YouTube starts Research Program that allows researchers to analyze metadata

Google will give researchers more access to data about YouTube. An API will become available that will allow scientists to access video metadata. Researchers have unlimited access to that data.

It YouTube Research Program is in fact an extension of the limited, existing Data API that YouTube has offered for some time. The new research program means that from now on every scientist can gain access to that data, but also that the data will be expanded. Scientists get ‘scalable access’ to public metadata about YouTube videos with no limit to the number of requests they can make. Researchers also receive technical support from YouTube itself if they need help with their research.

Researchers can use the API data to look at where videos come from or how influence campaigns work on the platform, for example. Different researchers say happy with that, although some note that it is still a relatively small step in the transparency process of the world’s largest video website. For years, scientists have been asking large tech companies for more insight into the operation of feed algorithms or the origin of posters, for example.

Scientists must first register themselves as such in the program. YouTube says students or employees of universities and schools can also access the data. There are no restrictions on what data the scientists can access. Scientists are according to the policies obliged to make their research results public. They are also required to give YouTube access to the research data they collect.