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MTA Header Icon Transparency & Privacy Policy


Last modified: May 21, 2018

Addgene values your trust and understands the concerns you may have regarding your information. This Transparency & Privacy Policy is meant to give you a clear and concise understanding of our information collection and privacy protection processes by answering the following:

  1. What type of information does Addgene collect?
  2. How does Addgene collect that information (includes Cookies policy)?
  3. Why does Addgene need that information?
  4. How does Addgene use (or “process”) that information?
  5. Who else has access to that information?
  6. How does Addgene protect that information?
  7. How long does Addgene need that information?
  8. What controls do Addgene’s users have in that information?
  9. What, if any, information is collected by or shared with third parties?
  10. Who can users contact if there are concerns regarding their personal information?
  11. What else do users need to know?

What type of information does Addgene collect?

Addgene collects the following types of information from you:

  • “Personal Information” - this can include your name, organization, email address, mailing address, principal investigator, field of study and phone number (optional).
  • “Technical Information” - this is non-personally identifiable information related to your interactions with our website, which can include internet domain and host names; Internet protocol addresses (“IP”) addresses; browser software and operating system types; dates and times; frequency and length of page visits, and site navigation. For purposes of this policy, this does not include scientific data relating to plasmids you may deposit with Addgene.
  • “Financial Information” - this can include purchase order and credit card* numbers.

*For security purposes, Addgene does not process nor store your credit card information. It never touches our servers and so is never seen by us. Instead, we use a payment gateway service called USAePay, a Level-1 PCI compliant company. Visit USAePay’s page for more information about service and security.

How does Addgene collect that information?

  1. How does Addgene collect Personal Information?

    In order to share or receive materials through Addgene, you are required to create an Addgene account. During that process, we ask you for your name, organization, email address, mailing address, principal investigator and phone number (optional).

    There are also other resources available on, or through**, our Site that do not require you to set up an account. For example, you can subscribe to Addgene’s newsletter, subscribe and/or comment on our blog, or download an ebook. In order to access each of these resources, you will be asked to provide your email address.

    **Some services, such as Addgene’s blog and help center are hosted through third party services. For more information about these services, see our Cookies Policy in response 2b.

  2. How does Addgene collect Technical Information?

    When you visit our website, small text files (“cookies”) are placed on your hard drive. These cookies are sent by your browser to our website next time you visit our website. These cookies store Technical Information during your interactions with our website and are necessary to support many of its basic features such as logged-in sessions. In addition to supporting the website’s features, some of Addgene’s web pages use cookies to send us Technical Information that we may occasionally aggregate with similar information from other users. This aggregated information helps us evaluate our users’ experiences and improve our website.

    These cookies alone cannot be used to identify any specific user. If you are logged into your Addgene account, a cookie will identify your computer to our server but not you personally. Unless you specifically tell us who you are, a cookie will not identify you to us.

    Upon visiting our web pages for the first time and every year (365 days) thereafter, you will be asked to consent to our use of cookies. Addgene shall not be responsible for users that intentionally bypass this consent and make continued use of Addgene Sites. You are free to remove these cookies at any time by deleting them in your browser as applicable. Please click here to learn more about cookies, including how to control, disable or delete them.

    For more information about cookies employed on our website, please refer to the table below:

