Foldit Terms of Service and Consent
Version 4, 7/2/2018

If you are under 18, your parent or guardian must agree to these terms; please have your parent or guardian read, explain, and agree to the terms.

There is a simplified explanation at the bottom of this document.

The Foldit project aims to predict, design, and understand biochemical structures, and study how humans and computers can best work together to further these aims. The project achieves this through a community of game-developed experts. The project is continuously changed to promote the creation of experts and to become the most effective exploration tool. To achieve this, the project continuously gathers and analyzes data. By creating an account, playing the game, or using the website or associated communication channels, you acknowledge that:

a) We are recording gameplay data for analysis and research. The game gathers and reports data generated by your activities in the game. If you create an account, this data will be associated with your account. If you play without an account or offline, data will be gathered anonymously by assigning you an anonymous identifier. If you log in with an account from a third party project, data will be associated with an identifier provided by that project and data may be reported to both Foldit and that project. Data may be associated with your IP address. Gameplay data such as biochemical structures, scores, algorithms, tool and algorithm usage, progress, and time played may be logged and analyzed.

b) We may record interactions with the website, chat, and other communication channels, many of which are public. The website also stores your postings and interactions. General public chat channels may be logged to monitor for abuse, but not for research purposes. In addition, the public global chat channel (#global) will be logged during events like developer or scientist chats in order to post transcripts of the chat. Private group channels for player created groups and private messages will not be logged. Specific channels created by the project, group or otherwise, may be logged and analyzed for research, and if so, they will be indicated as such. However, in extreme cases to prevent abuse of the system, any chat or other communication channel may be logged. Please be aware that since areas of the chat and website are publicly available, we are unable to prevent any third party from independently logging these channels.

c) We may post surveys on the website. To better understand who plays the game, we may occasionally post research surveys on the website. These surveys will ask basic questions about topics such as motivation or demographic information, such as age, gender, and education level. Participation in these surveys is entirely voluntary. Third parties may also post surveys, and we are unable to control the content of these surveys.

d) Data used for research may be made public or shared with collaborators. Data and analysis may be shown in the game, on the website, and used in external publications, presentations, promotional materials, and other public venues. Data logged by the game may be shared with domain experts for analysis. We will contact you for permission before externally associating data analysis with your account name. However, your account name may appear without explicit permission in external demonstrations of the game or website, including presentations, videos, screenshots, and publications.

e) The project may terminate, suspend, or block your account at any time.

f) Project members may contact you with your account email. When creating an account, you provide an email address. This email address may occasionally be used to contact you in relation to the game. You can opt out of this email contact at any time.

g) Scientific discoveries will be made publicly available and the host institution(s) will handle ownership of discoveries. All significant scientific discoveries (e.g. structures, algorithms, etc) made in the game will be made publicly available. In the event that some discoveries may warrant patent protection, the host institution(s) may (but are not obligated to) handle the patent application process. Individual players who contributed to the discovery will be considered co-inventors for any discovery produced through play. Data logs of player activity will assist in determination of attribution. Individual puzzles may specify further clarifications to this policy.

h) You can opt out of further data gathering at any time. To do so, discontinue use of the game software, the website, chat, and other communication channels associated with the project.

i) This policy may change in the future. This policy may change at any time. You will be asked to agree to the new terms.

Here is a simplified explanation:

a) The game records how you play. We look at this for science and to make the game better.

b) The website and chat can be recorded. Other people can see what you post.

c) We may ask you questions about yourself. You do not have to answer them.

d) We are sharing what we learn with others from all over the world. That is how science is done. We have to share so others can learn, too.

e) If you are not playing nicely, we can remove your account.

f) We may send you email about the project. You can ask us to not send you email.

g) Scientific things you find in the game will be made public. The host institution(s) will help decide who owns them.

h) If you want us to stop gathering data from you, stop using the game and website.

i) We may change these rules. You will have a chance of agreeing to the new rules.

Foldit is part of a research project entitled Scientific Discovery Games. Researchers and supporters of this study can be found on the game’s about page.

Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns. We can be reached at or at (206) 616-2660. If you have questions about your rights as a research participant, you may contact a member of the University of Washington’s Human Subjects Division at (206) 543-0098. Please note that emails are considered insecure and privacy is not guaranteed.

By checking accept, you agree that you are 7 years of age or older, have read the above terms, and give your consent. If you are under 18, a parent or guardian has read the above terms, explained them to you, and agrees to give their consent.

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Developed by: UW Center for Game Science, UW Institute for Protein Design, Northeastern University, Vanderbilt University Meiler Lab, UC Davis
Supported by: DARPA, NSF, NIH, HHMI, Amazon, Microsoft, Adobe, Boehringer Ingelheim, RosettaCommons