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Permissions and data sharing

All data in Movebank exist within studies, and data owners control access to their data through their studies. Data owners have full control over who can view and download their study and data in Movebank. When a user creates a study on Movebank, he or she becomes a Data Manager for that study and defines the visibility of and access to their study. For example, a Data Manager can

The data owners (Data Managers) for a study control access to three user groups: Data Managers, Collaborators and the Public (all others). The user who creates a study is initially the only Data Manager for the study. When registered users are added as the PI and Contact for the study, these users will also be added as Data Managers. Data Managers can define additional Movebank users as Data Managers or Collaborators by selecting Sharing > Add/remove Data Managers or Sharing > Add/remove Collaborators from the Studies page. The Public includes everyone who is not defined as a Data Manager or Collaborator.

Please consider your permissions settings carefully. Do you want your data to be completely private, or would you like to be able to let colleagues or the public view the tracks? If you will be in the field and offline for an extended period, are there others that might need to access the data while you are away? You can update your permissions anytime—we recommend that you review your sharing settings as your research proceeds from data collection to publication, and make a plan for how to maintain access to the study beyond the end of your project. When you make your study summary visible to the public, be sure to add information in your Study Details to help your work be discovered and understood.

Setting permissions

Only Data Managers for a study are allowed to change a study's permissions and upload or edit data. To set permissions,

  • Log in to Movebank and go to Tracking Data Map > Studies.
  • Type in the name of your study and select the name from the list on the left to view the study details.
  • From the study menu, go to Sharing > Permissions.

From here, Data Managers can choose which user groups can view the study name and summary, view animal locations on the map in Movebank, and download data, as described in the examples below.

Make the study completely private

This may be helpful while you are uploading and organizing your data. To keep your study invisible to all users except for Data Managers,

  • Go to your study's Permissions.
  • Set Visibility of study name and summary and Default visibility of tracking data to Data Managers only.
  • Check the box next to Restrict data downloads to and select Data Managers only from the dropdown box to the right.
  • Select Save.

Allow selected users (Collaborators) to view animal tracks, with optional download access

You can give specific Movebank users restricted access to your study by setting appropriate permissions and adding them as Collaborators. This is recommended if you want to provide certain people with limited access to unpublished or sensitive information.

  • Go to your study's Permissions.
  • Set Visibility of study name and summary to Collaborators only or Public.
  • Set Default visibility of tracking data to Collaborators only.
  • Check the box next to Restrict data downloads to. To restrict download access to Collaborators, select Data Managers only from the dropdown box to the right. To allow Collaborators to download the data, select Collaborators only from the dropdown box to the right.
  • Select Save.

Next, add users as Collaborators for your study:

  • From the study menu, go to Sharing > Add/remove Collaborators.
  • In the Registered Persons Filter, type a registered user's name or username and hit enter.
  • Select the user from the filter results the table just below. It will be highlighted in blue once selected.
  • Select the right arrow in the middle of the window to add the user to the list of Current Collaborators.
  • The selected user should now be listed under Current Collaborators. Select Close.

Allow selected users (Data Managers) to upload, edit, view and download data

You can give other Movebank users unrestricted access to your study by adding them as Data Managers. This is recommended if multiple users will be uploading or editing the study. The user who creates the study and registered users set as the PI or Contact for the study will automatically be added as Data Managers. To add additional Data Managers to a study,

  • From the study menu, go to Sharing > Add/remove Data Managers.
  • In the Registered persons filter, type a registered user's name or username and hit enter.
  • Select the user from the filter results the table just below. It will be highlighted in blue once selected.
  • Select right arrow in the middle of the window to add the user to the list of Current Data Managers.
  • The selected user should now be listed under Current Data Managers. Select Close.

Allow the public to view the study description and animal tracks but not download data

You can allow the public to view only your study details and, optionally, animal tracks on a map. This allows the public, including other researchers, to see that you have data in Movebank and contact you if they are interested in learning more about it. This is recommended for studies that are not yet published. To make the study details visible to the public,

  • Go to your study's Permissions.
  • Set Visibility of study name and summary to Public.
  • Set Default visibility of tracking data as you prefer. (This allows users to view your tracks on a map but not download any information).
  • Check the box next to Restrict data downloads to, and select Collaborators only or Data Managers only from the dropdown box to the right.
  • Select Save.

To make only selected track/s visible to the public:

  • Set Default visibility of tracking data to Collaborators only or Data Managers only.
  • Select Animals from the menu under your study name on the left of the studies page. A list of all Animal IDs in your study will appear below.
  • Select the Animal ID for an animal you want to make publicly available.
  • From the study menu, go to Sharing.
  • Check the box next to Override default visibility of tracking data and select Public from the dropdown box to the right.

  • Repeat this for any other tracks you want to make publicly visible.

If you want to undo track-specific sharing settings, you can uncheck the Override default visibility of tracking data for the relevant tracks, or go to your study's Permissions and check the box next to Restore visibility of tracking data to default.

Allow the public to view the study and download data

You can allow the public to view and download your tracking data. This is recommended for data that have been published or that you want to be available for education and outreach. Users will be asked to accept license terms as you have defined for your study. To make the study details and tracks visible to the public and allow them to download the data,

  • Go to your study's Permissions.
  • Make sure that Visibility of study name and summary is set to Public.
  • Make sure that Default visibility of tracking data is set to Public.
  • Make sure the box next to Restrict data downloads to is unchecked.
  • If you want to require that users accept license terms before downloading data, make sure that the box next to Prompt users to accept license terms is checked. You can specify license terms in the Study Details; otherwise the General Movebank Terms of Use will apply.
  • Select Save.

If you would like to have your dataset reviewed and be permanently archived for other researchers and the public, consider publishing your data in the Movebank Data Repository.

Participate in the Animal Tracker app.

The Animal Tracker app (available for Android, iPad and iPhone) allows the public to follow the movements of animals being tracked using live feeds in Movebank. Users can animate recent movements, view information about the research project and individual animals, and contribute photos and notes about the animals or their habitat that are sent to the data owner. The app can also be used to privately share non-public data, intended to help researchers in the field.

To add your study to the Animal Tracker, go to Permissions and check the box next to "Allow access by Animal Tracker?" Then, if you want to allow the public to view your tracks and contribute observations,

If you want the data visible only to your research team in the app,

  • Keep your permissions settings as they are.
  • Choose "Select" next to "Animal Tracker admin". You will see a list of Data Managers for your study. Select one Data Manager to be the administrator for this study within the Animal Tracker app.
  • Select Save.

It may take up to a day before your data appear in the app. For questions about the app, contact animaltracker@orn.mpg.de.