Twitter bolsters academic research access to its API

Twitter data is being used to research everything from COVID-19 attitudes and perceptions, public discourse and climate change opinions.

Twitter is expanding its application programming interface access to academic researchers.

The company has been working to make it easier for academics to conduct research with twitter data, but the latest open up the Academic Research product track. Researchers need to apply for academic access. Twitter data is being used to research everything from COVID-19 attitudes and perceptions, public discourse and climate change opinions. 

Under the changes, researchers will have early access to what's available in Twitter API v2 today as well as the following:

  • Free access to the full history of public conversation via the full-archive search. This feature had been available to paid premium and enterprise customers only.
  • More in the Twitter developer platform for free. For instance, Twitter now has a monthly Tweet volume cap of 10 million, which is 20 times higher than the Standard product track today.
  • Better filtering to better match data collection to what's relevant to research and make data cleansing tasks easier.
  • Technical and methodological guides to give researchers blueprints for success.

Twitter said the Academic Research product track is designed to address the biggest research challenges, including the ability to study what happened in the past on Twitter. Up until now, access to full historical data was limited to paid subscribers of the API. 

"With access to this new product track, we are offering researchers unprecedented free access to the complete historical public conversation spanning any topic you could imagine," said Twitter product manager Adam Tornes.

Here are the requirements to be approved for the Academic Research product track:

  • Applicants have to be a master's student, doctoral candidate, post-doc, faculty, or research-focused employee at an academic institution or university.
  • You must have a clear and well defined research objective as well as plans for how you will use, analyze, and share Twitter data.
  • Researchers must use the access for non-commercial purposes.

The Academic Research product track is part of an overall move to open data access for more research. Twitter API v2 will have a specialized Business product track, more levels of access for academics and its Standard and Business product tracks. The company said it will continue to iterate the API.

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 Over time, Twitter said Twitter API v2 will replace the v1.1 standard, premium and enterprise APIs. Twitter launched its next-generation API in July.