Skip to main content

Permissions and data sharing

All data in Movebank exist within studies, and as such the study is the basic level by which data owners control access to their data. Subsidiary levels of access control are reference data (animals, tags, files) and observation data (the actual location data collected). 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 owner/s (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.

Only those users that are data managers for a study are allowed to change study permissions (and are allowed to upload and edit data). To set permissions for the study description and data, select Sharing > Permissions from the Studies page. From here, data managers can choose which user groups can view the study name and summary, view the tracking data on the map in Movebank, and download the tracking data.

Please consider your Permissions settings carefully. Do you want your data to be completely private, or would you like to be able to easily send a link to a few sample tracks to colleagues? If you will be in the field and offline for an extended period, are there collaborators that might need to access the data while you are away? Because Movebank cannot access your data or study settings (unless you add someone from Movebank as a data manager), we are not able to add Data Managers or grant access to your data in the event that you are offline and want to share your data. To set permissions for specific animals, go to the study and select Animals from beneath the study name on the left. Then select an animal from the list that appears below. Select Sharing from the options above the details (on the right), and change the permissions for the individual. This detailed access control gives data owners very flexible options over sharing data. For example, if a data owner has unpublished data, he or she can choose to keep the study summary and data completely private, or to display only the study summary and one sample animal track. After the data are published, the owner can easily change the settings to make the data visible to the public or a wider group of collaborators.

Make the study description and data inaccessible to all others

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

  • 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.
  • Make sure that Visibility of study name and summary and Default visibility of tracking data are set to Data managers only.
  • Make sure the Restrict data downloads to button is checked, and select Data managers only from the dropdown box to the right.
  • Select Save.

Allow only selected users (Collaborators) to view data, with optional download access

You can give other 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. To set the Permissions settings,

  • 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.
  • Make sure that Visibility of study name and summary is set to Collaborators only or Public.
  • If you want to allow Collaborators to view your tracking data, make sure that Default visibility of tracking data is set to Collaborators only.
  • To restrict download access to Collaborators, make sure the Restrict data downloads to button is checked, and select Data managers only from the dropdown box to the right. To allow Collaborators to download the data, make sure that the box next to Restrict data downloads to is checked, and select Collaborators only from the dropdown box to the right.
  • Select Save.

Next, add the selected 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 adding them as Data Managers. This is recommended if multiple users will be uploading or editing the study. The user who creates a study is initially the only Data Manager for that study. To add additional users as Data Managers for a study,

  • 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 > 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 one animal track but restrict access to data and other tracks

You can allow the public to view only your study details, and optionally view one or more sample tracks. 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,

  • 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.
  • Make sure that Visibility of study name and summary is set to Public.
  • Make sure that Default visibility of tracking data is set to Collaborators only or Data managers only (or, if you set this to Public, the public will be able to view your tracks on a map but not download any information).
  • Make sure the Restrict data downloads to button is checked, and select Collaborators only or Data managers only from the dropdown box to the right.
  • Select Save.

Next, make your selected track/s visible to the public:

  • 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 available.

If you want to restrict access to tracks you have made publicly available, you can remove access through the sharing options for the individual file as described here, or go to Sharing > Permissions from your study and check the box next to Restore visibility of tracking data to default.

Allow the public to view the study and freely download the study data

You can allow the public to view and download your tracking data. This is recommended for data that have been published or that were collected for public 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,

  • 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.
  • 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 set in the Movebank Data Repository.