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Any user accessing TCIA data must agree to:

  • Not use the requested datasets, either alone or in concert with any other information, to identify or contact individual participants from whom data and/or samples were collected and follow all other conditions specified in our Site Disclaimer. Approved Users also agree not to generate and use information (e.g., facial images or comparable representations) in a manner that could allow the identities of research participants to be readily ascertained. These provisions do not apply to research investigators operating with specific IRB approval, pursuant to 45 CFR 46, to contact individuals within datasets or to obtain and use identifying information under an IRB-approved research protocol. All investigators including any Approved User conducting “human subjects research” within the scope of 45 CFR 46 must comply with the requirements contained therein.
  • Acknowledge in all oral or written presentations, disclosures, or publications the specific dataset(s) or applicable accession number(s) and the NIH-designated data repositories through which the investigator accessed any data. Citation guidelines for doing this are outlined below.
  • If you are considering mirroring a copy of our publicly available datasets or providing direct access to any of our data via another tool or website using our REST API please review our Data Analysis Centers (DACs) page for more information. DACs must provide attribution of each individual dataset they facilitate access to, and links back to this TCIA data usage policy.  They must also require downstream users to do the same.

Attribution Requirements

Every TCIA dataset is published with a Data Citation which includes a persistent Digital Object Identifier (DOI) that must be cited or attributed any time the data are used as shown below.  When referring to a TCIA collection, be sure to use the full data citation and DOI link rather than citing the web page as a regular URL.  Researchers can use to create citations in the accepted format for most major publishers if you paste in the Digital Object Identifier (DOI) from a TCIA dataset.

If you did not use any specific dataset, but wish to refer to TCIA in general please use the following publication:

Clark, K., Vendt, B., Smith, K., Freymann, J., Kirby, J., Koppel, P., Moore, S., Phillips, S., Maffitt, D., Pringle, M., Tarbox, L., & Prior, F. (2013). The Cancer Imaging Archive (TCIA): Maintaining and Operating a Public Information Repository. In Journal of Digital Imaging (Vol. 26, Issue 6, pp. 1045–1057). Springer Science and Business Media LLC.

Dataset Licensing

The corresponding license associated with each dataset hosted on TCIA can be seen in the Data Access table where download links are provided.

Here are a few additional points to note about licensing:

  • Most data are freely available to browse, download, and use for commercial, scientific and educational purposes as outlined in the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License or the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.  A small number of collections impose Creative Commons licenses with commercial use restrictions, but this is no longer an option for new submissions.
  • Most data are immediately accessible and do not require account registration.  A small subset of collections do require registration and special permission to gain access. Refer to the “Access” column on for more details. Limited Access Collections are currently released under 1 of 2 custom license options:
  • TCIA takes every step possible to protect the privacy of participants that have agreed to share their data to promote cancer research. Therefore, effective January 6, 2022, all TCIA Collections of brain, head or head/neck cancers (where data could be used to reconstruct a human face) will change from a Creative Commons license to a TCIA Limited Access License. The data will still be available to download for research, but you will need a TCIA account and an approved License Agreement on file with the TCIA Help Desk.