Digital sustainability: basic conditions for sustainable digital artifacts and their ecosystems

Stürmer, Matthias; Abu-Tayeh, Gabriel; Myrach, Thomas (2017). Digital sustainability: basic conditions for sustainable digital artifacts and their ecosystems. Sustainability science, 12(2), pp. 247-262. Springer 10.1007/s11625-016-0412-2

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The modern age has heralded a shift from the industrial society, in which natural resources are crucial input factors for the economy, towards a knowledge society. To date, sustainability literature has treated knowledge—and in particular digital artifacts—mainly as a means to the end of achieving sustainable development. In this conceptual paper, we argue that digital artifacts themselves ought also to be considered as resources, which also need to be sustainable. While over-consumption is a problem facing natural resources, with sustainable digital artifacts, underproduction, and underuse are the biggest challenges. In our view, the sustainability of digital artifacts improves their potential impact on sustainable development. A theoretical foundation for digital artifacts and their ecosystem allows us to present the relevant research on digital information, knowledge management, digital goods, and innovation literature. Based on these insights, we propose ten basic conditions for sustainable digital artifacts and their ecosystem to ensure that they provide the greatest possible benefit for sustainable development. We then apply those characteristics to four exemplary cases: Linux kernel development, Bitcoin cryptocurrency, the Wikipedia project, and the Linking Open Drug Data repositories. The paper concludes with a research agenda identifying topics for sustainability scholars and information systems academics, as well as practitioners. A number of suggestions for future studies on digital sustainability are also put forward.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Department of Business Management > Institute of Information Systems > Information Management
03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Department of Business Management > Institute of Information Systems

UniBE Contributor:

Stürmer, Matthias; Abu-Tayeh, Gabriel and Myrach, Thomas

Subjects:

000 Computer science, knowledge & systems
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 330 Economics
600 Technology > 650 Management & public relations

ISSN:

1862-4065

Publisher:

Springer

Language:

English

Submitter:

Gabriel Abu-Tayeh

Date Deposited:

11 May 2017 08:54

Last Modified:

31 Jan 2019 08:33

Publisher DOI:

10.1007/s11625-016-0412-2

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.91035

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/91035

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