What is Data Sovereignty?
Data sovereignty is the concept that information which has been converted and stored in binary digital form is subject to the laws of the country in which it is located.
Many of the current concerns that surround data sovereignty relate to enforcing privacy regulations and preventing data that is stored in a foreign country from being subpoenaed by the host country’s government.
The wide-spread adoption of cloud computing services, as well as new approaches to data storage including object storage, have broken down traditional geopolitical barriers more than ever before. In response, many countries have regulated new compliance requirements by amending their current laws or enacting new legislation that requires customer data to be kept within the country the customer resides.
Verifying that data exists only at allowed locations can be difficult. It requires the cloud customer to trust that their cloud provider is completely honest and open about where their servers are hosted and adhere strictly to service level agreements (SLAs).
Why is it so critically important?
The "serials crisis" evolved from the simple fact that research societies allowed commercial publishers to host the digital output of their research. This in effect gave the commercial publishers full possession of the digital objects produced from research. The publishers then took advantage of the possession of these digital objects by charging more and more money to download the objects after they had created monopolies.
Public academic research institutions should have intervened much earlier to prevent this by developing electronic data management plans that defined and prioritized the digital data produced by the institution. The data with very highest priority should have been the data produced by researchers and this high priority should have mandated that research data be kept locally on the institutions servers at all times.
In other words the sovereignty of research data should have been the highest priority of the research institution. This would have completely avoided the "serials crisis".