Data driven social partnerships: Exploring an emergent trend in search of research challenges and questions


The volume of data collected by multiple devices, such as mobile phones, sensors, satellites, is growing at an exponential rate. Accessing and aggregating different sources of data, including data outside the public domain, has the potential to provide insights for many societal challenges. This catalyzes new forms of partnerships between public, private, and nongovernmental actors aimed at leveraging different sources of data for positive societal impact and the public good. In practice there are different terms in use to label these partnerships but research has been lagging behind in systematically examining this trend. In this paper, we deconstruct the conceptualization and examine the characteristics of this emerging phenomenon by systematically reviewing academic and practitioner literature. To do so, we use the grounded theory literature review method. We identify several concepts which are used to describe this phenomenon and propose an integrative definition of “data driven social partnerships” based on them. We also identify a list of challenges which data driven social partnerships face and explore the most urgent and most cited ones, thereby proposing a research agenda. Finally, we discuss the main contributions of this emerging research field, in relation to the challenges, and systematize the knowledge base about this phenomenon for the research community.