Terms and conditions

This page outlines the terms and conditions of use for the COSMIC website and related resources.

Information about us

COSMIC, the Catalogue of Somatic Mutations in Cancer, is a project of the Wellcome Sanger Institute (WSI). WSI is operated by Genome Research Limited (GRL), a charity registered in England with the number 1021457 and a company registered in England with number 2742969, whose registered office is 215 Euston Road, London, NW1 2BE.

The Wellcome Sanger Institute’s terms and conditions, can be found on the main Sanger website.


The COSMIC database is an information resource for research, designed to help understand the relationships between genetics and disease. COSMIC is not a clinical tool and it is not validated for clinical use.

GRL provides COSMIC "as is" without any representations or warranties of any kind and that GRL excludes to the fullest extent permitted by law any liability that may arise from my use of COSMIC.

Acceptance of these Terms and Conditions in full is a requirement of using the COSMIC website and services.

We reserve the right to make changes to this website at any time without notice.

You agree to use this site only for lawful purposes.

Acceptable use policy

Our acceptable use policy describes the terms under which visitors may use this website and access the data contained within it. COSMIC usage is also governed by the terms and conditions of the Wellcome Sanger Institute.

In the event of a breach of this acceptable use policy, we reserve the right to take any or all of the following actions in order to prevent further breaches:

Disruptive behaviour

Users of the website are not permitted to interact with the site in such a way that their actions may cause excessive or prolonged load on our servers or database. Such actions can cause the site to slow down or become unavailable for other users, and we reserve the right to take such action as we deem appropriate in order to mitigate such disruption to others.

Unauthorised use

In general terms, users are expected to use the website via a normal web browser. We strongly discourage the use of automated scripts or other download tools to "scrape" data from the website. We provide a comprehensive set of downloadable data files, available to registered users, and we encourage you to use these files rather than the website when retrieving large volumes of COSMIC data.

Programmatically downloading bulk data from the COSMIC website as a means of avoiding registration or license fees is considered to be unauthorised use.

Privacy policy

You can read about our policies on web analytics, cookies and personally identifiable data on our privacy policy page.

Licensing COSMIC

You can read more about licensing COSMIC data on our licensing page.


Users intending to download data for commercial purposes should contact our sales partner Qiagen.

In order to download data for non-commercial purposes, users must register for a COSMIC account. We have two types of account:

Non-commercial accounts

Users from any organisation may register for a non-commercial account if they intend to use COSMIC data solely for non-commercial purposes. Users must register using an email address provided by their organisation, because we use the email address to verify the user's non-commercial status.

Note that downloading COSMIC data for commercial purposes while registered as a non-commercial user could leave your company liable for commercial licence fees. If you have any concerns or questions about your use of COSMIC, please contact us and we will be happy to discuss your particular situation.

Non-affiliated/notification only

Users who are not directly employed by any recognised organisation may register for a "non-affiliated", or notification-only account. A non-affiliated account will not allow users to download COSMIC data, since we cannot verify their commercial status.

The primary reason for registering with a notification-only account is that it allows users to receive email notifications of new COSMIC releases and other updates.

Users may register for a notification-only account using a personal email address, such as gmail or hotmail.

Registration terms and conditions

You can read the specific terms and conditions for each account type in the registration page.

Email preferences

If you register for a COSMIC account, from time to time we will need to contact you about your account. These emails may be regarding re-validating your email address, replying to account queries, or providing updates on COSMIC resources, such as notifications of downtime or systems maintenance.

Agreeing to receive these account-related emails is a condition of the licence agreement that you make with us for the purpose of accessing COSMIC data.

If you do not agree to receive these account-related emails, you may delete your COSMIC account by visiting the account settings page while logged in on the website. If you delete your account you will not receive any emails from COSMIC but you will also be unable to download COSMIC data.

Optional communications by email

You may also choose to receive other types of email communications from us. These additional emails are entirely optional and in order for you to receive them we need your explicit permission. You can agree to receive these optional emails when you register for a COSMIC account, when you re-validate your account each year, or by visiting the account settings page while logged in on the website.

