SPARC Terms of Service

Please read these Terms and Conditions of Service carefully before accessing or using the SPARC Portal.


  1. Definitions

  2. Account Terms

  3. User Code of Conduct

  4. Liability

  5. Disclaimer of Warranties

  6. Indemnification

  7. Severability

The SPARC Program promotes open science through its mission to provide freely available online data, software and other resources relating to data contributed from life science experiments to the largest possible community through the SPARC Portal. Please read these Terms and Conditions of Service (“Terms”) carefully before accessing or using the SPARC Portal. If you have any questions about these terms, conditions or the practices of the SPARC Portal or any of the other Services, please contact us at [email protected].


  1. An "Account" represents your legal relationship with the SPARC Portal. A “User Account” represents an individual User’s authorization to log in to and use the Services and serves as a User’s identity on the SPARC Portal.

  2. The “Agreement” refers, collectively, to all the terms, conditions, notices contained or referenced in this document (the “Terms and Conditions of Service” or the "Terms") and all other operating rules, policies (including the SPARC Portal Privacy Policy and procedures that we may publish from time to time on the Portal.

  3. “Content” refers to content featured or displayed through the Portal, including without limitation code, text, data, articles, images, photographs, models, graphics, software, applications, scripts, packages, designs, features, and other materials that are available on the Portal. "Content" also includes Services. “User-Generated Content” is Content, written or otherwise, created or uploaded by our Users. "Your Content" is Content that you create or own.

  4. The “SPARC Data and Resource Center,” “Data and Resource Center,” “SPARC DRC,” and “DRC” refers to an NIH-funded collaboration between groups based in the United States (University of Pennsylvania, MBF Bioscience, UCSD), Switzerland (IT’IS Foundation), and New Zealand (University of Auckland) as well as their contractors, licensors and employees. Collectively, these groups develop and manage the SPARC Portal.

  5. The “SPARC Program,” and “SPARC” refers to the NIH Common Fund’s Stimulating Peripheral Activity to Relieve Conditions, or SPARC, Program that launched in 2014. The SPARC Program funds over 40 multidisciplinary teams around the world to uncover the role of the autonomic nervous system in controlling organ function and to accelerate development of therapeutic devices and identification of neural targets as a way of advancing bioelectronic medicine towards more precise treatment of diseases and conditions.

  6. The “SPARC Portal,” and “Portal” refer to the DRC’s website located at, and all content, services, and products provided by the DRC at or through the SPARC Portal. Occasionally, Services available through the SPARC Portal may provide different or additional terms of service. If those additional terms conflict with this Agreement, the terms of the Services apply to the relevant page or Service.

  7. The “SPARC Portal Services,” “Portal Services,” and “Services” refer to the data, applications, software, products, and resources provided by the DRC through the SPARC Portal.

  8. The “User,” “You,” and “Your” refer to the individual person, company, or organization that has visited or is using the Portal or Services; that accesses or uses any part of the Account; or that directs the use of the Account in the performance of its functions. A User must be at least 13 years of age.

Account Terms

As a user of the SPARC Portal you agree to the Terms and Conditions of Service defined herein and where applicable the terms defined by the User Code of Conduct. These terms include, but are not limited to:

  • You must be a human to create an Account. Accounts registered by "bots" or other automated methods are not permitted. We do permit machine accounts:

    • A machine account is an Account set up by an individual human who accepts the Terms on behalf of the Account, provides a valid email address, and is responsible for its actions. A machine account is used exclusively for performing automated tasks. Multiple users may direct the actions of a machine account, but the owner of the Account is ultimately responsible for the machine's actions. You may maintain no more than one free machine account in addition to your free User Account.
  • One person or legal entity may maintain no more than one free Account (if you choose to control a machine account as well, that's fine, but it can only be used for running a machine).

  • You must be age 13 or older in accordance with United States law. If we learn of any User under the age of 13, we will terminate that User’s Account immediately. If you are a resident of a country outside the United States, your country’s minimum age may be older; in such a case, you are responsible for complying with your country’s laws.

  • You are responsible for keeping your Account secure while you use our Portal.

    • You are responsible for all content posted and activity that occurs under your Account (even when content is posted by others who have Accounts under your Account).
    • You are responsible for maintaining the security of your Account and password. We cannot and will not be liable for any loss or damage from your failure to comply with this security obligation.
    • You will promptly notify the SPARC Portal by emailing [[email protected]] if you become aware of any unauthorized use of, or access to, the Portal through your Account, including any unauthorized use of your password or Account.
  • You acknowledge Intellectual Property Policies should they exist as specified in a dataset’s associated Data Use Certification.

