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The Symphony of Orchestrated Participatory Data Space Governance: A Systematic Review


While digital platforms lead to societal progress through broadening information access, they started to face criticism for creating winner-takes-all dynamics and enforcing rules that cause societal inequalities. This prompted European policymakers to introduce initiatives and regulations that establish data spaces. We systematically reviewed 874 data space publications from three databases, focusing on their governance configuration. We found that data space literature is fragmented, lacks conceptual clarity, and considers governance aspects in isolation. First, we contribute by providing a holistic definition and deriving a refined conceptual understanding. We define data spaces as platform ecosystems built on federated infrastructures and participatory governance configurations for sovereign data exchange oriented toward distributing decision rights between stakeholders. Second, building on IS literature on platform ecosystem governance, we characterize the governance of data spaces along seven dimensions, highlighting their participatory design. This provides the foundation for a nuanced discussion on data spaces and future research areas.

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