Call for Papers

 "Data Power: The  Potential and Drawbacks of Digitalization, Datafication, Platformization, and Algorithmic  Decision-Making for the Global South." 

Development (edited by the Society for International Development and published by Palgrave Macmillan) is pleased to announce a call for papers for a special issue on "Data Power: The Potential and Drawbacks of Digitalization, Datafication, Platformization, and Algorithmic Decision-Making for the Global South."

Guest Editor: Miren Gutierrez, University of Deusto

We invite scholars and experts to contribute 4,000- word articles (though there is some flexibility in length) that critically examine the impact of digitalization, datafication, and platformization on developing countries in the Global South. This special issue of the journal aims to explore the opportunities and challenges presented by the increasing digitalization of societies, the growing influence of datafication –or the process of transforming various aspects of life into digital data for analysis—and the rise of digital platforms, algorithmic decision-making, and so-called artificial intelligence (AI).

The promises of digitalization, datafication, and platformization for developing countries include the potential for economic growth, improved access to services such as education and healthcare, and enhanced connectivity. Digital platforms could facilitate financial inclusion and provide new opportunities for economic participation. However, the perils are significant, particularly for vulnerable people and communities. Many individuals in developing countries are excluded from the benefits of datafication and digital platforms due to a lack of access to technology and digital infrastructure, exacerbating existing inequalities. Digital inclusion can, however, also hide new types of digital dependence and inequality. Furthermore, the datafication of everyday life can lead to privacy violations, the spread of disinformation, and a lack of consent to data extraction, posing new risks to individuals.

Meanwhile, the emergence of digital platforms in various aspects of life, including basic services such as education and health, could also lead to new digital divides and challenges for inclusion and equity. As such, the risks of algorithmic decision-making for vulnerable people are significant. Algorithmic invisibilization –occurring when data on individuals or groups and their needs are absent from datasets—can lead to unequal access to resources and exacerbate social and economic exclusion. Vulnerable populations, including those with no access to digital resources, are at risk of being further marginalized and silenced by the increasing reliance on algorithmic decision-making, as they may not be represented in the data and, therefore, not considered in the decision-making processes. Meanwhile, algorithmic discrimination can target vulnerable people based on their sex, gender, sexual or political orientation, or class, affecting their eligibility for housing, employment, and other services, potentially leading to unfair treatment. Thus, addressing these risks and the promises of data and algorithms is crucial to ensure that algorithmic decision-making promotes fairness, transparency, and accountability.

We welcome interdisciplinary contributions that address, but are not limited to, the following sublines:

  1. The role of digital technologies in promoting or restricting economic development and inclusive growth.
  2. Social, political, and economic implications of power concentration and digital governance.
  3. Challenges and opportunities of datafication in education, healthcare, and governance.
  4. The impact of digital platforms on labor and informal economies in the Global South.
  5. Digital financial inclusion and the implications of datafication for everyday life.
  6. The influence of digitalization on cultural production and consumption in countries of the Global South.
  7. The regulatory challenges of digital platforms and data governance in developing countries.
  8. The potential of digital technologies for environmental sustainability and climate action in the Global South.
  9. The implications of datafication and digital platforms for social and economic inequality.
  10. The role of big tech companies in promoting or hindering justice and equality in the Global South.
  11. The ethical and privacy implications of datafication and digitalization in developing country contexts.

We encourage authors to submit original research articles, case studies, and critical reviews that contribute to a better understanding of the complex relationship between digital technologies and development in countries of the Global South.

Submission Guidelines:

Important Dates:

  • Submission Deadline: [April 15, 2024]
  • Expected Publication: [June 2024]

For any additional inquiries related to this issue, please do not hesitate to get in touch with the Editorial Team at

We look forward to receiving your contributions.


Development Editorial Team