There is a growing consensus that research can progress more quickly, more innovatively, and more rigorously when scholars share data with each other. Policies and supports for data sharing are being put in place by stakeholders such as research funders, publishers, and universities, with overlapping effects. By contrast, many scholars are not engaging in data sharing and remain skeptical of its relevance to their work. As organizations and initiatives designed to promote data sharing multiply — within, across, and outside academic institutions — there is a pressing need to understand scholars’ perspectives and needs and use that evidence to decide strategically on the best ways to move forward. In a cutting-edge study, Ithaka S+R has drawn on fifteen years of research into scholars’ practices to propose a new mechanism for conceptualizing and supporting data sharing. In this session, we will show how successful data sharing happens within “data communities” — formal or informal groups of scholars who share a certain type of data with each other, regardless of disciplinary boundaries. This framework will enable a participatory discussion of how stakeholders who wish to promote data sharing — including librarians, information technologists, scholarly communications professionals, and research funders — can identify and support emergent data communities. We will also consider the implications of this broader approach within the current landscape of repositories, funder and journal mandates, and the public/private data divide. This session will demonstrate how focusing on data communities can lead to strategic support interventions that maximize scholar buy-in and promote greater rigor and innovation through data sharing.