Till data do us part: Understanding data-based value creation in data-intensive infrastructures
Information and Organization
Reason for embargo
Much of the literature on value creation in social media-based infrastructures has largely neglected the pivotal role of data and their processes. This paper tries to move beyond this limitation and discusses data-based value creation in data-intensive infrastructures, such as social media, by focusing on processes of data generation, use and reuse, and on infrastructure development activities. Building on current debates in value theory, the paper develops a multidimensional value framework to interrogate the data collected in an embedded ethnographical case study of the development of PatientsLikeMe, a social media network for patients. It asks when, and where, value is created from the data, and what kinds of value are created from them, as they move through the data infrastructure; and how infrastructure evolution relates to, and shapes, existing data-based value creation practices. The findings show that infrastructure development can have unpredictable consequences for data-based value creation, shaping shared practices in complex ways and through a web of interdependent situations. The paper argues for an understanding of infrastructural innovation that accounts for the situational interdependencies of data use and reuse. Uniquely positioned, the paper demonstrates the importance of research that looks critically into processes of data use in infrastructures to keep abreast of the social consequences of developments in big data and data analytics aimed at exploiting all kinds of digital traces for multiple purposes.
This research is funded by the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007–2013)/ERC grant agreement number 335925.
Vol. 27(4), pp. 191 - 210
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