Synapse has two ways to control who can access your content.
Sharing Settings determine who can access content, and is akin to individual or group (team) permissions.
Conditions for Use determine how data can be used by those users who have been granted access. All content in Synapse has
Sharing Settings but not all content has
Conditions for Use.
You can use the
Sharing Settings to grant different levels of access to individuals or
Teams. Often, users leverage these features to invite people to view or collaborate on a Synapse
Project. Here are the kinds of access currently supported:
Sharing Settings can be set for an entire project or for individual files or folders within a project.
There are two primary
Sharing settings: Public and Private. The
Public sharing setting means that any user on the web can view the content and any registered, logged-in Synapse user can view and download the content. The
Private sharing setting limits access and means that only the named users or teams in the sharing setting window can access the content with the access level granted to them. By default, new projects are
To adjust the sharing settings on a project, click the
Project Settings button. This will open a window listing the Synapse users who have access to the
Project and their roles. When you create a new
Project you are the only Synapse user listed in this window, because projects are private by default, and your access level will be
Add People feature to add collaborators individually or to add a team of collaborators.
You can also adjust the sharing settings for
Tables separately from their parent project. For example, you may wish to keep a particular folder private while you make the project more broadly available, or share drafts of individual files to collaborators privately prior to releasing publicly.
By default, all of the content residing within a project inherits the project sharing settings. However, you can override this inheritance by defining a
Local Sharing Setting for that specific content. To do so, visit the content in question (Folder, File, or Table) and click on the
Tools menu and then click on the
Sharing Setting option for that content (the menu option will be labeled with the type of content, e.g.
Folder Sharing Settings or
File Sharing Settings, etc.).
When you click on the sharing settings for that content, you’ll see the current (inherited) sharing settings, as well as the option to
Create Local Sharing Settings. Once you create the local sharing settings, you’ll be able to change them to be different than the parent project.
It is important to note that you cannot set local sharing settings for
Discussion Forums as these can only inherit the sharing settings from their parent project.
Some data requires data governance to appropriately manage its use. In Synapse this data is called
Controlled Data and it is protected by
Conditions for Use, typically applied in order to comply with the terms under which the data were collected or with other human subjects regulations. For example, human ‘omic’ data may have
Conditions for Use imposed by informed consent requirements, legal contracts, or other privacy requirements. It is also appropriate to add
Condition for Use to data collected from “vulnerable” populations and to content that could potentially harm individuals or groups if misused. If you have any questions about whether conditions for use should be applied to your data, please contact our Access and Compliance Team (ACT).
Conditions for Use vary broadly. Some examples include:
Additionally, use of certain data may require independent review and monitoring of research by an ethics committee (for example, an IRB). This ensures that use of the data meets all applicable human subjects research regulations.
Controlled Data requires appropriate
Conditions for Use, can only be downloaded and used by authorized Synapse users, and is not transferable unless explicitly specified otherwise. In other words, you cannot share
Controlled Data with collaborators; aach Synapse user wishing to access controlled data must individually agree to the conditions for use to access that data.
It is important to note that
Conditions for Use cannot be set for Synapse
Discussion Forums: they are not designed to house data and therefore do not have conditions for use as a feature.
Controlled Data include:
Open Data is data that does not require
Conditions for Use. Typically, open data is:
If you would like to set
Conditions for Use for an entire
Project, please contact the Synapse Access and Compliance Team (ACT) directly for assistance.
By default, content within a
Project inherit the
Conditions for Use of the parent
Project. As with sharing settings, you can set local conditions for use for individual
Tables but only in addition to the existing parent
Folder’s conditions for use. In other words, all content within a Folder or Project has, at a minimum, the
Conditions for Use of its parent Folder or Project, and may have additional local conditions for use as needed. You cannot create a Folder, File, or Table that has fewer conditions for use than its parent or that has conditions for use that conflict with the conditions for use of the parent.
Conditions for Use for Folders, Files, and Tables in Synapse, nagivate to the content in question and use the popup
Conditions for Use dialogue box. If you select that you would like to set conditions for use for your content, you are asked if the
Table contains, “sensitive human data that must be protected.” If you answer “yes,” the ACT will reach out to you to assist in setting the appropriate
Conditions for Use. If you answer “no,” but still feel that your
Conditions for Use, contact the ACT for further discussion (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Try posting a question to our Forum.
Let us know what was unclear or what has not been covered. Reader feedback is key to making the documentation better, so please let us know or open an issue in our Github repository (Sage-Bionetworks/synapseDocs).