Rechtliches und Copyright

Edaphobase is a product of the Senckenberg Society for Nature Research (SGN), developed and maintained at the Department of Soil Zoology of the Senckenberg Museum of Natural History Görlitz (SMNG).

Copyright and source disclosures:

The retrievable data and documents in Edaphobase represent in total a copyrighted database. It is forbidden to copy or change the database and its structure in parts or in total without the explicit approval of the Senckenberg Society for Nature Research (SGN).

When using information and data sets contained in Edaphobase in scientific or other publications (texts and presentations), the respective copyright of the original data provider to Edaphobase must be stated and the database named. Following the citation rules , the author, title, year of the data sets, and the internet address of Edaphobase are to be cited. Furthermore, the date of creation or last modification and last access date must be specified in the citation.

Use of data within the context of scientific research

  • Research with the Edaphobase Portal in the framework of scientific research is fundamentally open and free of charge.
  • Any commercial use of Edaphobase-downloaded data requires the prior approval of the original data providers listed in the metadata of the respective data sets.
  • If limited access to anonymized data packets is granted after a personal request, sharing or further dissemination of such data is only possible with the express approval of the original data Provider.

Persons responsible for Edaphobase content:

Project management: Dr. D. J. Russell, Dr. K. Hohberg, Dr. R. Lehmitz, M.Sc. St. Lesch

Software: St. Lesch, S. Rick, (S. Dillan)

Data Quality Control: Dr. R. Lehmitz, H. Jechorek

GIS-components: M. Döhler, S. Rick

Analysis tools: Dr. R. Ottermanns, Dr. B. Scholz-Starke, Dipl. Gyml. J. Hausen(ⴕ) (all at RWTH Aachen)

Scientific content: Dr. D.J. Russell, Dr. K. Hohberg, Dr. R. Lehmitz, Dr. U. Burkhardt, Dr. C. Zien, Dr. P. Decker, Dr. K. Voigtländer, Dr. A. Christian, Dr. E. Engemaier(ⴕ), Dr. H.-J. Schulz, M. Döhler (SMNG); Dr. S. Jänsch, Dr. R. Schmelz (ECT); Dr. T. Stierhof, Dr. F. Raub, F. Horak (SMNK); J. Oellers (gaiac)

Earlier developments were funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF; funding codes 01Ll0901A and 01LI1301A). Partners during these funding periods were ECT Oekotoxikologie GmbH Flörsheim am Main, State Museum of Natural History Karlsruhe (SMNK), RWTH Aachen – Institute of Environmental Research (Biology 5), gaiac – Research Institute for Ecosystem Research and Assessment e.V. and the Botanical Garden/ Botanical Museum of the FU Berlin, Department of Biodiversity Informatics (BGBM).

Data Availability

To protect the right of the original data provider or their data against misuse, access to the Edaphobase Query Portal for external users is staggered by three different “data-access depths”:

1. General, rather coarse queries (for example species lists, distribution maps) can be performed without registration in the database (anonymously). For example, a taxon’s sites of occurrence may be represented on a map differentiated by pH value, biotope type, etc. The points are mapped and only displayed in a generalized, „unfocussed“ manner (= centre point of a TK 25 map section or 10x10km quadrats). A table view is not possible, deeper queries with analysis options and table views and data-export functions are only available for registered users with a login (see Data Query and Analysis ). 

2. Registered users have access to the data stored in the Portal database including the exact coordinates of the sites of occurrence and the table views. Furthermore, only registered users can locally save “projects” (complex queries) and export data as a text file (*.csv).
Registered users can see precisely mapped data and individual data records in a table. The production of contingency tables is allowed. Herein are two types of data visibility:

  • In the table views (“record-list tables” or contingency tables) all (queried) data sets are visible in the normal case. Exception: in museum collections, the attribute “collector” never appears.
  • To protect data against misuse, some data sets may be marked as “not visible to the public” on request of the respective original data provider (so-called “anonymized data sets”). Although such data are available for meta-analyses, when moved to table views (external user-specific analyses) the following attributes are not visible and are only marked as “available:
  1. Geographic coordinates of the sites (will be cartographically represented only in a generalized manner as in point 1)
  2. Place name/next town (only region [for example Northern Alps], natural landscape unit, etc. are displayed, but no detailed locality data)
  3. Treatment, Plot and similar detailed characteristics of individual studies that might permit spatially precise identification.
  4. All attributes containing comments or citations

The aim of such anonymized data sets is to render the exact localities, examination schemes (sampling design), etc. of such data unrecognizable, so that the original investigation cannot be reproduced by external users.

