Data Donation Lab

The Data Donation Lab is an initiative at the Zurich higher education institutions that promotes data donation as a methodological approach to collect digital trace data.

Whenever we use digital services and applications (e.g., streaming platforms, health tracking devices, messenger apps etc.) data traces are created that record our interactions with these applications and services. These digital trace data make our (digital) behavior observable at a granular level and are therefore of great interest for academic research in various areas.
One approach to accessing these data are data donations. In an academic context, data donation refers to the active consent of an individual user to donate her or his personal data for research purposes.

Against this background, the Data Donation Lab has two main goals:

  • Provide a platform for knowledge aggregation and dissemination through transdisciplinary exchange.
  • Provide an infrastructure to collect secondary digital trace data through data donations by study participants.

A Platform for Transdisciplinary Exchange

The Data Donation Lab provides a platform that facilitates the transdisciplinary exchange among researchers from different disciplines about the topic of data donations. On the one hand, this includes creating opportunities to share experiences and to aggregate knowledge about the collection of data donations. On the other hand, the platform will include a knowledge center that makes these aggregated insights publicly accessible.

An Infrastructure to Collect Data Donations

The Data Donation Lab will provide researchers at the Zurich higher education institutions with an infrastructure to collect data donations. Researchers will be able to set up a data donation project and approach study participants to donate their data. For participants, the infrastructure will provide an easy-to-use and understandable interface through which they can contribute their personal data to a research project. Besides th technical implementation, the design of the infrastructure will account for the legal, ethical, psychological, and epistemological aspects associated with the donation process.