MBARI Data use policy

MBARI provides these data "as is", with no warranty, express or implied, of the data quality or consistency. It is provided without support and without obligation on the part of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute to assist in its use, correction, modification, or enhancement. For use in publication, authors should obtain written permission from MBARI's Director of Information and Technology Dissemination, Judith Connor. (See contact information below.) Authors should acknowledge MBARI as the data source in those publications and provide reprints to the MBARI library. Also, it is generally expected that any science publication relying heavily on information or interpretation from one or more MBARI scientists will acknowledge those scientists, typically by including them as collaborators and co-authors when their contribution has been significant.


MBARI typically embargoes annotation and related data for two years for internal quality control and analysis. In addition, extensions to this period are sometimes granted for specific data sets, which are still undergoing review and analysis for publication. In general most of the annotations and related data older than two years are made available here through the VARS Query system, but it should not be assumed that these data are representative of the entire MBARI video annotation database.

Quality control

Due to the nature of ROV video data collection and analysis, identifications of marine organisms may change based on new research findings or technological advances such as higher-resolution camera systems, and biases are introduced as described above. Further, the data provided in MBARI's video annotation database are continuously undergoing updates to reflect quality control and other improvements.

For these reasons, no specific data sets obtained from the VARS Query system should be considered for scientific publication without first obtaining appropriate written verification from MBARI. If you wish to use this data for scientific publication, please contact us to arrange any necessary data review and distribution .

Data characteristics disclaimer

Though they have proven to have great inherent and inferred scientific value, the data were not always collected using systematic search procedures. Biases have been introduced by observation techniques, camera settings, mission planning, changing science terminology, and observation location and sequencing, among other factors. In no way should these data be viewed or analyzed as random, structured, or systematic observations.

Judith Connor: conn at mbari dot org