At the same time, external users are provided the opportunity to research and analyse the distribution area of individual taxa (for which the centre point of a TK 25 map section or 10x10km quadrats are deemed sufficient) as well as habitat preferences (niche space) using these data (for which taxon name, abundance and habitat parameters such as pH value, biotope type, etc. are necessary, but not the exact location or the location description). Furthermore, some data provided by the Query Portal, i.e. in contingency tables, are not raw data, but aggregated (e.g., sums, averages of data records; to allow cross-project data evaluations). Anonymized data are aggregated and provided in contingency tables.

Anonymized data sets are not forwarded to GBIF-D.

3. To temporarily protect data resulting from research results that have not yet been published, provided data may be conferred with an embargo period of three (3) years, during which public access to the data is prevented. Embargoed data is treated as totally anonymized data (as described above; the data remains available for internal Edaphobase meta-analysis tools); the difference being that an embargo period automatically expires after the three-year period. After expiration of the embargo period, data is publically available at the level determined by the data provider (preferably freely available).

Full access to anonymized data sets by an external user can be granted only after a specific, personal request (which data, for which purpose, etc.) and subsequent call by Edaphobase to and approval by the respective original data provider. Upon approval, access to the data is then provided only to the specific (= requesting) user only for the requested taxa and only for a limited period of time. Thus, in-depth research with detailed data views of „anonymized“ data sets can only be performed after personal consultation with the person responsible for the respective animal group (listed here). The Edaphobase team provides the possibility of sending a request to the responsible scientist and/or original data provider (contact:

Terms of use for Edaphobase

1. Subject

These terms of use govern the legal framework for the use of the Edaphobase databank. They are applicable between users and the provider.

Data research with the Edaphobase Data-Query Portal in the framework of scientific research is fundamentally open to the public (via The Senckenberg Society for Nature Research (SGN) provides the contents of the database at no charge. However, administrative fees of data-providers could occur for some data due to data-provision effort from state agencies. These data are generally marked (anonymized, see below).

The use of the database is only permitted under observance of the terms of use. By registering with Edaphobase, the user explicitly agrees to these conditions and acknowledges that they have read and understood the terms of use. The user confirms their knowledge by checking the marks in the corresponding checkbox.

2. Content

The Edaphobase database is a database with various digital documents that are protected by copyright.

Edaphobase gathers data on the distribution of soil organisms. It describes (at the least) information on the sites of occurrence and, if possible, also individual numbers per unit area and is species specific. This information is linked to background information regarding biotic and abiotic parameters (sampling time, collector, vegetation of the site, biotype type, soil pH, water content, etc.) and makes this data freely available via the online portal. The data are recorded as accurately as possible, but made available online in multiple degrees of accuracy.

3. Operator

Edaphobase is provided by the

Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung

Senckenberganlage 25, 60325 Frankfurt am Main

as a service provider according to § 12 TMG.

4. Scope of Service

  • To protect the rights of the original data providers and their data against misuse, the online access to the Edaphobase portal for external users is staggered in various stages of different “data-access depths” (for more details see below point III Rights of the data owners). General queries (for example species list, distribution maps) can take place without registration in the database (anonymous). The occurrence points are mapped only in an „unfocussed“, generalized manner (= center point of a TK 25 map section or 10x10km quadrats). A table view is not possible.
  • Advanced data research with analysis options, table view, and data export functions can only be performed by registered users after a login. Only registered users have access to stored data in the Portal database including the exact coordinates of the sites of occurrence and a table view. Registered users can see precisely mapped data and individual data records in a table. The generation of contingency tables is allowed. Furthermore, only registered users may locally save “projects” (complex queries) and export data (*.csv) as a text file.
  • Any commercial use of data downloaded from Edaphobase requires the prior approval of the original data providers listed in the metadata of the respective data sets.
  • If limited access to anonymized data sets is granted after a personal request (see Section I), sharing or further dissemination of such data is only possible with the express approval of the original data provider.

