In principle, the company size variable is not an issue. Before the Internet, valuable information about industrial sectors took time and resources to be gathered and organised. Large companies could do this in-house. Small ones would turn to specialized companies that would produce detailed reports (for example: the beer sector in France) and sell the paper copies. As books went, these were really expensive: but to a small company, the cost of accessing that intelligence was a bargain compared to that of maintaining its own researchers in-house. With data it’s the same thing. Plenty of people and orgs out there that you can ask questions, and they will crunch the data for you at a reasonable price, as long as the data are open.
In my opinion, where small entities are facing a disadvantage is in taking advantage of the data they themselves produce. We all generate data, but only a few very large corporates gain from them. This is difficult to fix, because the value of one data point depends on the size of the datasets: knowing, say, the graph of my personal social network is pretty pointless, but knowing the graph of the social network of millions of people is extremely valuable. So we are stuck between a rock and a hard place: if we all give away our data, Google and its peers are the only entities that benefit from them, and that’s unfair. But if we each hold on to our data, with no interoperability, the benefit is simply not there, and that’s inefficient.
A similar reasoning was behind @CommonFutures’s vision of “data coops” (here). The idea is to have people involved in “for benefit” activities pool their data, and give the pool a legal status such that it can be processed by certain people (the data coop itself and its trusted partners) and not others (marketeers), for certain goals (the common good) and not others (commercial). Not sure where Annemarie is with that, and if she has any care-related examples to share. Annemarie?