Data Use Ontology (DUO)

Allows data stewards to tag datasets with permitted use terms that facilitate data discovery and access

Patient and participant consent forms often use different language to describe how generated data can be used and reused. The lack of standard terms and definitions to describe permitted uses of data makes it difficult for data access committees (DACs) to confidently and quickly grant researchers access to data. Developed by the GA4GH Data Use & Researcher Identities (DURI) Work Stream, the Data Use Ontology (DUO) provides a standard set of terms that can be used to tag datasets with use permissions, aiding researchers in discovering data and facilitating DAC decisions in the data access process.

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  • Allows data to be tagged with consistently defined, computer-readable use permissions and optional modifiers
  • Enables tagged data to be more easily discoverable and accessible
  • Streamlines the process of identifying appropriate uses and users of data

Target users

Researchers, clinicians, data generators, data access committees, and data protection authorities

Image summary: DUO can help researchers discover, request, and access data, while supporting data access committees in evaluating these requests.

Community resources

Dive deeper into this product! When sharing datasets for secondary research, consent form language governing secondary data use varies widely. The lack of a standard vocabulary to define permitted secondary uses makes it challenging for data access committees and researchers to interpret how data may be used. DUO provides a list of terms in two categories: permissions and modifiers. The terms allow datasets to be tagged with their permitted uses, facilitating data discovery and the data access process. To define use permissions specific to certain diseases, DUO incorporates inward and outward mapping to the widely-used Mondo Disease Ontology. DUO can also be distributed and utilised as a machine-readable file, enabling levels of automation in the data access process and expediting researcher access requests.







We are temporarily pausing this meeting series until the new phase of DUO activities.

The GA4GH DURI Data Use subgroup focuses on developing a data use ontology to help determine if a researcher may be granted access to a particular data set.

ad hoc
ad hoc
1 Hour



23 Feb 2021


Related Driver Projects and Organisations

All of Us Research Program
Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED)
Canadian Distributed Infrastructure for Genomics (CanDIG)
European Genome-phenome Archive (EGA)
European Genome-phenome Archive (EGA), EMBL's European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI), Centre for Genomic Regulation
Human Heredity and Health in Africa (H3Africa)
Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED)
NIH Cloud Platform Interoperability (NCPI) effort
Trans-Omics for Precision Medicine (TOPMed)
GEnome Medical alliance Japan (GEM Japan)
Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED)

Don't see your name? Get in touch:

  • Dixie Baker
    Martin, Blanck and Associates
  • Michael Baudis
    University of Zurich
  • Tiffany Boughtwood
    Australian Genomics
  • Guillaume Bourque
    McGill University / Université McGill
  • Sarion Bowers
    Wellcome Sanger Institute (WSI)
  • Rebecca Boyles
    RTI International
  • Michael Brudno
    University Health Network
  • Tony Burdett
    EMBL's European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI)
  • Moran Cabili
    Foundation Medicine, Inc.
  • Shu Hui Chen
    NIH National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
  • Hayley Clissold
    Wellcome Sanger Institute (WSI)
  • Mélanie Courtot
    Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR)
  • Megan Doerr
    Sage Bionetworks
  • Marc Fiume
  • Mallory Freeberg
    EMBL's European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI)
  • Robert Freimuth
    Mayo Clinic
  • Jaime Guidry Auvil
    NIH National Cancer Institute (NCI)
  • Melissa Haendel
    University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus
  • Francis Jeanson
  • Giselle Kerry
  • Melissa Konopko
  • Jonathan Lawson
    Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard
  • Nancy Mah
    Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering
  • Alice Mann
    Wellcome Sanger Institute (WSI)
  • Mizuki Morita
    Okayama University
  • Nicola Mulder
    University of Cape Town
  • Jean Muller
    Laboratoire de génétique médicale (UMR_S 1112)
  • Heimo Muoller
    Medical Univerisity Graz
  • Satoshi Nagaie
    Tohoku University Tohoku, Medical Megabank Organization
  • Jamal Nasir
    University of Northampton
  • Tommi Nyrönen
  • Soichi Ogishima
    Tohoku University Tohoku, Medical Megabank Organization
  • Laura Paglione
    Spherical Cow Group
  • Dina Paltoo
    NIH National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
  • Helen Parkinson
    EMBL's European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI)
  • Kathy Reinold
    Independent Contributor
  • Laura Lyman Rodriguez
    Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI)
  • Dylan Spalding
  • Morris Swertz
    University Medical Center Groningen
  • Adrian Thorogood
    Terry Fox Research Institute
  • Ilia Tulchinsky
  • Susheel Varma
    Information Commissioner's Office
  • Vanessa Vogel-Farley
  • Craig Voisin
    Google LLC
  • Chisato Yamasaki
    National Institute of Biomedical Innovation, Health and Nutrition (NIBIOHN)
  • Christina Yung
    Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR), Indoc Research

News, events, and more

Catch up with all news and articles associated with Data Use Ontology (DUO).

Second issue of Cell Genomics features GA4GH
10 Nov 2021
Second issue of Cell Genomics features GA4GH
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8 Jul 2021
GA4GH standards in a global learning health system
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26 May 2021
DUO webinar (Genomics in Health Implementation Forum)
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