5. Registration

  • For a complete utilization of existing services in accordance with item 4 of these terms of use, the user is required to register via a log-on mask and the transmission of user data. A password is chosen by the user during the registration process. The user subsequently receives an automatic e-mail confirming the registration at the e-mail address provided during registration. In this e-mail a link is given with which the registration can be activated and thus successfully completed. The access to the database is only possible with the individual password given by the user during the initial registration. To prevent misuse, the password must be carefully kept by the user and must not be disclosed to third parties. If the password is lost the operator of the database must be informed immediately. In this case, the entrance data will be disabled and the user will be sent an email with a new password to their account
  • Edaphobase reserves the right to refuse registration without stating reasons.
  • All statements and declarations made via the access of the user will be attributed to that user. The user is liable for any misuse by a third party unless s/he furnishes proof that s/he bears no fault thereto.

6. Use authorization

The database and its contents are protected by copyright regulations. The information may only be used for personal use and may be printed and saved for purposes of science and research.

A systematic download of information or query results, especially by robots, is prohibited.

Information from the database may neither be shared electronically or in printed form nor given gratuitously to third parties. For users it is forbidden to change articles and texts from the database, to cut, edit, and otherwise to sublicense, sell, transfer, divide or distribute them.

On demand from the website operator, the user will immediately terminate the use of the information and articles within. This applies in particular if copyright claims or property rights are asserted against the operator or user.

The user will inform the website operator immediately if a third party asserts copyright claims or property rights.

The unlawful use, duplication, dissemination, or publication of contents of the database is subject to civil and, if need be, criminal prosecution.

7. Copyright and source disclosure

In case of the use of Edaphobase information and data sets in scientific or other texts, the respective copyright of the original data provider to the database must be stated and the database named. See above for more details.

8. Availability

The operator can change the contents of the database at any time and edit or delete any or all content. The user has no claim to the provision of certain content. The website operator can close the database without stating reasons at any time, especially to carry out maintenance and implement technical changes.

There is no contractual entitlement to the permanent availability of the database.

9. Liability

According to the state of technology, it is not possible to produce software so that it can be applied error-free in all its variants and combinations. For this reason, the operator accepts no liability for the flawlessness of the software or any damage arising therewith. In particular, no guarantee is given that the application will be sufficient for the requirements and purposes of the user. The operator is also not liable for indirect damages or consequential damages, especially not for lost profit.

The liability of the website operator and its agents and assistants for breach of contractual obligations and from tort is limited to intent and gross negligence. This does not apply to injury of life, body, and health; it also does not apply if essential contractual obligations are affected.

10. User Lockouts

In the event of breach of the data policy and especially the terms of use therein, Edaphobase/SGN has the right to terminate the access of the user to Edaphobase with immediate effect. A blocked member is prohibited from re-registering under a different user profile or from using Edaphobase in any other fashion. Edaphobase reserves the right to initiate legal action and to make claims (including claims for damages) asserted against the user.

11. Termination

The access to the Edaphobase database remains at the user’s disposal for an indefinite time. It may be cancelled at any time either by the operator, especially for non-compliance against the data policy and terms of use therein, or by the user.

12. Final Provisions

These terms of use are subject exclusively to the laws of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Frankfurt am Main holds jurisdiction for all disputes arising from or in connection with these terms of use. Any party may, however, also be sued in its general place of jurisdiction.

