WikiPathways:License Terms

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If you are like us, issues about licensing, copyrights and trademarks are boring at best and quickly become frustratingly opaque. At the same time, we recognize that they are important issues, especially when it comes to promoting and protecting data sharing in scientific domains. So, we have done our homework here at WikiPathways and have decided to adopt the Creative Commons CC0 waiver for our content. We are going to do our best to explain the strategy in clear terms below. Please feel free to give us feedback on these issues and voice your opinions and questions on the WikiPathways discussion mailing list.

  • The License/Waiver - this is the legal code applicable to the content at WikiPathways. In our continuing effort to make pathway knowledge as widely accessible as possible, WikiPathways has adopted the Creative Commons CC0 waiver. More details below...
  • Terms of Use - these are our own terms for how we expect WikiPathways content to be used. This is not a legally-binding code, but rather an explicit declaration of our expectations. If you find someone violating the terms of use, let us know and we'll let the community know that they are not playing fair. We believe this approach will be less costly than legal action and, at the same time, more effective at discouraging unfair use. More details below...
  • Trademark - Anyone using or redistributing WikiPathways content under the terms of our license and terms of use can proudly display the WikiPathways trademark as evidence of being a trusted member of the community. More details below...

The License/Waiver

WikiPathways content is covered by the Creative Commons CC0 Waiver, which states that you are free to share (copy, distribute and transmit) and remix (adapt) the work. Refer to the original announcement for additional history and context. Our terms of use covers the ethical and social norms for attribution that we expect from research communities. For any reuse or distribution, you should make clear to others the CC0 terms for the work. The best way to do this is with a link to this web page. Again, this license is fairly permissive, so you shouldn't feel paralyzed by legalese if you are interested in using or redistributing WikiPathways content. Just be sure to read the terms of use and if you have any questions about fair use, don't hesitate to contact us.

Terms of Use


When editing an existing pathway or creating a new pathway, your contributions to WikiPathways content should reflect your best understanding of the biology you are representing. Whenever possible, contributions should be referenced by published, peer-reviewed literature. You can transcribe content from the following resources with appropriate attribution:

  • text books
  • research articles and reviews
  • public databases and pathway resources: KEGG and Reactome
  • trusted online resources, including wikipedia
  • your own research and hypotheses (reasonably tested)

You should not make contributions based on work presented by other researchers yet to be published or based on proprietary sources (purchased databases, company secrets, etc).


You can download WikiPathways content in any of the available data and image formats we provide, including but not limited to: gpml, mapp, text, eu.gene, html, png, svg, jpeg.


You are free to use the pathway images in presentations, documents, websites and publications. You are free to use the pathway data in analyses, qualitative or quantitative. But you must cite or give appropriate attribution. See Attribution below


You are free to redistribute WikiPathways content on your website, as part of your own resource, with your own software application. You are free to charge for services associated with WikiPathways content, but you are not allowed to charge for the content it self. This does not prevent you from redistributing the content on a CD or as a digital download along with software that you are charging for as long as it is made clear that the content is free and freely available from This does not prevent you from charging for services including additional curation, modification or analysis of the content as long as it is made clear that the content is free and freely available from You may even sell modified versions of the images of the pathway content, e.g., as art, on your website as long as it is made clear that the content is free and freely available from We think you get the idea: do not charge for the content as provided by WikiPathways and if you do associate the content with something you are are selling, make it clear that the content is free and freely available from See Attribution below

Adapting, Dissecting, Augmenting

You are free to download, use and redistribute any part of a given pathway at WikiPathways according to the terms of use. You are free to augment, extend and build upon the content outside of WikiPathways and then use or redistribute according to the terms of use. You are free to edit, subtract from and change the content outside of WikiPathways and then use or redistribute according to the terms of use. Of course, it is always better to make edits to the content within WikiPathways to grow the content and share alike, but this is not strictly required. If there is a feature or function you require in order to perform an edit to the content, do not hesitate to contact us and participate in the design and implementation of the new feature yourself. This is an open source project, after all!


When referring to the latest website or content, please cite:

  • Kutmon M, Riutta A, Nunes N, Hanspers K, Willighagen EL, Bohler A, Mélius J, Waagmeester A, Sinha SR, Miller R, Coort SL, Cirillo E, Smeets B, Evelo CT, Pico AR. WikiPathways: capturing the full diversity of pathway knowledge Nucl. Acids Res., 44, D488-D494 (2016) doi:10.1093/nar/gkv1024
  • Kelder T, van Iersel MP, Hanspers K, Kutmon M, Conklin BR, Evelo C, Pico AR. WikiPathways: building research communities on biological pathways. Nucleic Acids Res. 2012 Jan;40(Database issue):D1301-7 (link to article)

When referring to the web services, please cite:

  • Kelder T, Pico AR, Hanspers K, van Iersel MP, Evelo C, Conklin BR. (2009) Mining Biological Pathways Using WikiPathways Web Services. PLoS ONE 4(7): (link to article)

When referring to the origins of WikiPathways, please cite:

  • Pico AR, Kelder T, van Iersel MP, Hanspers K, Conklin BR, Evelo C. (2008) WikiPathways: Pathway Editing for the People. PLoS Biol 6(7): (link to article)

When using or referencing WikiPathways in general, please cite the main page:

When using, referencing or redistributing particular pathways, please cite the specific pathway, for example:

  • When citing the live version of a pathway, attribution to individual contributors is not necessary. WikiPathways will track and display contributions from individual authors and curators to each pathway on each pathway page. So as long as hyperlinks are provided to WikiPathways, the evolving list of contributors will be indirectly referenced.
  • However, if you are referencing a specific version of a pathway (even including the current version), then it is important to include a URL of the form: This approach is useful if you want to maintain a link to a snapshot of the pathway and not have future changes obscure your original points. Use the "oldid" argument in the URL to refer to particular revision ID numbers, which you can find in the History section of each pathway page.
  • Also, when referencing a specific version, it is appropriate to list the individual contributors, since future contributors are not an issue. Thus, the reference might look like this:

Salomonis N, Pico A, Hanspers K: SIDS Susceptibility Pathways (Homo sapiens).


The WikiPathways trademark (our logo) can be reproduced with any use and redistribution of WikiPathways content. You do not necessarily have to ask permission before using the logo, if you are confident that you satisfy the license and terms of use. However, we always appreciate hearing about related efforts, so please drop us a line. We will have a wiki page dedicated to listing such efforts.

If you do not satisfy the license or terms of use our first measure will be to contact you and request that you change your behavior. Failing that, we will require that you remove the WikiPathways trademark from your site or resource. We will also have a wiki page dedicated to listing these efforts as well :)

Click on images below to view full size versions of our small and large logos with and without text:



The pathway information (in part or in whole) represented in data and image formats at WikiPathways.
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