The categories of optional emails are:

Release emails and updates to our products
On a regular basis, in line with our release cycle, we send an email summarising the data available within the new release. We may, from time to time, send other emails related to updates to COSMIC resources or data.
User research
We are constantly developing and improving the COSMIC website and the databases that power it. We believe that our users should be at the forefront of our on-going development and we would like to engage directly with as many of our users as possible during the development process. If you agree to receive emails related to our user experience-driven design programme you may be contacted by email and invited to participate in surveys, short interviews, or other user research. Participation in any user research is entirely voluntary.
General announcement emails
We may contact you occasionally with COSMIC-related news, such as announcements of upcoming training events or information about new resources or COSMIC tools.

If you would like to stop receiving any of these categories of email, please update your preferences within the Account Settings page. You can find a link to the account page at the right of the menu at the top of every page while you are logged in.

Account privacy

Under no circumstances will your email address be shared with third parties without your express permission. We make best efforts to store all account information according to industry best practice. The COSMIC website and associated databases are hosted by the Wellcome Sanger Institute in the UK.

Account validation

From May 2018 we are introducing a validation process for registered emails, which will allow us to check that registered emails are active and that COSMIC accounts are being used in accordance with our licence agreement.

Activating your account

When you register for a COSMIC account, we will send you an email containing a link with an activation code. You can activate your new account by clicking on the link in the email. If you are an academic user, or a commercial user whose company has a valid COSMIC licence, you will now be able to login on the website and download COSMIC data.

Re-validating your account

One year after you first registered with COSMIC, or one year after you last validated your account, you will need to re-validate your COSMIC account. Re-validation allows us to check that your email account is still active and that you still have access to it. This is necessary to ensure that, for example, users cannot download COSMIC data using an account registered to an email address for a university or company with which they are no longer associated.

When you login after the one year point, your account will be locked and you will be sent an email containing a validation link and an activation code. Clicking the link will confirm that you have access to the registered email address and your account will be unlocked. You will not need to re-validate for another year.

Accessing your data

Users have the right to obtain copies of all of the data COSMIC holds about them. If you require a copy of the data stored, please contact us.

Amending your data

You can change your email preferences and the Google ID that is associated with your account at any time using the Account Settings page. If you would like to change other information on your account, please contact us.

Note that we are unable to change the primary email address for your account. If you need to change your email address, please register for a new COSMIC account using the new address. You may wish to delete your old account at the same time.

Account deletion

Deleting your own COSMIC account

If you no longer use the COSMIC website or disagree with any of its terms and conditions or policies, you may delete your account by logging on the website and using the account deletion form in the Account Settings page.

When you delete your COSMIC account we will remove your personal details from our user database and you will no longer be able to login on the COSMIC website. You will no longer have access to downloadable data, either via the website or the legacy SFTP area. You will no longer receive any emails from COSMIC.

If you have any issues deleting your account via the website, contact us and we will delete your account manually.

Automatic account deletion

We will sometimes mark COSMIC accounts as blocked, in cases where we believe the account is being used in contravention of our terms and conditions. Blocked accounts will be deleted six months after they have been blocked, unless we have been contacted regarding their status by the account owner.

COSMIC accounts must be re-validated every twelve months. If an account has not been re-validated six months after its re-validation date, it will be marked for automatic deletion.

Account recovery

When an account is deleted, we delete all records related to that account. We cannot reinstate a deleted account. If you have deleted your account in error, you may register for a new COSMIC account using the same email address.

Analytical data

We use several analytical tools on the COSMIC website. Each tool has different policies and retention periods for the anonymised user data that are collected.

Google Analytics
We store analytical data captured by Google Analytics for a period of 50 months. You can read about GA's data security and retention policies on their help pages.
The Sanger Institute uses the Matomo (formerly Piwik) analytics package across all of its sites. You can read about the Sanger data retention policy on the Sanger website
We store analytical data captured by Hotjar for a period of 365 days. You can read about Hotjar's handling of user data on the documentation pages.