Should any clause of these terms of use be or become invalid, the effectiveness of the remaining provisions shall not be affected thereby. The invalid specifications will be replaced by a single control that comes as close as possible to the intended purpose of the invalid specifications. The same applies if the terms of use contain a regulatory gap.

Rights of data owners (original data providers)

Public and free searches are generally possible in the Edaphobase Data Query Portal. Data providers retain the rights to their data while acknowledging that data uploaded to Edaphobase are in principle open access.

Data providers recognize and acknowledge that public and free searches of data are generally possible via the Edaphobase Data-Query Portal.

Data providers assure that they (the provider) have the rights to the data and thus the legal capacity to share the data with Edaphobase (and thereby the public) as well as that no copyrights or other legal rights or potential interests of third parties have been infringed upon.

Data providers assume the sole responsibility for the correct and truthful representation as well as assure the quality (see Section IV) of the data they are providing. The data provider exempts SGN from all claims of third parties. The indemnity order includes the costs of legal defence and /or legal prosecution. Data providers ensure the timely and accurate quality correction after being informed of the Edaphobase review and quality-control results (see Quality Control for a description of the quality control tests).

Data providers do not assume any responsibility or liability for changes or misrepresentations of their data caused by the Edaphobase staff or software.

To prevent data misuse, the data provider of the original data can specify a priori the access depth to which their data will be made available (see Section I above): available for free, with limited public visibility („anonymised“), only on request by the user to the original data provider (and subsequent release of this data by the original provider with visibility of all details only to the requesting user), or temporarily blocked for release („embargoed“, e.g. until after publication in a scientific article).

Data providers retain the right to withdraw (remove) their data from Edaphobase at any time. The Edaphobase staff will remove the data within two (2) weeks after confirming the removal request.

Data privacy and security

We take the protection of your personal data very seriously. We collect and use your personal data in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Data Protection Act of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Edaphobase does NOT participate in the internet or data economy. No data or information regarding data providers or data users is sold to, shared with, or in any form passed on to third parties. An exception regards the name(s) of the data provider(s)/owner(s)/author(s) to ensure their intellectual property rights. The personal data of data providers (including e-mail addresses, telephone numbers, postal addresses, etc.) are neither uploaded to the publically available Data-Query Portal nor made accessible to the public in any form nor given to requesting individuals without prior approval by the data provider.

Personal data of data providers is collected by Edaphobase solely for internal use to ascertain exact data ownership and allow contact (if necessary) with data providers and can only be accessed and viewed by the Edaphobase management and developers (see above) at the Senckenberg Museum of Natural History Görlitz

Data sharing with other biodiversity databases (as listed above) occurs only with the express approval of the data provider and does not include personal data of the data provider, with the exception of the data owner’s name.

Edaphobase and the Senckenberg Society for Nature Research (in operating Edaphobase) have no financial interests in operating Edaphobase. No paid advertisements occur in Edaphobase or are passed on to users.


1. Collection and processing of http-logfiles

If you visit the Data-Query Portal websites or use the desktop software (i.e. Edaphobase Data-Upload tool), our web servers temporarily collect each access in a log file. The following data are collected and stored ‑ until automatic deletion after seven (7) days ‑ for all users accessing the portal:

  • IP address of the requesting Computer
  • Date and hour of the access
  • URL of the retrieved data
  • Report if the retrieval was successful
  • Data identifying the browser and operating System
  • Website from which the access takes place

This data is processed for the purpose of enabling the use of the website (connection setup), for system security, for technical administration of the network infrastructure, and to improve the website. It is not possible to map this data to a specific person. These data are regularly deleted after a statistical analysis within one week. The IP address is used to log the number and map the distribution of users of the Edaphobase Query Portal, without identifying the specific IPs. The IP address can be evaluated in the case of attacks on the network infrastructure of Edaphobase.