    Source Name of Cookie Purpose Link if 3rd-party
    addgene.org and www.addgene.org
    Addgene addgene.org Identifies the logged-in user account
    Addgene addgene_messages Keeps track of which dismissible Addgene messages have already been dismissed
    Addgene csrftoken Provides a security mechanism for processing user input
    Addgene django_language Identifies the language in which the Addgene website is presented
    Google Analytics _ga, _gat, _gid, _utma, _utmc, _utmz Set by our Google Analytics service, which helps us evaluate our visitors' experiences so that we can make improvements to our website More information about Google Analytics
    Zendesk zte2095 Set by our Zendesk service, which provides our website-wide help functionality More information about Zendesk
    CloudFlare _cfduid Set by our CloudFlare service, which we use to protect our website from security threats More information about CloudFlare
    New Relic (nr-data.net) JSESSIONID Set by our New Relic service, which helps us monitor the performance of our website More information about New Relic
    Subdomains hosted by third party services
    Zendesk Various We use the Zendesk service to power our help pages and provide customer service. The subdomain help.addgene.org is hosted by Zendesk. When you visit help pages, Zendesk may set various cookies to enable it to function properly. More information about Zendesk
    Hubspot We use the Hubspot service to publish our blog and manage our newsletter and eBook subscriptions. The subdomains info.addgene.org and blog.addgene.org are hosted by Hubspot. When you visit these pages, Hubspot may set various coookies that enable it to work properly. More information about Hubspot
    Social media features and embedded content
    Twitter Various Our website includes third party social media features, such as the Facebook Like button, and embedded content, such as our Twitter feed. These features may set cookies to enable them to function properly. More information about Twitter
    Facebook More information about Facebook
    LinkedIn More information about LinkedIn
    Google+ More information about Google+
    YouTube More information about YouTube
  3. How does Addgene collect Financial Information?

    When you are requesting materials through Addgene, you will be prompted for your payment information. You can choose to pay by credit card or purchase order. If you choose to pay by credit card, you will be redirected to USAePay’s payment portal. As noted above Addgene does not process nor store your credit card information.

    If you choose to pay by purchase order, you will enter in that information at “checkout.” If you choose to submit payment information later, we will follow up with you via email to obtain that information.

Why does Addgene need that information?

  1. Why does Addgene need your Personal Information?

    With regards to Personal Information collected during account creation, Addgene needs that information because it is necessary:

    1. to create the contract (the material transfer agreement) that governs the sharing of materials between your organization and the sharing organization(s). View a template of one such contract here;

    2. to comply with legal obligations to which Addgene is subject, including our inability to ship to certain countries, entities and individuals pursuant to U.S. export control regulations; our inability to distribute materials to industry organizations pursuant to our contractual obligations; and our obligation to track, record and report material distributions to the applicable material rights holders; and

    3. to perform / carry out our mission as a nonprofit repository that helps scientists around the world by, amongst other things, serving as an archive for their scientific research materials, data, protocols and other research information.

    With regards to Personal Information collected for specific purposes, such as our newsletter, ebooks, and blogs, we use this information:

    1. to enforce our Terms of Use, with respect to your communications on our Site;

    2. to provide you with your requested access of the service (i.e., the newsletter, ebook); and

    3. to pursue our mission-based interests of developing educational and technical resources for specific scientific fields and users.

  2. Why does Addgene need Technical Information?

    The Technical Information that we collect when you visit our website is necessary to support many of its basic features such as logged-in sessions. We also may occasionally use the Technical Information in the aggregate with similar information from other users in order to help us evaluate users’ experiences and improve our website.

  3. Why does Addgene need Financial Information?

    We need payment assurance for the materials that you have requested. This can be in the form of verification from our payment gateway service or a verifiable, purchase order number. Our Standard Terms of Purchase can be found here.

How does Addgene use (or “process”) that information?

  1. How does Addgene process Personal Information?

    Addgene processes Personal Information collected at account creation as follows:

    1. Contracts (Material Transfer Agreements “MTA”) - The contractual components needed to execute an MTA between organizations sharing materials are the names of the scientists sharing materials, the names of the organizations, the names of the principal investigators (i.e., the heads of the labs in which materials are used/originate) (if different from the sharing scientists), and the addresses of the labs and organizations.

    2. Export Controls - Addgene checks your name, organization and country against various export control lists, provided by the U.S. government, to determine whether we can conduct business with you.

    3. Contractual Restrictions - Many of the materials deposited with Addgene may only be distributed to academic, nonprofit, research organizations. This is why we need to know what type of organization you are registering.

