The dominant metaphor for organizing in the 21st century is the network. Fuelled by advances in information and communication technologies, networks allow for rapid dissemination and sharing of information, lateral communication, flexibility in the relationships between actors, and using complementary strengths. Various online communities, such as the maker movement, coding communities, or knowledge communities such as Wikipedia embrace this metaphor. What these communities have in common is believing in freely sharing knowledge and information.

On the other hand, there are global corporations such as Amazon, Facebook, Google. While these platforms in principle embrace the openness of networks (e.g., anyone can principally join) they created "gated networks." They control the infrastructure, determine rules for participating and sharing information, as well as generating economic and political power through levering the data in their networks (the insights of these data remains in their hands). 

These two examples should illustrate there are multiple meanings and consequences of sharing data in a globalized world. At the opening week, we will further probe into these and other meanings of shared data. This is imperative. Data is an essential resource in a digital economy and society.