Work stream on data: Final report

Teresa Rodríguez de las Heras Ballell, Jeanette Hofmann, Inge Graef, Sophie Stalla-Bourdillon, Doh-Shin Jeon, Annabelle Gawer, Agata Majchrowska

Research output: Book/ReportReport

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Online platforms are intermediaries in the digital economy that enable the exchange of goods, services or information between two or more parties. They facilitate matching and make trade more efficient. The mechanisms and strategies by which these digital intermediaries provide these efficiencies universally revolve around the use of technology that intensively and extensively builds on data. The way data is generated and shared becomes a critical issue in a context where online services are increasingly diversified. Such data is the subject of this report. Data generated through or in relation to online platforms fosters innovation. Data plays an increasingly important role in business intelligence, product development, and process optimization.

Data has become a new currency at times where many online services are provided for “free”, fuelled by the data provided by their users. Data is also the basis for competition and further innovation. While a number of national, EU and international reports clearly recognise the importance of data for the online platform economy, they rarely highlight the complexity and heterogeneity of data in the platform environment.

This report provides a structured overview of how data is generated, collected and used in the online platform economy. It maps out the diversity and heterogeneity of data-related practices and expands on what different types of data require a careful examination in order to better understand their importance for both the platforms and their users as well as the issues and challenges arising in their interactions.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherEuropean Commission
Number of pages48
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


  • Classification of data
  • Data sharing
  • Data governance
  • Innovation


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