    4. Records and Reporting - Because Addgene facilitates the sharing of materials between organizations, these organizations rely on Addgene (via contract) to track, record and report materials and executed material transfer agreements on their behalf. Records of all material transfers are available to the sharing organizations’ administrative offices via their accounts and email; and reports of material transfers are delivered to the sharing organizations’ administrators’ emails. Additionally, Addgene tracks, records and reports your specific lab’s material transfers. These records are available in your Addgene account and reports are mailed to your email at a daily, monthly or yearly frequency of your choosing.

    5. Archival and Scientific Purposes - Since its inception, Addgene has been dedicated to helping scientists share their materials. We are accomplishing this by operating a nonprofit, materials repository on behalf of the global, research community. Scientists looking to store, archive or share their materials can do so by depositing their materials with us (see here for benefits of depositing). Scientists looking for certain materials discussed in a publication or by the depositing scientist at a conference, for example, can search our database by the publication, scientist name or material characteristics.

    Addgene processes Personal Information collected for specific purposes as follows:

    1. Site Enforcement - In the event that you choose to engage in inappropriate conduct on our Site, as discussed in our Terms of Use, we will restrict, block or ban your access as we deem appropriate.

    2. Access/Deliverables - We will use your email address to send you notices of blog updates, electronic ebook copies and subsequent updates, newsletters etc., if you have chosen to opt-in to receive them.

    3. Content Creation - We will use your title and field of study, in an aggregated manner, to determine what type of content interests our users and the type of users we should be gearing content toward.

  2. How does Addgene process Technical Information?

    For information on how Addgene processes Technical Information, please see our Cookies Policy in response 2b.

  3. How does Addgene process Financial Information?

    As noted above, for security purposes, Addgene does not process nor store your credit card information. It never touches our servers and so is never seen by us. Visit USAePay’s page for more information about service and security.

    Assuming that you have placed your order directly on Addgene’s website, Addgene can use your purchase order number to look up your order if/when you contact us. We will also use it to recoup payment from your organization.

    Once we have payment assurance, this information is then processed through our financial accounting software, Celigo and Netsuite.

Who else has access to that information?

  1. Who else has access to your Personal Information?

    Pursuant to Addgene’s contractual and legal obligations, material transfer agreements and reports will be provided to your respective organizations, i.e., those sharing and receiving material. Additionally, reports of your specific materials-sharing activity will be provided to you and those whom you may designate.

    Regarding physical delivery, Addgene’s couriers and other delivery agents, including USPS, FedEx, UPS, and World Courier, will have access to your name, organization and mailing address for the purposes of delivering any materials that you have requested. Additionally, Addgene works with local partners and distributors to help us facilitate the execution of material transfer agreements, the delivery of materials and the help of customer support. To the extent that your Personal Information is needed to execute contracts and deliver materials, our local partners and distributors will have access to that limited information. LGC Limited, in the UK, assists us in our customer support and outreach efforts. Beijing Zhongyuan (China), Summit Pharma. (Japan) and LeeHyo (Korea) each help us facilitate the execution of material transfer agreements and the delivery of materials in their respective countries. Read here for more information about Addgene’s international shipping practices.

    With regards to Personal Information collected for specific purposes, such as our newsletter, ebooks, and blogs, unless otherwise stated at the time of obtaining your opt-in consent, only Addgene will have access to such information. As noted above Addgene’s blog and email forms/lists are hosted by HubSpot and Addgene’s help widget is hosted by Zendesk. However, neither Hubspot nor Zendesk engages those lists or widgets directly.

  2. Who else has access to your Technical Information?

    For information on how Addgene processes Technical Information, please see our Cookies Policy in response 2b.

  3. Who else has access to your Financial Information?

    As noted above, for security purposes, Addgene uses a payment gateway service called USAePay, a Level-1 PCI compliant company. Visit USAePay’s page for more information about service and security.

How does Addgene protect that information?

We take the security of your personal information very seriously. Our website protects your personal information during transfer using encryption technologies such as Transport Level Security (TLS) and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL). After transfer, your personal information is stored in a secure database with limited access. Addgene uses the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud to host our website and databases. AWS’ highly secure data centers provide multiple levels of security assurances. To learn more about AWS cloud security, please click here.

