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You can download the formal European Tracking Network (ETN) Data Policy here.


All data in the European Tracking Network always remains property of the data owners. Data in ETN exist within user created projects, users can control access to their data through their projects. Data owners have control of who can view and download their data stored in ETN. Data Owners can decide, at any moment, to withdraw (part of) their data from the ETN Database.


In ETN there is a distinction between network (receivers and deployments) and animal (tags and animals) projects. See Projects in ETN structure and dataflow for more information. The restriction for these differ:

  • Receivers have no moratorium.
  • Tags have no moratorium.
  • Deployments have no moratorium. All metadata is made publicly available immediately after installation. All open deployments (I.e. without a receiver recovery date-time) are visualized in the map at the landing page of the ETN portal. In exceptional cases, a deployment moratorium can be requested, with the ETN Data Committee reviewing requests.
  • Animals. Metadata related to tagged animals are place under moratorium by default.
  • Detection data. Detection data are place under moratorium by default following a three-tier process:
    • Tag owner: has access to all detections of his/her tags. This includes receivers that do not belong to the tag owner, but where his/her tags have been detected.
    • Receiver owner: all detections on the device are shown with species information, this include information of tags that have been detected in the receiver but that do not belong to the receiver owner.
    • Others: have no access to detection information that is under moratorium.
    • Only detectetions from tags that are known by the database (i.e. tags that are linked to a specific projects) will be listed.

The moratorium period in ETN is set at 4 years by default, starting from the moment a tag is attached to an animal. The moratorium period can be extended on request, but earlier release of data is highly desirable. A data manager from ETN will contact Principal Investigators once the moratorium period has ended, if they agree to make the data public, data for the project will become publicly available; if an extension is needed, an extra year of moratorium will be added. This extension can be requested by 0ne-year increments, with the ETN Data Committee reviewing requests.


ETN makes a distinction between Restricted and Unrestricted Data, according tot the above moratorium rules.

  • Unrestricted Data is all data that is nor under moratorium. Public access and download of Unrestricted Data can be done through the R-Shiny Lifewatch data explorer or through the ETN R package.
    Unrestricted Data is licensed as CC-By. This license lets other distribute, remix, tweak and build upon the original Data Owner's work, even commercially, as long as they credit the Data Owner for the original data creation.
  • Restricted Data is all data under moratorium. Access to these data is restricted to Data Owners and Data Collaborators granted access by the Data Owners.
    Any registered user wishes to access Restricted Data other than their own must obtain the consent of the Data Owner. Access shall be provided on the terms set out by the data Owner.


Citation Guidelines

The following citation guidelines are provided for data users, data owners and data collaborators to assure appropriate citation of data from ETN. Proper citation of restricted projects (animals) will depend on the data owner's terms of use and chosen license.

User shall cite ETN data within the text and/or reference list of a scientific paper or report. Any use od ETN data in a publication, product or commercial application shall provide proper attribution to ETN.

ETN should be cited as:

  • European Tracking Network – data management platform. Flanders Marine Institute, [year-of-data-download], [data-access-URL], accessed [date-of-access]
  • For Example: European Tracking Network – data management platform. Flanders Marine Institute, 2017,, accessed 20-12-2017

ETN should be acknowledged as:

  • Data was sourced from the European Tracking Network data portal (, developed by the Flanders Marine Institute as part of the Flemish contribution to LifeWatch.

Data Use

  • All individuals that make use of the ETN Data for any type of publications, products or commercial applications shall inform ETN of these as soon as practical.
  • All individuals who use ETN Data agree and acknowledge that neither ETN nor the Data Collaborator is liable for any inaccuracies in the ETN Data.
  • All Unrestricted Data held by ETN will be routinely reported to international biodiversity facilities such as the Ocean Biogeographic Information System and Global Biodiversity Information Facility.
  • Restricted Data is not automatically distributed to international biodiversity facilities