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Research Commentary—From Net Neutrality to Data Neutrality: A Techno-Economic Framework and Research Agenda

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  • Robert F. Easley

    (Department of IT, Analytics, and Operations, Mendoza College of Business, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana 46556)

  • Hong Guo

    (Department of IT, Analytics, and Operations, Mendoza College of Business, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana 46556)

  • Jan Krämer

    (School of Business, Economics and Information Systems, University of Passau, 94032 Passau, Germany)

Abstract

The Internet has assumed a central role in the global economy facilitating commerce and communication and is thus central to many areas of information systems (IS) research. In particular, IS researchers played a critical role in the academic discourse on net neutrality, which has recently informed new regulatory frameworks in the United States and Europe. We discuss and categorize the various issues and key trade-offs that are still being debated in the context of net neutrality and identify open research questions in this domain. Based on these insights, we argue that net neutrality, which is concerned with a gatekeeper at the infrastructure level, may just be part of a larger debate on data neutrality where the gatekeeper may rather control a software platform. We provide several examples of potential data neutrality issues and generalize the key trade-offs in the context of a proposed four-step framework for identifying and organizing promising areas of IS research on data neutrality.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert F. Easley & Hong Guo & Jan Krämer, 2018. "Research Commentary—From Net Neutrality to Data Neutrality: A Techno-Economic Framework and Research Agenda," Information Systems Research, INFORMS, vol. 29(2), pages 253-272, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:orisre:v:29:y:2018:i:2:p:253-272
    DOI: isre.2017.0740
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