For registered users, the following data is also collected and stored:

  • First name
  • Surname
  • Institute (or “private”)
  • Username (given by the user him/herself)
  • E-Mail address
  • Password (stored as a “salted blowfish-Hash value”)

This data is collected and stored for the sole use of enabling a personal user connection to the Data-Query Portal and Data-Import Wizard, for compiling internal reports, to avoid misuse of additional Edaphobase functions activated for registered users, and to allow the opportunity to grant specific users access to otherwise restricted data sets (see above). It is not made available or passed on elsewhere (see point 2, below). This data remains stored in the internal Edaphobase administration modules until the user demands to have his/her account deleted, whereby the data listed here is also irretrievably deleted. Deleting a user account can be requested by contacting the Edaphobase developers at User data of inactive users can be purged after an inactive period of 3 years.

During the log-in procedure, a cookie with information regarding user identification is stored in order to allow an automatic re-log-in after leaving the website (Session Cookie). This cookie is no longer valid after logging out of the Query Portal or after 24 hours.

For registered users, the following data is also collected and stored:

  • Telephone number
  • Institute (or private) address
  • User identification
  • Date and hour of the access / data provision
  • File name
  • Project identification
  • The data sent
  • Results of the data check

This data is collected in order to allow contact with the data provider/owner if and when necessary, as well as to create a protocol of the origin and transmission of the provided data. This data is only deleted upon request of the data provider by contacting the Edaphobase developers at, at which point the provided data is also deleted.

2. Use of personal data

If you use certain features of this database, we collect personal data when necessary for this purpose. Personal data is only collected by us and only to the extent that you provide us with your information. The use of certain parts of the database requires prior registration and the processing of personal data, such as longer-term storage of email addresses, user IDs, and passwords. Such data is only used if you have provided us with it, and have given your prior consent for its use.

All use of your personal data is limited to the indicated purposes and to the attainment necessary for these purposes. Disclosure to third parties will not occur. You always have the right to revoke this consent.

Personal data is transmitted to state institutions and authorities only when required by federal legislation or in the case of attacks on our network infrastructure when disclosure is required to take legal action. Disclosure for other purposes will not occur.

3. Cookies

To extend the functionality of our website and to make its use more convenient for you, we use cookies. We also use cookies for the purpose of obtaining information about the use of our website and for statistical purposes.

Cookies are data that are sent from the web server to the web browser of the user and stored for later retrieval. Edaphobase uses only one (1) cookie at log in (“session cookie”, see point 1 above). The records do not contain personal information. A compilation of any personal data provided by the user will not occur.

Whether cookies are collected may be decided by the user yourself by setting your browser so that you are notified before a cookie is saved, which is then stored only if you explicitly accept this. However, this might limit the functional scope of Edaphobase.

4. Security

The Senckenberg Society for Nature Research (SGN) will keep your data safe. For this we use technical and organizational security measures to protect your stored personal data against accidental or intentional manipulation, loss, destruction, or access by unauthorized persons. Our security procedures are continually enhanced as new technology develops.

5. Links to websites of other provider

Our websites may contain links to websites of other providers. Please note that the privacy policy stated here only applies for the Edaphobase website of the Senckenberg Society for Nature Research (SGN). We have no influence on and cannot monitor whether other providers comply with the applicable data protection regulations. We embed data from other data websites in the Query Portal (i.e. Open Street Map, Google Maps, and similar); the data-protection policies of these sites apply (e.g., these sites may log your personal IP data).

6. Right to access information

Stored data will be deleted when the statutory or contractual retention period has expired. You have the right at any time to obtain the information of the data stored about your person, including the origin and host of your data. You also have the right to correct inaccurate data, or to block or delete your existing data.

If you wish to obtain access to your personal data, to correct or delete it or have further questions about the use of your given personal data, please contact: info(at) or Jan Henning Fahnster, SGN justice council / data protection, jan-henning.fahnster(at)

7. Inclusion, validity, and timeliness of privacy

By using our website you consent to the data use specified above. The privacy policy is current as of 10 August 2020.

Through the further development of our website or the implementation of new technologies, it may be necessary to amend this privacy policy. The Senckenberg Society for Nature Research (SGN) reserves the right to the change the privacy policy at any time with effect for the future. We recommend that you reread the current privacy policy from time to time.