Governance Overview | Synapse Documentation

Governance Overview

Synapse operates under comprehensive governance policies. These policies delineate Synapse users’ rights and responsibilities. They also specify the rights and responsibilities of Sage Bionetworks and of the Synapse Access and Compliance Team (ACT).

Terms and Conditions of Use

The Synapse Terms and Conditions of Use establishes the use, disclaimers, and limitation of liability governing Synapse. By using Synapse, you are agreeing to abide by each of these terms and conditions.

Data Use Procedure

The Synapse Data Use Procedure describes the standard operating procedures for use of data within Synapse. For example, it defines Open Data and Controlled Data. This policy clarifies the requirements for uploading and downloading data to and from Synapse.

Privacy Policy

The Privacy Policy explains how Sage Bionetworks aims to protect personal information received, used and disclosed in connection with Synapse from Registered Users and non-registered visitors.

Code of Conduct

The Code of Conduct delineates the rules and expected behavioral norms of Synapse users. It reflects Sage Bionetworks’ core values and culture of inclusion, respect, and courtesy.

Members of the Synapse Community come from around the world. They have diverse sets of skills, personalities, and experiences. The Synapse community is open and positive. We expect members to follow our Community Standards, and we do not tolerate harassment.

Synapse Community Standards

A participant in the Synapse Community:

  • Welcomes others
  • Uses inclusive language
  • Shares experiences and knowledge
  • Respects other viewpoints and ideas
  • Shows empathy and kindness when interacting with others

Here are examples of behavior that do not meet the Synapse Community Standards:

  • Insulting or derogatory comments
  • Personal or political attacks
  • Trolling
  • Sexual language or images
  • Sharing private information without permission (e.g. sharing someone’s physical or electronic address)
  • Other conduct reasonably considered inappropriate in a professional setting

Participating in Synapse is a choice. Sage Bionetworks, as the host of the Synapse Community, has the right and responsibility to remove, edit, or reject contributions that are not aligned to this Code of Conduct. Sage Bionetworks may also ban temporarily, or permanently, any person who does not meet the Community Standards and whose behaviors they deem inappropriate, threatening, offensive, or harmful.

If you see violations of our Community Standards, please email The Synapse Access and Compliance Team (ACT) investigates all reports and decides what to do. We do not hold hearings or allow for appeals. We are committed to protect the confidentiality of victims and of anyone who reports an incident.

This Code of Conduct is adapted from the Contributor Covenant, version 1.4.

Becoming a Registered User

In order to become a Registered User, users must agree to the Terms and Conditions of Use, the Data Use Procedure, and Privacy Policy. Users must declare to:

  • Act ethically and responsibly
  • Protect and respect data participant’s privacy and confidentiality
  • Abide by the principles for responsible data use and handling as described in the Synapse Governance Documents
  • Take full responsibility for my use of data, software, and other Synapse content
  • Share content only when authorized
  • Not hack Synapse
  • Comply with by all applicable laws and regulations
  • Adhere to the Synapse Code of Conduct

Oversight, Audits, and Adjudication

The Synapse Access and Compliance Team (ACT) monitors public activities on Synapse through periodic audits to assess compliance with the Synapse governance policies. For example, through these audits, the ACT verifies that public content shared on Synapse has appropriate Conditions for Use. The ACT does not monitor activities or content placed in private Projects. The ACT supports ethical use of Synapse, including adjudicating suspected unauthorized and/or unethical use of data, as well as “unsportsmanlike” behavior within the Synapse research commons. The ACT relies on the community of researchers and research participants for vigilance against unauthorized and/or unethical use of Synapse. Additionally, we rely on the community to hold itself to the highest standard of collegial behavior. People unable or unwilling to meet these standards may be expelled from Synapse. Do not hesitate to get in touch with the ACT ( if you have questions or suggestions about Synapse governance, including the policies, ethics, or rules for data sharing on Synapse.

It is your responsibility to contact the ACT ( if:

  • You suspect that data is improperly shared on Synapse
  • You are concerned that data shared on Synapse is improperly or incompletely de-identified
  • You suspect unauthorized use of Synapse data
Important: By using Synapse you consent to these Governance policies and procedures.

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