What am I allowed to do with the data? What is the GO citation policy?

Citing GO

We ask that whenever using the GO and/or annotations in a publication, please cite the two papers below (the original paper describing GO, and our most recent update paper):

If you used a specific software/analysis tool in your research, in addition to the two publications above, please also cite the tool used according to the following list:

  • GO Enrichment Analysis: Thomas PD, Ebert D, Muruganujan A, Mushayahama T, Albou LP, Mi H. PANTHER: Making genome-scale phylogenetics accessible to all. Protein Sci. 2022 Jan;31(1):8-22. DOI:10.1002/pro.4218 [abstract | full text]
  • AmiGO: Carbon S, Ireland A, Mungall CJ, Shu S, Marshall B, Lewis S, AmiGO Hub, Web Presence Working Group. AmiGO: online access to ontology and annotation data. Bioinformatics. 2009 Jan;25(2):288-289. DOI:10.1093/bioinformatics/btn615 [abstract | full text]
  • GO-CAMs: Thomas PD, Hill DP, Mi H, Osumi-Sutherland D, Van Auken K, Carbon S, Balhoff JP, Albou LP, Good B, Gaudet P, Lewis SE, Mungall CJ. Gene Ontology Causal Activity Modeling (GO-CAM) moves beyond GO annotations to structured descriptions of biological functions and systems. Nat Genet. 2019 Oct;51(10):1429-1433. DOI: 10.1038/s41588-019-0500-1 [abstract | full text]

If you produce tools and/or services that use GO data, the user should be provided with the GO release date and DOI along with the results (e.g. “2023-01-01” and “DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.7504797”).


Gene Ontology Consortium data and data products are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported License. A human-readable version and explanation is available at the Creative Commons website. For information about how to properly credit data use, please review the Creative Commons FAQ or contact the GO Helpdesk.

We ask that when using or citing GO data that the particular release is mentioned. For example, we’d ask that the date (e.g. “2023-01-01”) is included where applicable, and optionally the Zenodo DOI (e.g. “10.5281/zenodo.7504797”). Links, where applicable, would be a useful addition for end-users.


According to the terms of GO’s CC BY 4.0 license, those using our data publicly or redistributing it must provide:

  • “identification of the creator(s) of the Licensed Material and any others designated to receive attribution, in any reasonable manner requested by the Licensor (including by pseudonym if designated);”
  • “a copyright notice;”
  • “a notice that refers to this Public License;”
  • “a notice that refers to the disclaimer of warranties;”
  • “a URI or hyperlink to the Licensed Material to the extent reasonably practicable;”

“…in any reasonable manner based on the medium, means, and context…”.

For example, if you are offering downloads containing GO data, have a data licensing page in your application, or refer to licensed data in your documentation, in addition to citing the appropriate papers, your notice may be:

Gene Ontology data from the 2023-01-01 release (DOI:10.5281/zenodo.7504797) is made available under the terms of the CC BY 4.0 license.

See GO’s full citation/data use policy and our license HERE.