Skip to main content

Citing TCGA in Publications and Presentations

TCGA requests that authors who use data from TCGA acknowledge the TCGA Research Network in the acknowledgements section of their work. An example of a proper acknowledgement is:

"The results <published or shown> here are in whole or part based upon data generated by the TCGA Research Network: https://www.cancer.gov/tcga."

Citation of original TCGA marker papers producing the data utilized is optional.

Authors are encouraged to recognize the contribution of the appropriate specimen donors and research groups.

Inclusion of the TCGA Research Network in the authorship list is not required. Collaborators seeking to add the Network to the list of authors should share the manuscript or presentation with the TCGA Steering Committee for approval prior to submission. Manuscripts or presentations may be submitted to tcga@mail.nih.gov for review.

The TCGA Program requests that journal editors, reviewers, and conference organizers attempt to ascertain if appropriate TCGA acknowledgements are made.

Former Publication Guidelines

Guidelines presented below are for historical record only. Moratoria on all cancer types are now lifted and all TCGA data are available without restrictions on their use in publications or presentations.

To act in accord with the Fort Lauderdale principles and support the continued prompt public release of large-scale genomic data prior to publication, researchers who plan to prepare reports (publications or presentations) containing descriptions of TCGA data that would be of comparable scope to an initial TCGA comprehensive, global analysis publication, and journal editors or conference organizers who receive such reports, are encouraged to coordinate their independent reports with TCGA's publication schedule. Specifically, comparable scope is defined as global genome-wide analysis of TCGA data from more than one platform OR analysis of data from a single platform across more than one tumor type under moratorium.  Publications or presentations involving such analyses are restricted prior to the TCGA publication moratorium release date as described further below.

TCGA defines a global analysis publication as the first paper authored by The Cancer Genome Atlas Research Network which includes the data from at least 100 cases of a specific tumor type and includes analysis of much of the existing TCGA data on that tumor type at the time. For rare tumor projects a global analysis publication includes data from a majority of the qualified cases and much of the existing data on that tumor type. Specifically, these manuscripts report on the comprehensive, integrated analysis of multiple TCGA datasets available including, but not limited to, copy number variation, gene and miRNA expression, promoter methylation and DNA sequence/mutation analysis.  A global analysis publication is also defined as an analysis of data from a single platform across more than one tumor type under moratorium.  Prior to a global analysis publication on a specific tumor type, available datasets should be considered pre-publication data subject to the standard principles of scientific etiquette regarding publication of findings using data obtained from other sources.

The TCGA program has established the following policy to clarify freedom of TCGA and non-TCGA users to publish or present on findings using TCGA data.  There are no limitations on reports containing analyses using any TCGA data set if the data set meets one of the following three freedom-to-publish criteria:

  1. A global analysis publication has been published on that tumor type; or
  2. 18 months after 100 cases of a given tumor type have shipped from the Biospecimen Core Resource to characterization and sequencing centers or 18 months after final sample shipment for rare tumor projects; or
  3. The author receives specific approval from the TCGA Publication Committee in consultation with appropriate disease-specific analysis group(s).
  • Posted:

If you would like to reproduce some or all of this content, see Reuse of NCI Information for guidance about copyright and permissions. In the case of permitted digital reproduction, please credit the National Cancer Institute as the source and link to the original NCI product using the original product's title; e.g., “Citing TCGA in Publications and Presentations was originally published by the National Cancer Institute.”