Joint paper by the Weizenbaum Institute, European University Viadrina and SNV on data access for researchers under the DSA

Policy Brief

The EU’s Digital Services Act (DSA) requires very large online platforms and search engines (VLOPs) to provide publicly accessible data to researchers meeting certain requirements (Article 40(12)). While some platforms have taken laudable steps to implement such data access opportunities, serious concerns remain about full compliance with the DSA in this regard. This is reflected in the European Commission’s effort to request information from 17 VLOPs on how they comply with Article 40(12). Currently, researchers from academia and civil society still face significant hurdles when trying to request publicly accessible data from VLOPs. To provide the Commission and Digital Services Coordinators with insights for their oversight work, this paper offers an analysis of early experiences with Article 40(12) data access requests and suggestions for improvement. It is based on conversations with researchers and on data collected through the DSA40 Data Access Tracker. This tracker offers researchers the option to voluntarily share their experiences regarding DSA data access so that the picture about the application process, response times and rejections, among other things, becomes clearer.

Published by: 
Weizenbaum Institute
April 10, 2024

Julian Jaursch (SNV)
Jakob Ohme (Weizenbaum Institute)
Ulrike Klinger (European University Viadrina)