects and devices connected to the IoT (Internet of Things)

  • data sharing services offered by public sector bodies that do not establish commercial relationships.

Such intermediaries may be regulated by local governments like the DGA in the European Union. A detailed analysis can be found in the paper Reflections on the DGA and Data Intermediaries.

Value-added service providers act as a participant in the data space and do therefore stick to the agreements in a data space. Such services aim to enable the value-creation process with a broad set of basic or advanced data processing services. Such optional functionalities are described in the functional requirements section and in the DSSC Blueprint Version 1.

Additional Roles in a Data Space

The DSSC Blueprint Version 1.0 provides a sophisticated anaylsis of additional roles in data spaces, which are not subject of the IDSA Rulebook. Further information on such roles are available in the DSSC glossary. Those roles are grouped into the key analysis areas of the DSSC Blueprint, legal, organizational, business, and technical.

Such roles originate from regulations, like GDPR or DGA:

  • Data Rights Holders are natural or legal persons, holding rights on the data.

  • Data Recipients are legal or natural persons that act as data consumers and data users.

  • Data Users are natural or legal persons, which use the data under the given policies and regulations.

  • Data Subjects are defined in GDPR.

  • Data Intermediation services or Data Intermediaries are subject of the Data Governance Act. (see Reflections on the DGA and Data Intermediaries)

Core Roles

  • Data Transaction participant, the term Data Transaction needs further clarification to be integrated in the IDSA Rulebook.

  • Data Space Governance Authority is described in detail in the remainder of the IDSA Rulebook.

  • Data Rights Holder and their intermediaries are not covered in the IDSA Rulebook.

  • Data Provider are covered in the IDSA Rulebook above.

  • Data Recipient are covered as Data Consumers in the IDSA Rulebook above.

  • Data Space Participant are described in the IDSA Rulebook.

Services & service provider roles

  • Data space enabling Service, see section above.

  • Data space intermediary, see section above.

  • Connection-providing Intermediary is not described in the IDSA Rulebook.

  • Personal data Intermediary are not described in the IDSA Rulebook.

  • Clearing house service providers are described in the IDS RAM and subject of the obverservability capability in the functional requirements section of the IDSA Rulebook.

  • Marketplace and other value creation services are covered in the IDSA Rulebook above and in the optional capabilites section of the functional requirements.

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