International Data Spaces

Sovereign and secure data exchange: International Data Spaces (IDS) enable open data marketplaces for the economy and serve as blueprints for secure data ecosystems.

Oct. 01, 2015 to Mar. 31, 2022

Task and Problem: Data sovereignty as a key capability in the age of digitalisation

The world has never been as connected as it is today. But how do we shape the digital future in which data is the lifeblood of every company? The International Data Spaces initiative (formerly Industrial Data Space) creates a secure data space which enables companies from different sectors and of all sizes to manage their data assets with confidence. The International Data Spaces are not limited by geographical borders, but have a European respectively international orientation.

Solution Approach

The architecture developed by the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft creates a framework which enables the data-providing company to exchange data with other companies while always maintaining control through the dissemination and use of the data. It thus creates the framework conditions for genuine data sovereignty in an industrial context and serves as an essential component of a data infrastructure in and for Europe.


Fraunhofer FOKUS supports the IDS project with its expertise in the areas of certification, open data solutions, testing and verification.

The Digital Public Services business unit works on the further development of the International Data Spaces with the following research priorities:

Certification of technical core components

In International Data Spaces, data should be securely exchanged and provided with usage restrictions. This requires a trustworthy environment for enforcing the rules of usage. The certification process is central to achieving this objective. In addition to the certification of the participating companies, all technical core components of the International Data Spaces in particular must be tested and certified in accordance with the strict certification criteria. As one of the core members of the working group of the International Data Space Association (IDSA), Fraunhofer FOKUS has driven the development of the IDS certification scheme. The Institute's experts for product certification have contributed to the development of the test criteria and the certification process in recent years and have played a leading role in all five IDS-ready labels awarded to date.

Interaction of the FAIR principles with the IDS architecture

The FAIR principles (FAIR = Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) are being adopted by a growing number of players in industry who want to make their data stocks more effectively usable within their organisations and with their cooperation partners. In addition, the establishment of national (NFDI = National Research Data Infrastructure) and international (EOSC = European Open Science Cloud) infrastructures for research data is promoted in order to boost research and innovation by collecting large quantities of FAIR data. The IDS infrastructure is to be harmonised with these principles in order to meet the increasing demand for FAIR data exchange.

Establishment of an IDS open research data ecosystem

A large number of portals and platforms (e.g. Zenodo or PANGEA) exist worldwide for the open provision and metasearch of research data and publications. Due to the specific aspects and requirements of the various research domains, this diversity makes sense and is actively encouraged. Nevertheless, centralised and harmonised access to this decentralised data ecosystem is of great practical relevance. In future, FAIR IDS components should act as a basis and an overarching standard for the transparent and self-determined exchange of research data.

IDS Open Data Ecosystem

The IDS Open Data Ecosystem, consisting of the Open Data Connector and the Open Data Broker, forms the interface between the IDS and the Open Data domains.

The Open Data Connector can be used within this system to provide data. On the one hand, the Open Data Connector can be used to integrate already published data from existing portals. On the other hand, the connector offers data producers the opportunity to provide their data, which was previously stored in internal systems, openly.

In this ecosystem, the Open Data Broker is the central point of contact for locating open data. The connectors register their data offerings with the broker. The data can then be retrieved both in IDS-compliant machine-readable form and visually through an open data portal view.

Open Data is not only a use case for companies to integrate into their business processes. It also offers easy access to the exchange of data in International Data Spaces. Open Data thus acts as an amplifier to encourage companies to share their data through the International Data Spaces architecture.