The dark side of data ecosystems: A longitudinal study of the DAMD project

Jon Aaen, Jeppe Agger Nielsen, Andrea Carugati

Research output: Journal Article or Conference Article in JournalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Data are often vividly depicted as strategic assets that organisations can (re)use to create value for myriad purposes. However, the same qualities that make data so appreciated–that is, their volume, their value for a plurality of stakeholders and their indefinite reuse capacity–also have a dark side: data reuse can lead to deviant data use that undermines the legitimacy of data analytics initiatives. To investigate this dynamic, we build on the notion of data ecosystems and provide empirical evidence from a longitudinal, 15-year case study of the emergence, expansion and eventual collapse of a large-scale data analytics project–called DAMD–in the Danish health care sector. We demonstrate that data reuse in the evolving data ecosystem elicited a data reuse dark side that was so dominant that it eventually resulted in the project’s demise. We conceptualise the reuse dark side’s three major mechanisms as function creep, stakeholder creep and data creep. Based on these insights, we develop an empirically grounded Data Analytics Ecosystem Model that extends the current understanding of data ecosystems and provides a view of these ecosystems as having both a bright and a dark side.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Information Systems
VolumeAhead of print
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jul 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • dark side
  • Data analytics
  • data ecosystems
  • data reuse
  • longitudinal case study


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