  • You will provide appropriate acknowledgement in any dissemination of research findings, publications, services or products for any Portal Services. The expected attribution will be indicated on the appropriate web page (e.g., investigator/s who generated the data, the funding source, and DOI numbers of the dataset).

The SPARC DRC may make our Services available on or through third party sites such as other websites or resources on the internet, and other websites or resources may contain links to the Portal. When you access third party sites, you do so at your own risk. These third-party sites are not under the DRC’s control, and you acknowledge that the DRC is not responsible or liable for the content, functions, accuracy, legality, appropriateness or any other aspect of such third-party sites. Furthermore, the inclusion of any such link does not imply endorsement by the DRC and the SPARC Program or any association with the third-party sites’ operators. Third parties' terms may apply to your use of the Portal or Services. Please be aware that while these Terms are our full agreement with you, other parties' terms govern their relationships with you.

The SPARC DRC and our licensors, vendors, agents, and/or our content providers retain ownership of all intellectual property rights of any kind related to the Portal and Services. We reserve all rights that are not expressly granted to you under these Terms or by law. You may not duplicate, copy, or reuse any portion of the HTML/CSS, JavaScript, content, or visual design elements or concepts without express written permission from the DRC.

The SPARC DRC may assign or delegate these Terms and/or the SPARC Portal Privacy Policy, in whole or in part, to any person or entity at any time with or without your consent, including the Licenses granted. You may not assign or delegate any rights or obligations under the Terms or Privacy Policy without our prior written consent, and any unauthorized assignment and delegation by you is void.

SPARC Portal terms and conditions may be changed at any time via a public posting of revisions to the Portal Services. As a user, you agree to review the Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy each time you use the Portal Services so that you are aware of any modifications made to these policies. By accessing or using the Portal Services, you agree with and to be bound by all of the terms and conditions and policies as posted on the SPARC Portal at the time of your access or use, including the Privacy Policy.

User Code of Conduct

  1. Responsibilities: Your use of the Portal and Services must not violate any applicable laws, including copyright or trademark laws, export control or sanctions laws, or other laws in your jurisdiction. You are responsible for making sure that your use of the Portal and Services is in compliance with laws and any applicable regulations.

  2. User-Generated Content: You may create or upload User-Generated Content while using the Portal and Services. You are solely responsible for the content of, and for any harm resulting from, any User-Generated Content that you post, upload, link to or otherwise make available via the Portal and Services, regardless of the form of that Content. We are not responsible for any public display or misuse of your User-Generated Content. We have the right (though not the obligation) to refuse or remove any User-Generated Content that, in our sole discretion, violates any SPARC Portal terms or policies.

  3. Ownership of Content: You retain ownership of and responsibility for Your Content. If you're posting anything you did not create yourself or do not own the rights to, you agree that you are responsible for any Content you post; that you will only submit Content that you have the right to post; and that you will fully comply with any third party licenses relating to Content you post. Because you retain ownership of and responsibility for Your Content, we need you to grant us — and other Portal Users — certain legal permissions, listed in the “Licenses” Section. These licenses apply to Your Content. If you upload Content that already comes with a license granting the Portal the permissions we need to run our Services, no additional license is required. You understand that you will not receive any payment for any of the rights granted in the “Licenses” Section. The licenses you grant to us will end when you remove Your Content from our servers, unless other Users have forked it.

  4. Licenses:

  • Granted to Us: We need the legal right to among others host Your Content, publish it, and share it. You grant us and our legal successors the right to store, parse, and display Your Content, and make incidental copies as necessary to render the Portal and provide the Services. This includes the right to among others copy Your Content to our database and make backups; show it to you and other users; parse it into a search index or otherwise analyze it on our servers, web servers run by hosting companies; share it with other users; and perform it, in case Your Content is something like music or video. This license does not grant the SPARC DRC the right to sell Your Content or otherwise distribute or use it outside of our provision of the Services.
  • Granted to Other Users: Any User-Generated Content you post publicly, including issues, comments, and contributions to the Portal and Services, may be viewed by others. By posting content to be viewed publicly, you agree to allow others to view and "fork" Your Content (this means that others may make their own copies of Your Content and store it in repositories, websites, applications and resources that they control). By posting content to be viewed publicly, you grant each User of the Portal and Services a nonexclusive, worldwide license to use, display, and perform Your Content through the Portal and Services and to reproduce Your Content solely on the Portal as permitted through the Portal’s functionality (for example, through forking). You may grant further rights if you adopt a license. If you are uploading Content you did not create or own, you are responsible for ensuring that the Content you upload is licensed under terms that grant these permissions to other Portal Users.
  • Additional Licenses: Whenever you make a contribution to Portal Services containing notice of a license, you license your contribution under the same terms, and you agree that you have the right to license your contribution under those terms. If you have a separate agreement to license your contributions under different terms, such as a contributor license agreement, that agreement will supersede.
  • Assignment: We may assign or delegate these granted licenses, in whole or in part, to any person or entity at any time with or without your consent.
  1. Moral Rights: You retain all moral rights to Your Content that you upload, publish, or submit to any part of the Portal and Services, including the rights of integrity and attribution. However, you waive these rights and agree not to assert them against us, to enable us to reasonably exercise the rights granted in the “Licenses” Section, but not otherwise. To the extent these Terms are not enforceable by applicable law, you grant us the rights we need to use Your Content without attribution and to make reasonable adaptations of Your Content as necessary to render the Portal and provide the Services.

