GO Redistribution and Citation Policy

GO Usage Policy

The GO Consortium gives permission for any of its products to be used without license for any purpose under three conditions:

  1. That the Gene Ontology Consortium is clearly acknowledged as the source of the product;
  2. That any GO Consortium file(s) displayed publicly include the date(s) and/or version number(s) of the relevant GO file(s) (the GO is evolving and changes will occur with time);
  3. That neither the content of the GO file(s) nor the logical relationships embedded within the GO file(s) be altered in any way.

This policy covers the GO ontology, the GO database and the annotations provided by GO Consortium members. The software developed by the GO project, including the ontology editor OBO-Edit, the AmiGO web interface, and the go-dev software utilities are also freely available to the public under the terms stated above; please check the documentation provided with the software for any additional conditions.

Please address any questions about this policy to the GO helpdesk.

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Cite GO

To reference the Gene Ontology project, please cite this paper:

The Gene Ontology Consortium. Gene ontology: tool for the unification of biology. Nat. Genet.. May 2000;25(1):25-9. [abstract | full text (PDF) | read online at Nature Genetics]

GO Data

If you wish to cite data provided by the Gene Ontology project, either from AmiGO or the files downloaded from the GO website, please state the release date and/or version number of the data. Both annotation and ontology data may change over time, and to reproduce the results of an analysis, it is important that the same initial GO data is used.

Ontology files

Metadata is stored at the top of the ontology file; please state the date of the file and the CVS revision number.

Gene Association files

Please cite the GOC validation date and the CVS revision number, both of which can be found in the first few lines of a gene association file.


Release information can be found in the instance_data table in the database. Please state both the release date and the release type.

Data from AmiGO

The database release can be found in the page footer on the right-hand side.

To cite the annotations of individual database groups please see the GO publications list.

GO Consortium Tools


To cite AmiGO, the GO Consortium's annotation and ontology toolkit, please use the following:

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. Jan 2009;25(2):288-9. [abstract | full text]


If you reference the ontology editing tool OBO-Edit, please cite this paper:

Day-Richter J, Harris MA, Haendel M, Gene Ontology OBO-Edit Working Group, Lewis S. OBO-Edit--an ontology editor for biologists. Bioinformatics. Aug 2007;23(16):2198-200. [abstract | full text]

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Both the Gene Ontology website and AmiGO are compatible with Zotero, the Firefox extension for collecting, managing, citing, and sharing research sources. Please contact the GO helpdesk if you would like to request support for an alternative reference collection system.

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The GO logo is available in a number of sizes, including 120x90 (small), 480x360 and 1000x750 (large). If you intend to use the logo on your website, please include a link to the GO home page, http://geneontology.org. Please contact the GO helpdesk if you need a larger or higher resolution version.

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Website Disclaimer

All information on this website is copyright © 1999– 2021 Gene Ontology Consortium. Permission to use the information contained in this database was given by the researchers and institutes who contributed or published the information. Users of the database are solely responsible for compliance with any copyright restrictions, including those applying to the author abstracts. Documents from this server are provided "AS-IS" without any warranty, expressed or implied.

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