After placing an order with us, your payment information, such as full credit card number or purchase order number, is no longer available on our website. Even users with your password cannot access this information.

**Some services, such as Addgene’s blog and help center are hosted through third party services. For more information about these services, see our Cookies Policy in response 2b.

How long does Addgene need that information?

Pursuant to Addgene’s contractual obligations and Document Retention policies, any Personal Information that is collected for the purposes of executing a contract or fulfilling a legal obligation to which Addgene is subject to, will be held for the length of the contract or seven (7) years. Information collected for archival purposes in the interest of the scientific community will be retained and displayed indefinitely, unless you ask that it be removed. Addgene will strive to only collect that information needed for the preceding purposes. Any other information collected for any other purpose will be retained until such time that said other purpose is fulfilled or abandoned.

What controls do Addgene’s users have in that information?

With regards to Personal Information collected during account creation, users can log into their accounts to update/correct their emails, organization, and reporting preferences. Users can also contact Addgene directly to update/correct any information that they have given to us. However, they are not permitted to affect change to any terms that are used for contractual purposes, without the express authorization of their organization. Similarly, because of the contractual obligations associated with the type of information collected, users can only request to deactivate their accounts. Deactivation will prohibit future sharing of materials by the user as well as stop the reports the user receives. Nonetheless, Addgene’s contractual obligations will remain to the respective organizations.

With regards to Personal Information collected for specific purposes, such as our newsletter, ebooks, and blogs, users can opt-out and remove themselves directly from many of these purposes by clicking “unsubscribe” from the respective newsletter, blog update, etc. Alternatively, users can, at any time, contact us directly at [email protected] or [email protected] to tell us specifically what things they would like to continue or discontinue. Addgene will also, upon request, provide the user with the information collected in a portable format.

With regards to Technical Information collected via cookies when you visit our website, you are free to remove these cookies at any time by deleting them in your browser as applicable. Please click here to learn more about cookies, including how to control, disable or delete them.

What, if any, information is collected by or shared with third parties?

Some of the content, features and functions of Addgene’s Site are provided via third parties. Below is a list of third parties and their respective involvement on Addgene’s Site.

  • Addgene Help widget and Help Center section is hosted on Zendesk
  • Embedded social media functions, e.g., “Like” and feeds are provided through Facebook and Twitter
  • Embedded social media lists contain links to LinkedIn and Google+, in addition to Facebook and Twitter
  • Embedded videos on our Site are provided through YouTube

These third parties’ sites and applications may employ their own cookies in providing their respective function. For more information and a more regularly updated list and descriptions, please review the Cookies Policy in response 2b.

Who can users contact if there are concerns regarding their personal information?

If you have any concerns about Addgene’s use of your personal information, please do not hesitate to contact our legal team: Anthony Cova, [email protected] and Krisandra Cuenta, [email protected]

If you believe that Addgene is not acting in accordance with GDPR, a complaint can be filed with the applicable supervisory authority, the European Data Protection Board, and/or the European Commission.

What else do users need to know?

  1. Are the links to other websites subject to these same regulations and provisions?

    Addgene’s website contains many links to other websites. While most organizations likely have some privacy policies in place, please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other websites. We encourage you to be aware when you leave our website to read the privacy statements of each and every website that collects personal information.

  2. What about changes or updates to the Transparency & Privacy Policy?

    In order to account for new laws and regulations or additions to Addgene’s services, we may, from time to time, choose to change our Transparency & Privacy Policy. Any changes will be posted to this page. If the changes are significant, we will provide a more prominent notice, which may include notifications on our homepages, through email, and/or other places we deem appropriate. Nevertheless, you should check this page frequently to find the current policy in effect and any changes that may have been made to it. The responses on this webpage supersede all previous notices or statements regarding our transparency & privacy practices and the terms and conditions that govern the use of Addgene’s website.