Unskewing the Data Value Chain: A Policy Research Project for Equitable Platform Economies

Development outcomes in the digital era are closely tied to the ability of countries to harness the data value chain and ensure fair and just digital economies. However, as things stand, the digital economy is anything but equitable.

IT for Change’s two-year regional project, Unskewing the Data Value Chain: A Policy Research Project for Equitable Platform Economies aims to assess current policy gaps and explore new policy directions on data value chains that can promote equitable and inclusive economic development.

Supported by Omidyar Network, this project will continue on the heels of our first phase of research on policies for the platform economy, a 14-country initiative that concluded in November 2019.  

Details about the latest outputs from the project and the global network of research scholars who are part of our initiative below.

Research Outputs

The first working paper produced for this project scopes relevant policy issues and questions pertaining to systemic inequities in the global data value chains and frames a multi-domain research agenda for inquiry. The paper also steers the project’s global research network that will contribute to Southern-led and Southern-focused scholarship on the issue in the coming months.

As part of our call for researchers to build the project's global research network, we published a background paper that lays the ground for researchers to investigate policy frameworks and evolve scholarly reflections on future directions for the governance of data value chains.

Meet the Network

How do we end Big Tech's stranglehold over data resources and build a data governance infrastructure for equitable and inclusive economic development?

Our diverse and interdisciplinary network of 9 grantees are, through research on a broad array of topics, working towards the shared goal of identifying new policy directions to make platform economies equitable by unskewing data value chains.

The Grantees

Amber Sinha
Executive Director, The Centre for Internet and Society

Arindrajit Basu
Research Manager, The Centre for Internet and Society

Amber and Arindrajit’s project focuses on unpacking existing conceptions of data (Global Data Commons, Data as common property resource, Data as decisional autonomy, Community Data) to understand to what extent they protect individual and community interests in the context of today’s global digital political economy. They also look to explore a data framework best suited to preserve the beneficial interests of the stakeholder in its relationship with other stakeholders, drawing from established and evolving regulatory and legal theories.


Burcu Kilic
Director, Digital Rights Program & Research Director, Access to Medicines, Public Citizen

Burcu is analysing Turkey’s digital economy as a case study, focussing on domestic and Big Tech platforms in Turkey; the interactions between them; their competitive and anti-competitive effects; their market power arising from user data ownership and network externalities; as well as their two-sided roles, both as a platform owner and seller.


Freyja van den Boom
PhD Candidate, Bournemouth University

Freyja is examining EU regulatory challenges to fair and equal access to (and the benefits of) data in the automotive industry and connected car ecosystem. She is also conducting a critical analysis of the EU policy’s approach to EU data spaces and free flow of data in the geopolitical context.


Kiiza Africa
Program Coordinator, Trade Policies and Negotiations, Southern and Eastern Africa Trade Information and Negotiations Institute (SEATINI)

Munu Martin Luther
PhD Candidate, Institute for Globalisation and International Regulation (IGIR), Faculty of Law, Maastricht University

Africa and Munu are analyzing the stalemate on digital taxation and exploring strategies to break the same, situated in an regional African perspective. They are also undertaking a study of a people-centered sovereignty approach to data governance and how it can be harmonized in a global-to-local governance regime for data.


Marilia Maciel
Digital Policy Senior Researcher, Diplo Foundation

Marilia’s research is two pronged, the first involves an analysis of the interplay between data localization as a policy issue, and the growing localization of Internet traffic due to technical developments and market evolution. The second is an exploration of the governance of data flows emerging under international trade arrangements to identify elements that could be useful to the development of a framework for data ownership and access.


Divij Joshi
Mozilla Tech Policy Fellow, 2019 – 2020 Cohort

Aditya Singh Chawla
PhD Candidate, University of Edinburgh

Divij and Aditya are conducting an analysis of policy and legal responses by Global South countries that focus on equitable distribution of value in the data and Artificial Intelligence ecosystems, and identifying areas where these responses can draw from historical and existing regimes of community-centric knowledge and information management from the Global South.


Prof. Dr. Rafael Grohmann
Assistant Professor in Communication, Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos (Unisinos University), Porto Alegre

Dr. Paola Ricaurte Quijano
Associate Professor, Department of Media and Digital Culture, School of Humanities and Education, Tec de Monterrey

Rafael and Paola are seeking to analyse the role socio-technical conditions play in setting up community-driven data commons, by conducting an assessment of scenarios and gaps around data commons and platform cooperativism in Brazil and Mexico.


Renata Avila
Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Polylat

Guy Weress
Vice President, Polylat

Renata and Guy are exploring a new data management model to enhance the value of the city’s public information data and infrastructure, and guarantee (as an essential requirement) privacy and responsible use of the data associated with the public and the use of municipal public services.


Ridhi Varma
Research Fellow, Technology Policy, National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, Govt. of India

Ridhi is conducting an in-depth study of the political systems and economic agendas in Vietnam and Malaysia, with the goal of understanding the formations and implementation of the digital taxation system.


What We Do
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Unskewing the Data Value Chain: A Policy Research Project for Equitable Platform Economies