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Modelling the European data economy

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - EuDEco (Modelling the European data economy)

Reporting period: 2017-02-01 to 2018-01-31

Solid knowledge about the data economy and its development across the globe is limited. To be able to realise the economic potential of the data economy in a socially acceptable way, research and innovation must be complemented by a constructive dialog between companies, government bodies, academic institutions and citizens. The EuDEco project contributed to the understanding of the European data economy and facilitated such a stakeholder dialog. The overall objective was to help Europe establish a self-sustaining data market and thereby increase Europe’s global competitiveness.
The EuDEco model of the European data economy did not only provide the basis for the development of an observatory but also for the development of practical solutions and recommendations to deal with key barriers and challenges faced in the context of the data economy. Emphasis was put on the analysis of aspects including legal possibility, social acceptability, economic viability and technical feasibility of use cases, business models and value networks. Thereby, EuDEco provided useful insights and tools for both policy makers, who set the framework conditions for the European data economy, and leaders of companies, government bodies and academic institutions participating in the data economy.
The main results of the EuDEco project are the model of the European data economy as well as an observatory and a set of recommendations that both build upon the model.
The EuDEco model considers the data economy as a complex adaptive system, is based on a largely qualitative, community-focused approach, describes key elements of the data economy and relationships between them, and helps experts to better understand the complexities of the data economy. The key model elements are agents (data providers, data distributors, data users and solution providers), artefacts (data and technologies), strategies and environmental factors. Artefacts are used by agents to support or facilitate responses to or interactions with other agents or the environment. Strategies describe how the responses and interactions of agents look like. Propositions were formulated for particularly interesting observations or assumptions about elements and their relationships. To facilitate the understanding of the model by external stakeholders, an online visualisation was developed, which guides users through the model and shows concrete use cases. The visualisation makes interpreting the model easier and is accessible through the EuDEco website.
The observatory provides a measurement concept for the European data economy using composed indices that are based on indicators describing important aspects of the data economy and underlying framework conditions. It captures developments in and achievements of countries that are considered to affect their capacity to participate in and contribute to building up a competitive data economy. Such developments and achievements may be related to the performance of the business sector, the business environment, the innovation potential, the infrastructure, the diffusion of related technology, the security status, privacy protection, societal participation or data openness. Based on data from official and publicly accessible sources, the observatory contributes to the understanding of whether and to what extent framework conditions necessary to reap benefits from the data economy are in place. It also helps to identify current trends, and to reveal individual strengths and weaknesses of European countries.
Based on the research that involved an intensive exchange of views and the study of numerous stakeholders, recommendations were developed. The recommendations are relevant for policy makers as well as for leaders of organisations actively taking part in the data economy. The recommendations are closely related to the propositions described as part of the model, build upon preliminary recommendations, and address the requirements and barriers identified within the scope of the project. The recommendations focus on legal, socio-economic and technological aspects of the data economy. For each recommendation, practical solution approaches were outlined that may be useful to guide its implementation. To bring the recommendations closer to the target group and to facilitate their understanding and uptake, an online tool was developed, which guides the user through the recommendations. The tool named Recommender can be accessed via the EuDEco website.
The target groups of the EuDEco project were made aware of these and other results of the project primarily through the project website, the project's social media activities, numerous EuDEco and third-party events, and several scientific and non-scientific publications.
The EuDEco project identifies and analyses opportunities and problems related to the data economy in general and data reuse in particular. A thorough understanding of the opportunities and problems is a prerequisite to be able to support the uptake of big data and open data in Europe. The work carried out by the EuDEco consortium supports the achieving of:
(1) Enhanced access to and value generation from data in Europe.
(2) A robust ecosystem for data reuse in Europe.
(3) Increased deployment of big data solutions by European companies.
Within the scope of the project, the prerequisites for data reuse and a self-sustaining data market in Europe were studied. The research did not only concentrate on existing literature but also took the opinions of external experts and stakeholders into account. Extensive discussions with external experts and stakeholders took place at several events. Moreover, a series of concrete cases was studied in detail. The analysis of the prerequisites took a legal, a socio-economic and a technological perspective. Looking at clearly specified aspects and framework conditions of the data economy from different angles and integrating the individual insights into a coherent whole allowed gaining a thorough understanding that goes beyond the state-of-the-art in several respects. Building upon the results of the research, a model of the European data economy was developed. Moreover, an observatory was created that allows measuring the development of the European data economy over time. In contrast to existing observatories, the one created by the EuDEco consortium focuses on Europe, takes a broad range of relevant aspects and framework conditions into account, uses composed indices, and relies exclusively on data from publicly accessible sources.
As a whole, the work carried out in the EuDEco project did not only contribute to the understanding of the European data economy and facilitate the dialog between the relevant stakeholders but also helped to raise awareness in the big data and open data community and beyond for the open questions and controversial issues that are currently faced in the context of the European data economy.
Impressions from the EuDEco final conference