Opportune Niches in Data Ecosystems: Open Data Intermediaries in the Agriculture Sector in Ghana

20 Pages Posted: 10 Apr 2017

See all articles by Alexander Andrason

Alexander Andrason

Stellenbosch University

Francois van Schalkwyk

Stellenbosch University, Students ; Centre for Higher Education Transformation (CHET)

Date Written: March 10, 2017

Abstract

The role of open data intermediaries in an ecosystem broadly, and in the data chain specifically, is highly relevant – they may in fact be vital for a data chain to be fluid. There is a small but growing body of empirical-based research that analyzes the behaviour of open data intermediaries; empirical evidence that specifically focuses on the entrance of open data intermediaries into the ecosystem is even scarcer. The present study aims to reduce the scarcity of empirical fine-grained evidence concerning open data intermediaries and their emergence, in particular, their characteristics that enable them to enter into an ecosystem and to thrive in it. The analysis of the behavior of the two intermediaries located at the interface of open data in the agricultural and mobile-phone sectors in Ghana leads to the following conclusions: the emergence of intermediaries is primarily conditioned by the previous presence of a (broad) niche area, that is, in for order intermediaries to appear, there must be new spaces available in the ecosystem for them to occupy; a niche may be sufficiently broad to accommodate not a single specific intermediary but rather a range of similar yet distinct intermediaries that can populate different zones within the niche; each intermediary deploys the forms of the capital differently to connect to users successfully; given the extent of capitals which it possesses, each intermediary identifies a different area of the ecosystem where this capital would assure the highest return; a deficiency of certain forms of capital can also be appeased by linking to other intermediaries; the emergence and subsequent survival of the intermediaries importantly modifies the ecosystem which they have entered and populated; and open data intermediaries enhance flow of data in an ecosystem by sourcing, creating, mixing and curating data from multiple sources, both open and closed.

Keywords: open data, intermediaries, ecosystem, data, Bourdieu, Ghana, agriculture

Suggested Citation

Andrason, Alexander and Van Schalkwyk, Francois, Opportune Niches in Data Ecosystems: Open Data Intermediaries in the Agriculture Sector in Ghana (March 10, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2949722 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2949722

Alexander Andrason

Stellenbosch University ( email )

Private Bag X1
Stellenbosch, Western Cape 7602
South Africa

Francois Van Schalkwyk (Contact Author)

Stellenbosch University, Students ( email )

Private Bag X1
Stellenbosch, Western Cape 7602
South Africa

Centre for Higher Education Transformation (CHET) ( email )

10 Brodie Road
Wynberg Mews
Wynberg, 7800
South Africa

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