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ISOGG Project Administrator Guidelines

From ISOGG Wiki

The ISOGG Project Administrator Guidelines are a guide to best practice for DNA project administrators. These principles will not serve as a solution for all quandaries. Often we need the most guidance when our right to seek information, our right to privacy, our right to intellectual property and/or our right to protect the public welfare appear to be in direct conflict with each other.

Project administrators should be familiar with and abide by the Genetic genealogy standards.

In addition to following general ethical principles, project administrators should always abide by any guidelines of their host organizations (e.g., the Family Tree DNA Group Project Administrator Terms and Policies.

Project administrators are encouraged to join the ISOGG Project Administrators' Mailing List and/or one of the other genetic genealogy mailing lists for support.

Guidelines for Project Administrators

  • Provide a statement of purpose for the project and clearly define requirements for project participation.
  • Respect the religious, cultural and spiritual beliefs of project participants and of other project administrators.
  • Remember that project administrators do not have any ownership rights over the DNA of their project members. The DNA and associated results are owned by the individual. Participants reserve the right to withdraw from a project and to have their data removed.
  • Respect the privacy of project participants and project administrators.
    • Do not give out your participants' e-mail address, contact information or private information without permission.
    • Do not share the private DNA results of your project members without permission. Private results include: mtDNA coding region results; the names and e-mail addresses of people on participants' match lists; FASTA files; raw data files.
    • Private e-mails should not be forwarded without the permission of the sender.
    • E-mails and messages posted in closed groups and on private mailing lists should not be forwarded to third parties without the permission of the sender.
  • Permission should always be sought before doing any of the following:
    • Adding participants to other projects
    • Ordering upgrades or additional tests.
    • Uploading participants' DNA results to public DNA databases or third-party websites such as mitoYDNA, mtDNACommunity, GenBank, GedMatch or DNA.Land.
  • Any data shared between project administrators should be kept confidential unless permission is obtained to share.
  • Request permission when using another's data or research.
  • Attribute any data or research that you obtain from another.
    • Respect copyright laws.
    • Do not use someone else's work as your own. If used with permission, state so.
    • Cite your sources and the web links when used.
  • Conflicts in reported genealogy between researchers are:
    • First referred to the affected researchers for resolution
    • Escalated to a generally accepted "authority" when possible
    • Reported as conflicting research when resolution cannot be obtained
  • If something is outside your normal realm of duties, discuss it first.

Guidelines for Sponsors and Participants

  • Do not give out your participant's e-mail, contact info, or private info without their permission.
  • Obtain permission from participants before ordering upgrades and additional tests.

See also


The ISOGG Project Administrator Guidelines were originally developed by the now dormant ISOGG Guidelines Committee in 2007-2008. ISOGG is open to suggestions for further additions or amendments. ISOGG members with Wiki accounts are encouraged to edit the page directly. Alternatively requests for amendments can be sent to an ISOGG Wiki administrator. Please see the Contacts page.