Even though, since 2007, countries are obliged to deliver their national datasets to the database there are - as stated in the Database Rules - no obligations to let other researchers use the national data without permission.
In order to obtain a copy of a Database an application form has to be filled in and posted to the coordinators for further distribution to the ESPAD Application Committee. The composition of the Committee as well as restrictions around the database and its use are described and explained in the ESPAD Database Rules (Database Rules for ESPAD Researchers and Database Rules for Non–ESPAD Researchers).
When an application is approved a contract is signed before a copy of the database is delivered . Approved applications are presented in a list, which also displays the deadline of the projects.
ESPAD researchers are allowed to apply for the most recent database once the International ESPAD Report has been released.
Non-ESPAD researchers are also allowed to work with ESPAD data. Access for Non-ESPAD Researchers is allowed after an embargo period determined by an Assembly:
- ESPAD 2003 Database: Accessible now
- ESPAD 2007 Database: Was accessible since July 1, 2013
- ESPAD 2011 Database: Was accessible since July 1, 2015
- ESPAD 2015 Database: At present it is only accessible to ESPAD Researchers