  2. Application Provider Interface (API): Abuse or excessively frequent requests to Portal or Services via an API may result in the temporary or permanent suspension of your Account's access to the API. The SPARC DRC, in our sole discretion, will determine abuse or excessive usage of an API. We will make a reasonable attempt to warn you via email prior to suspension. You may not share API tokens to exceed the Portal’s rate limitations. You may not use an API to download data or Content from the Portal or Services for spamming purposes, including for the purposes of selling Portal users' personal information, such as to recruiters, headhunters, and job boards. All use of Portal’s and Services’ APIs are subject to these Terms and SPARC Portal Privacy Policy .

  3. Cancellation: It is your responsibility to properly cancel your Account with the DRC. We will retain and use your information as necessary to comply with our legal obligations, resolve disputes, and enforce our agreements, but barring legal requirements, we will delete your full profile and Your Content within 90 days of cancellation or termination (though some information may remain in encrypted backups). This information can not be recovered once your Account is cancelled. We will not delete Content that you have contributed to other Users' accounts or that other Users have forked.

  4. Termination: We have the right to suspend or terminate your access to all or any part of the Portal and Services at any time, with or without cause, with or without notice, effective immediately. We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason at any time.


For documents and/or data available from the Portal and Services, the SPARC DRC does not warrant or assume any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, reliability, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process. The SPARC DRC expressly reserves the right to change, to delete, or temporarily not to publish the contents wholly or partly at any time and without giving notice.

Liability claims against the SPARC DRC because of loss of profits, use, goodwill, or data, or for any incidental, indirect, special, consequential or exemplary damages arising from accessing, using or not using the Portal, Services, and the published information, through misuse of the connection or as a result of technical breakdowns are excluded. Our liability is limited whether or not we have been informed of the possibility of such damages, and even if a remedy set forth in these Terms is found to have failed of its essential purpose. We will have no liability for any failure or delay due to matters beyond our reasonable control.

Disclaimer of Warranties

The SPARC DRC provides the SPARC Portal and the Services “as is” and “as available,” without warranty of any kind. Without limiting this, we expressly disclaim all warranties, whether express, implied or statutory, regarding the Portal and the Services including without limitation any warranty of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title, security, accuracy and non-infringement.

The DRC does not warrant that the Portal and Services will meet your requirements; that the Portal and Services will be uninterrupted, timely, secure, or error-free; that the information provided through the Portal and Services is accurate, reliable or correct; that any defects or errors will be corrected; that the Portal and Services will be available at any particular time or location; or that the Portal and Services is free of viruses or other harmful components. You assume full responsibility and risk of loss resulting from your downloading and/or use of files, information, content or other material obtained from the Portal and Services.


If you have a dispute with one or more Users, you agree to release the SPARC DRC from any and all claims, demands and damages (actual and consequential) of every kind and nature, known and unknown, arising out of or in any way connected with such disputes.

You agree to indemnify us, defend us, and hold us harmless from and against any and all claims, liabilities, and expenses, including attorneys’ fees, arising out of your use of the Portal and the Services, including but not limited to your violation of these Terms, provided that we (1) promptly give you written notice of the claim, demand, suit or proceeding; (2) give you sole control of the defense and settlement of the claim, demand, suit or proceeding (provided that you may not settle any claim, demand, suit or proceeding unless the settlement unconditionally releases the DRC of all liability); and (3) provide to you all reasonable assistance, at your expense.


If any part of these Terms is held invalid or unenforceable, that portion of these Terms will be construed to reflect the parties’ original intent. The remaining portions will remain in full force and effect. Any failure on the part of the SPARC DRC to enforce any provision of these Terms will not be considered a waiver of our right to enforce such provision. Our rights under these Terms will survive any termination of these Terms.