Legal Questions in Data Science

In recent years, the evolving landscape of data collection and processing has necessitated changes in laws and regulations. Consequently, new and unfamiliar legal situations have emerged, leading to uncertainties and impacting data-driven research. Researchers frequently grapple with understanding the implications of privacy regulations on data processing and determining which data can be shared in compliance with copyright laws.

Data protection and copyright hold significant importance in research data management, particularly in the fields of business, economics, and the social sciences. However, researchers often lack expertise in navigating the complex realm of legal regulations. This website offers a range of tools and information to assist you in navigating the intricacies of copyright and privacy laws, enabling you to concentrate on what truly matters: scientific research.

interactive Virtual Assistant: iVA

Privacy law is incomprehensible and non-transparent? Not necessarily.

We have developed an interactive Virtual Assistant (iVA), an online tool that supports data users in understanding the basics of data protection (regulations) and explore the legal options for using data.

With specific questions, short examples and precise definitions, iVA guides you through a decision tree. It does not only present theoretical knowledge but provides you with information that you can apply directly to your own data project.

As shown below, iVA consists of different but consecutive modules. Each module focuses on a specific data protection question, which researchers face when dealing with data.

iVA was developed as part of the project BERD@BW, funded by the Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts of Baden-Württemberg from 2019 to 2022.

Applicability of the GDPR

iVA1 shows you if the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) applies to your research data.

Start here (DE)

Start here (ENG)

Consent as legal basis

iVA2 helps you identify what you have to keep in mind to get a lawful consent for data processing.

Start here (DE)

Start here (ENG)

Research relevant legal bases

iVA3 guides you through the process of determining whether data processing in the context of your research project meets a federal or state legal basis.

Start here (DE)

Information obligations when collecting personal data

The basis of fair handling of personal data is the data subject’s knowledge of what is happening with his or her data. Especially when the data processing depends on the consent of the data subject, it is essential that the data subject is informed.

We compiled an overview of those information obligations for you here:


We are currently working on a collection of answers to your most frequent legal questions around Data Science.