EuDEco used a systemic view to describe the model of the European data economy. This required understanding the relations among the actors in the data economy as well as between the actors and the framework.

Framework conditions create a milieu that impacts the possibilities of the actors which can be individuals and organizations. Actors can unite different roles at the same time or after each other. Actors change their behaviour based on a continuous feedback mechanism. The actors of the data economy follow the principle of action and reaction. Systems that show these and other typical characteristics are referred to as Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS). The understanding of the relations provides the foundation for the analysis and development of use cases, business models and value networks as well as for the derivation of recommendations for promoting data reuse and laying the ground for a self-sustaining data economy in Europe.

In EuDEco, the CAS approach supported, among others, the understanding of

  • the actors themselves,
  • the relations and interactions between actors,
  • the development of value networks and their structure
  • the reaction of actors to their surroundings and the pursuit of goals,
  • the selection of actions and
  • the objects used by actors.

Although not uncommon in the context of modelling efforts focusing on CAS, EuDEco didn't undertake an effort to develop a computer simulation. Nevertheless, the model developed allows gaining insights into the structure and development of the European data economy. The openness of the CAS approach allowed describing relations that go beyond the classical economic understanding of vendor-buyer relations and taking new incentives and motivations into account.

According to Axelrod and Cohen (2008), in terms of model elements, the final system model needs to represent

  • one or more populations of agents as well as the agents themselves,
  • the strategies of the agents,
  • the relevant artefacts and
  • environmental factors.

As the complexity of a system is determined by the interactions among its elements, the final model represents the interactions between these elements. In the context of CAS, adaption is understood as a process leading to improvement according to some measure of success through the selection of a particular strategy. Therefore, the final model represents measures of success as well as strategy selection.

The EuDEco model of the European data economy was developed in three iterations. The heuristic model developed in the first iteration represented all model elements and only the representation of environmental factors went considerably beyond the obvious. In the second iteration, the heuristic model was refined. The refined model represented all model elements in considerable depth and went into detail with respect to relevant CAS properties and features. The final model was the result of the third iteration. The final model explains all model elements in full depth. It was tested in various test settings.

The research on the three perspectives (legal, socio-economic and technological) was mostly independent of each other but still coordinated that made sure that the results could be integrated smoothly.


Each refinement phase was supported by workshops, which aimed at jointly improving the available model based on experiences, knowledge of the involved experts and case studies made available by them. The workshops’ timing and the composition of the involved external experts ensured the objectives. Members of the User Expert Group, consisting of invited experts, representing EU funded projects having the similar or relevant scope to EuDEco or representing the business sector, were invited to join the workshops of EuDEco, while the members of the Advisory Board were invited to join four of these workshops where both expert committees met. In the frame of these joint workshops, the so-called Fora for Data Reuse, strategic decisions were taken on the interpretation and conclusions of results and contributed to the refinement of the model and the recommendations.

Altogether 7 workshops were organised as visualised on the picture.