User Support - Terms of Service

1. Mission

The mission of the User Support team is to provide assistance in both data analysis and data management to researchers and professionals of the life science domain in Portugal, thus contributing to's main mission of adding value to biological data.

2. Requesting User Support User Support services can be requested by any researcher or professional working in Portugal through the Agendo platform. Note that users must register on the platform to be able to request services.

Users should start by requesting Bioinformatics Consulting, stating the nature of the service they require and briefly describing their concrete case.

3. Provision of Services

Bioinformatics Consulting requests will be assigned to a Bioinformatics expert from the User Support team according to the availability and nature of the service, on a first-come, first-served basis. The team vows to reply to all initial requests within a period of 72 hours after the request was received, save exceptional circumstances. A free consulting meeting (physical or virtual) will be scheduled between the user and the Bioinformatics expert to discuss the project, establish goals and deliverables, and agree on a man-hour budget. The user is then required to request Bioinformatics Services on the Agendo platform according to what was specified in the consulting meeting.

The User Support team reserves the right to decline service requests at its discretion, including for time constraints, questions regarding the feasibility of the project, and ethical concerns.

Once a service request is accepted by the User Support team, the team will commit to fulfil the request to the best of its ability within the allotted man-hours and deliver all that was agreed upon, within a time frame established in the meeting with the user.

Bioinformatics services will typically be carried out on a first-come, first-served basis, but the User Support team will try to accommodate urgent requests insofar as it is possible. Projects requiring a small workload may be allowed to interrupt more time-consuming projects at the discretion of the User Support team.

4. Service Alteration, Extension, and Termination

The User Support team can request alteration of the services contracted by a user and/or an extension of the allotted man-hours if, in the process of data analysis, unforeseen issues with the user's data arise and would require substantial time to handle. This request is subject to the approval of the user. However, should the user reject the request, the User Support team is obliged to deliver only what it was able to produce within the allotted man-hours.

The User Support team cannot terminate a user request prior to its completion without express agreement from the user, save under circumstances of violation of terms of service or due to ethical concerns.

A user can request alteration, extension, or termination of the services contracted with the User Support team at any time during the project, and can request follow-up services after its conclusion.

5. Types of Services

The types of services provided by the User Support team are the following:

  • Standard Data Analysis - Analysis of biological data using off-the-shelf software solutions.
  • Custom Data Analysis - Analysis of biological data requiring customization of analysis pipelines and/or software development.
  • Data Management Services - Organization, annotation, and publication of biological data according to established best practices.
  • Custom Computing Platform - Provision of a virtual machine with a customized data analysis platform, such as Galaxy or RStudio (in collaboration with the Compute team).
  • External Consultation & Training - Support to data analysis or data management carried out by the user, or planning thereof for grant applications, ranging from an advisory capacity to training.

6. Service Payment

The initial Bioinformatics Consulting meeting is provided free of charge. Other Bioinformatics Services are paid for, according to a fixed hourly fee as listed in the User Support webpage.

Users are requested to pay for the estimated man-hour workload agreed upon in the budget. The User Support team will not charge users for additional time spent on their request, save under situations of budget extension, and only with the express agreement of the user.

In the case of early termination or of reduction of the contracted services, the user will be requested to pay only for the actual man-hours spent on the project.

In addition to the fee, the user will be required to pay for the travel costs of the User Support team member(s) involved in the service whenever the service requires travelling, as well as accommodation costs when the service requires a stay away from their respective institutions.

7. Data Privacy

The User Support team reserves the right to publish the name of the institution/company of a user who contracts its services, as well as the type of service contracted and the man-hours spent on the project, for the purpose of advertising its services. The team can waive this right at its discretion, upon fundamented request from the user. No other details about the project shall be published by the team or disclosed to third parties.

The User Support team will not store personal information of users, and will not divulge such information it accesses via the Agendo platform. User personal data privacy rights, including the right to be forgotten, can be claimed via the Agendo platform.

The User Support team will not publish or transmit to third parties raw datasets submitted by users for analysis or management, nor will it publish or transmit the results of data analysis or management services, save only in the case of data management services explicitly encompassing data publishing. Users can request that the User Support team delete their raw data and results from its repositories at any time.

Users can also request that the User Support team sign a non-disclosure agreement.

8. Data Storage

The User Support team will only store raw datasets temporarily, while they are needed to perform the contracted services, and will delete them upon completion of the project. Users are thereby required to ensure their own storage of their raw datasets.

The User Support team will generally store data analysis or data management results for a period of at least one year from the completion of the project. However, it cannot guarantee the safekeeping of such results. users are fully responsible for the safekeeping of their results, once received from the User Support team and the team will not be liable for results that are lost after delivery.

The User Support team can advise the user on how to manage and store their datasets, as part of its data management consulting services.

9. Intellectual Property

All outcomes of its services are the intellectual property of the User Support team. This includes but is not limited to: results files and images, software or software pipelines developed during a project, and virtual machine configurations.

The User Support team will waive all rights to results files and cede their ownership to the user upon delivery, under the condition that any scientific publication or communication involving the results, in whole or in part, includes an explicit acknowledgement to, mentioning the particular team member(s) who worked on the project and the source of funding [XXXX].

Furthermore, in custom analysis services where there is substantial intellectual contribution from the User Support team, the team may request co-authorship in any scientific publication that follows directly from the analysis. Users will be informed of this during the initial consulting meeting, or, in the case of projects that were extended beyond their original scope, at the earliest time it becomes clear that the intellectual contributions of the team merit co-authorship.

In cases where the development of software by the User Support team merits scientific publication on its own, the team reserves the right not to divulge critical details about the software until such a publication is released.

10. Ethical Considerations

The User Support team operates under the assumption that any and all data it receives for analysis or management was collected according to established ethics guidelines of the European Commission. Should it receive any information to the contrary, or realize from the data that this was not the case, the team will immediately suspend the analysis and report the information to the appropriate entities to investigate the case.

All human data submitted for analysis or management to the team must be fully anonymized.

The User Support team will conduct data analysis and management according to the state of the art, following established best practices, and to the best of its ability. It will inform the user of any reservations it has about the state of the art. In data analysis requests, it will also inform the user of the uncertainty associated with the results of the analysis and any reservations the team has about them.