Standards and policies

The International Nucleotide Sequence Database Collaboration (INSDC) has been an international collaboration between DDBJ, EMBL, and GenBank for over 20 years. Its advisory committee, the International Advisory Committee (IAC), is made up of European, Japanes and US chapters; membership of the European chapter overlaps that of the ENA Scientific Advisory Board (SAB). In 2002, the IAC endorsed and reaffirmed the existing data-sharing policy of the three databases that make up the INSDC, which is stated below.

Individuals submitting data to the international sequence databases managed collaboratively by DDBJ, EMBL, and GenBank should be aware of the following:

  1. The INSDC has a uniform policy of free and unrestricted access to all of the data records their databases contain. Scientists worldwide can access these records to plan experiments or publish any analysis or critique. Appropriate credit is given by citing the original submission, following the practices of scientists utilising published scientific literature.
  2. The INSDC will not attach statements to records that restrict access to the data, limit the use of the information in these records, or prohibit certain types of publications based on these records. Specifically, no use restrictions or licensing requirements will be included in any sequence data records, and no restrictions or licensing fees will be placed on the redistribution or use of the database by any party.
  3. All database records submitted to the INSDC will remain permanently accessible as part of the scientific record. Corrections of errors and update of the records by authors are welcome and erroneous records may be removed from the next database release, but all will remain permanently accessible by accession number.
  4. Submitters are advised that the information displayed on the Web sites maintained by the INSDC is fully disclosed to the public. It is the responsibility of the submitters to ascertain that they have the right to submit the data.
  5. Beyond limited editorial control and some internal integrity checks (for example, proper use of INSDC formats and translation of coding regions specified in CDS entries are verified), the quality and accuracy of the record are the responsibility of the submitting author, not of the database. The databases will work with submitters and users of the database to achieve the best quality resource possible.

The INSDC is an outstanding example of success in building an immensely valuable, widely used public resource through voluntary cooperation across the international scientific community. This success has been achieved by following the guidelines and principles outlined above.


Soren Brunak, Antoine Danchin, Masahira Hattori, Haruki Nakamura, Kazuo Shinozaki, Tara Matise, Daphne Preuss (2002)
Nucleotide Sequence Database Policies
Science 298 (5597): 1333 15 Nov 2002


Please refer here for details of current membership of the European chapter of the INSDC IAC and the ENA SAB and here for the full membership of the IAC.