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In spring 2022, the Open Data Institute (ODI) launched a research project to investigate how global power dynamics manifest in data infrastructure. This research intends to run until March 2023, and may inform future work.

To support this ongoing work, we’re launching a collaborative bibliography for the Power and diplomacy in data ecosystems project. The bibliography is a curated, living repository of books, reports, podcasts and research papers compiling some of the brilliant work of researchers from around the world interested in how data and digital technologies shape new geopolitical dynamics worldwide.

This bibliography will be actively and collaboratively enriched as we go through the project. We encourage any research institution or else to contribute to this resource as this list is far from being exhaustive.

By making the resource openly accessible we also hope that others find it useful, such as:

  • researchers investigating how state and non-state actors collaborate and compete around data at an international scale.
  • policymakers, journalists and others interested in the topic and looking for relevant resources in a limited time.

This bibliography is openly available on Airtable.

Research themes

The reading list is broken down by eight identified research themes:

The future of the internet: globalisation v fragmentation? 

The utopian global cyberspace, first conceived by internet pioneers, is changing and is increasingly fragmented, in the grip of conflicting power relations and global geopolitical dynamics.

The privatisation of the internet

If the initial promise of the internet was to decentralise telecommunications to wrest consumers from the grip of existing telecoms giants - however this move by companies such as Google and Meta threaten to reverse this. The increasing role of private companies in the provision of digital infrastructure and the limited ability by which states can now exert influence on them, is a focus point that could have a wide range of consequences we could explore.

Cybersecurity around data governance

The proliferation of data and digital technologies are setting up new challenges for collective security both state and non-state actors have to address to ensure stability and peace in cyberspace.

The part and future of the UK in the international data governance

The UK is said to be at a ‘crossroads’ after rejecting the EU and their governance models. The positions that the UK takes for international data flows will likely be angled towards economic growth, rather than strong data diplomacy.

The future of data governance and collaboration

In a world increasingly interconnected and intercompetiting via new technologies, there is an urgent need to think about multilateral data collaborations types/models.

Cross-border data regulation

The proliferation of data worldwide has made the need for a global architecture and regulation of those flows not only important but urgent. There is an increasing need to talk about international data flows, especially at times where data localisation is being pushed in different parts of the world.

Technology in the global economic competition

This section will gather resources investigating how data and digital technologies are shaping new economic and competition dynamics worldwide.

Digital and data sovereignty

The utopian idea about a ‘borderless’ cyberspace, promoted by the internet pioneers, is more than ever challenged by the international stage and geopolitical dynamics at play. Far from being a monolithic borderless cyberspace, the notions of territory, borders and sovereignty are now more than ever on the table.

Get involved

To contribute research works to the bibliography, please fill out this suggestion form. Once a suggestion has been submitted, we will review whether it fits within the scope of our project.

We’re also keen to hear what you think of the bibliography. Please let us know if we’re missing something important or you think we could do something to make the collaborative literature review an even more useful resource at [email protected].