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Twitter Starts Taking Applications For ‘Data Grants’

Max ‘Beast from the East’ Smolaks covers open source, public sector, startups and technology of the future at TechWeekEurope.

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A few lucky research organisations will get free access to the platform’s public and historical data

Twitter will offer several research organisations free access to its public and historical tweet archive as part of the pilot programme called ‘Data Grants’.

The company will be accepting project proposals from interested parties until March 15. Twitter has warned that the number of participants in the pilot is limited, and the Terms and Conditions suggest a strict selection process.

“To date, it has been challenging for researchers outside the company who are tackling big questions to collaborate with us to access our public, historical data. Our Data Grants program aims to change that by connecting research institutions and academics with the data they need,” wrote Raffi Krikorian, VP of platform engineering on the Twitter blog.

For science

In seven years, Twitter has become one of the most visited websites in the world. The company says that 500 million tweets are posted on the platform every day, resulting in dozens of terabytes of data. This information could do wonderful things in the right hands, Twitter says: for example, Twitter data has been previously used to track outbreaks of flu and other infectious diseases.

twitter-analytics-reporting-graphThis year, Twitter will begin offering Data Grants to a select number of  organisations in partnership with Gnip, one of the three companies that have been certified to sell access to Titter’s ‘firehose’ – a full feed of all public tweets – for analytics purposes.

Those selected for the pilot will get not just the tweets, but also the expertise of Twitter’s own engineers and researchers, who will help with the project.

Applications are open to single individuals or teams of any size, as long as they are members of the academic research community. Interested parties can apply for a Data Grant here.

Twitter has just posted its first earnings report since it went public on 7 November, showing improving financials but slowing growth in the company’s user base. This scared investors and the company’ stock price fell 18 percent to $54.16 in after-hours trading on Wednesday.

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