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[bioontology-support] commercial use license

John Graybeal jgraybeal at
Wed May 29 10:06:17 PDT 2019

Hi Tom,

Thanks for your question, I hope you don't mind my using it as an opportunity for a general answer.

The majority of the ontologies in the BioPortal resource  can be downloaded directly, either via the UI or API. Their license terms, if any, are specified in the metadata field shown in the summary page for the ontology.  (There is even a tool to support populating your own OntoPortal instance with these ontologies, but I think that isn't your use case.)

Some licenses—mostly for UMLS ontologies but also some others—do not allow us to make the download directly available. In those few cases where the UMLS license or a private agreement allows it, we will make an individual ontology available in response to a direct request, under the circumstances you describe.

We recommend to users who want to work with UMLS content, and who have licenses to do so, build the necessary pipeline to convert the UMLS content to ontology form. Many users use the umls2rdf pipeline available in the NCBO repository (; there are other similar software repositories in GitHub but I am not familiar with them.

If you do not want to do that development itself, I expect you could contract with us to set up the software on your behalf. (Please note, I haven't thought that all the way through; contact me offline if you want to discuss it further.)

I hope this synopsis helps you consider how you would like to proceed. Please don't hesitate to contact me if you wish to ask any other questions.


On May 29, 2019, at 4:41 AM, Tom Nygren <tom.nygren at<mailto:tom.nygren at>> wrote:

Hi there,

We are a Cambridge (UK) based health insurance analytics company.

We would be interested in incorporating some of your data for use in our analytics.

If we meet the licensing requirements with the original providers of the ontology, do you offer any kind of commercial license that would allow us to use the ontologies themselves?

Thanks and regards



Tom Nygren
+44 7771 268 566

John Graybeal
Technical Program Manager
Center for Expanded Data Annotation and Retrieval /+/ NCBO BioPortal
Stanford Center for Biomedical Informatics Research

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