Introducing a new look, policies and features for 2020

Dear Movebank users,

We are pleased to announce several exciting changes at Movebank. In addition to a new design, we have created new guidelines and sharing options to give data owners more flexibility, support programs relying on Movebank for broad-scale conservation efforts, and further our mission to serve as a global archive for animal movement.

When you arrive at Movebank, you'll see a new homepage, a News page, and a completely redesigned user manual. When you go to the Tracking Data Map and Studies pages and log in, those of you who are Data Managers for studies in Movebank will notice a few more additions, described below.

As of March 2020, we are introducing a new data policy and have developed several new features in support of this policy. These changes are centered around the goals that Movebank has had since its inception and are designed to support and guide users from initial data upload to eventual public archiving, so that studies are complete and able to be discovered and accessed for beneficial re-use in the future, accommodating restricted access where needed. Data owners will continue to retain ownership and control over access to their studies in Movebank, with more options and clarity to maximize the amount of data that are preserved for future generations.

New documentation

New or updated policies and guidelines include

New Permissions options

If you own data already in Movebank, the Permissions settings for your existing studies have not changed. We do encourage you to review these new features and update your studies to take advantage of them. Owners retain the option to restrict data visibility and access. New features for study owners include

  • Study type: Data Managers (data owners) will now define their studies as "test" (temporary and hidden) or "research" (permanent and publicly discoverable) studies, and can update this setting anytime.
  • Public embargos: Data Managers now have the option to commit to making their data public while restricting recent data or by choosing a date in the future on which it will become public.
  • Data licenses: For publicly-downloadable data, Data Managers will now use data licenses from Creative Commons, a widely adopted source of licenses for public research data and creative works.
  • A new Notifications system: This system allows Movebank's development and curation team to send Data Managers tips for improving their studies and automated reminders of upcoming changes to their studies based on their Permissions settings.

Why these changes?

These changes are the results of a year-long evaluation that included

  • Needs identified through monitoring Movebank's growth and contents since 2011.
  • Feedback from data owners and groups relying on Movebank to administer large-scale analyses and conservation programs.
  • Current licensing, embargo, and sharing policies used by peer databases.

They also are coordinated with technical updates that will improve security and allow the website and database to scale with accelerating growth.

Where you will notice changes

Visitors to Movebank will find information about these changes throughout the website. Notifications for registered users will be displayed when logged in and will be emailed to the address associated with their accounts.

When downloading data, users who are required by the data owners to accept license terms for a study will see the study's terms of use or data license and the complete General Movebank Terms of Use, which includes guidelines for data re-use and links to the citation guidelines and user agreement.

Data Managers will see a few additional changes: When creating a new study or editing Study Details, you'll now see the Study Type. The new options for public embargoes and data licenses, as well as the License Terms for non-public studies, are now managed in study Permissions.

Let us know what you think!

Throughout 2020 we will be spreading the word about these changes and the new opportunities they bring. Have a look around the site, and send questions and feedback to And this is not all we've been working on—we'll have more to share in our upcoming annual newsletter!


The Movebank Team

Published by Movebank on 2020-03-04