Human Cell Atlas

Data Release Policy

The HCA Data Release Policy is intended to ensure that data is as freely and openly available as possible while protecting the rights of data generators to be the first to present or publish large-scale analyses of their results, in keeping with the Fort Lauderdale principles. The HCA acknowledges that some data generators, especially those with limited access to analytic resources, may hesitate to share their data in this way, or that other researchers may be restricted by local legal or ethical regulations from doing so. We have incorporated language in the policy to accommodate such regional variations, and will periodically review and revise it as needed.



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    What is the purpose of the data release policy?

    The data release policy aims to provide guidance around data release in the HCA, encourage data producers to add their data to the Data Coordination Platform as quickly as possible to accelerate research, while also addressing the need of data producers to publish their scientific findings with their data. It does so by setting forth community standards for how and when data can be used and analyses of the data published by those who did not generate the data.

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    What does the data release policy require of me, as a data uploader?

    The data you upload should be complete and available to the extent allowed by legal and ethical guidelines, and should be uploaded as soon as possible after generation. The policy pertaining to researchers who use the data you generate (below) is meant to protect your ability to publish on the data you generate, while encouraging early sharing and broad use of the data you collected.

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    What does the data release policy require of me, as a data user?

    Data users are free to use and analyze data in the DCP that they did not generate, but are asked to adhere to the Fort Lauderdale principles: they should not publish major analyses before the data generators do so; if there is any doubt, they should contact data generators to let them know how they are using the data and to agree on an appropriate scope for analysis; and they should cite the dataset and acknowledge the generators in any publications and presentations that make use of the data.

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    Is the data release policy subject to change?

    The data release policy was developed and approved by the Organizing Committee of the HCA and is the community’s first attempt to develop fair, effective, and equitable standards for data upload and secondary use. The Organizing Committee will monitor adherence to this policy over time, will review the policy periodically, and may revise it if substantial issues arise or circumstances change materially.

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    Why should I upload data to the DCP as quickly as possible?

    Uploading data to the DCP ensures that your data will be connected to other relevant datasets, enabling powerful joint analyses; it also ensures that your work will be accessible to researchers worldwide for analysis, accelerating research; and, it allows you to make use of the analysis pipelines built into the DCP and its associated portals. Notably, for early adopters, through August 15, 2019, it offers data generators who upload their data the chance for a presentation slot at the upcoming HCA General Meeting in October 2019.