NERSCPowering Scientific Discovery for 50 Years

Appropriate Use of NERSC Resources

NERSC is an Open Scientific Research Center

NERSC supports open research intended to be published in open scientific journals. The production of proprietary results and/or data is not permitted.

NERSC does not allow the use of the following:

  • Classified or controlled military defense information
  • Export controlled or ITAR codes or data
  • Personally identifiable information
  • Protected health information

User Accountability

Users are accountable for their actions. Violations of policy may result in applicable administrative or legal sanctions.

Resource Use

Use of NERSC resources is subject to review and approval by NERSC, project Principal Investigators, the University of California, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, funding agencies, or other State and Federal Government agencies. NERSC may provide account information to reviewers for this purpose. Users may be asked to provide additional supporting documentation to gain access. Access to NERSC resources may be withheld or terminated for any reason at the sole discretion of NERSC.

Resources provided by NERSC are to be used only for activities authorized by the Department of Energy (DOE) or the NERSC Director. The use of NERSC resources for personal or private benefit is prohibited. NERSC resources are provided to users without any warranty. NERSC will not be held liable in the event of any system failure or loss of data. NERSC resources cannot be used for any military or defense end use or application or to facilitate any transaction that would otherwise violate U.S. export control regulations.

Government Rights

DOE funds support NERSC and the use of NERSC resources by users. Absent any applicable agreement with your institution, the Federal government or LBNL may have rights in your work product under the Bayh-Dole Act and other legislation and regulations. If you are funded by a Federal research grant, cooperative agreement, or contract, intellectual property terms (if present) of that agreement will apply. If you are employed by a Federal government agency or National Laboratory, intellectual property rights covering your work apply. Otherwise, patent and intellectual property waivers may be available, but your host institution must make a specific application to LBNL.

Passwords and Usernames

A user identifier known as a username and password is required of all users. Passwords must be changed at NERSC’s request. All passwords must conform to NERSC guidelines. Passwords must not be shared with any other person and must be changed as soon as possible after an unacceptable exposure, suspected compromise, or by direction of a NERSC staff member.


Users must notify NERSC immediately when they become aware that any of the accounts used to access NERSC have been compromised. Users should promptly inform NERSC of any changes in their contact information.

Software and Data

The use of NERSC resources to store, manipulate, or remotely access information, software, or data that may affect the legal or security status of NERSC or LBNL or require additional controls requires prior written approval from NERSC. Such materials include, but are not limited to, export-controlled software or technical data (e.g., under EAR (Export Administration Regulations), ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations), or DOE/National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Regulations. Personally Identifiable Information or health information (including data covered by HIPAA, the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act), and information subject to “Official Use Only” or similar government restrictions.


Users are solely responsible for protecting their computer files and agree that NERSC's cyber and data security arrangements are sufficient for their work. To facilitate open science, NERSC maintains an environment in which data access is controlled primarily by UNIX file permissions and passwords, and networks provide no explicit encryption. All software used on NERSC computers must be appropriately acquired and used according to the appropriate licensing. Possession, use or transmission of illegally obtained software is prohibited. Likewise, users shall not copy, store or transfer copyrighted software or data, except as permitted by the owner of the copyright.

Use by Foreign Nationals

Use by foreign nationals is generally permitted regardless of whether access to NERSC is from the United States or abroad. However, US government regulations may prohibit the use of NERSC resources by citizens of sanctioned or embargoed nations, affiliates of restricted organizations, or certain designated individuals.

Deviations from Authorized Privileges Not Allowed

General: Users are not allowed to deviate from the terms of this NERSC Appropriate Use Policy in any way, including, but not limited to, the following:

Unauthorized Access: Users are prohibited from attempting to send or receive unintended messages or access information by unauthorized means, such as imitating another system, impersonating another user or other person, misuse of legal user credentials (usernames, passwords, etc.), or by causing some system component to function incorrectly.

Altering Authorized Access: Users are prohibited from changing or circumventing access controls that allow themselves or others to perform actions outside their intended authorized privileges.

Reconstruction of Information or Software: Users are not allowed to reconstruct or recreate information or software for which they are not authorized.

Data Modification or Destruction: Users are prohibited from taking actions that intentionally modify or delete information or programs for which they are not authorized.

Malicious Software: Users must not intentionally introduce or use malicious software, including, but not limited to, computer viruses, Trojan horses, or worms.

Denial of Service Actions: Users may not use NERSC resources to interfere with any service availability, either at NERSC or at other sites.

Data Retention

NERSC reserves the right to remove any data at any time and/or transfer data to other individuals (such as the Principal Investigator) working on the same or similar project once a user account is deleted or a person no longer has a business association with NERSC.

Although NERSC takes steps to ensure the integrity of stored data, NERSC does not guarantee that your computer files are protected against destruction. You are strongly encouraged to read the NERSC data policy and make additional copies of your important software or data in the HPSS tape archive system or at other sites.

In some cases, NERSC may make backup copies of some files. When backup copies are made, NERSC reserves the right to hold such copies indefinitely or to delete them at its discretion. If you have data that you do not want to be backed up, you may request NERSC exclude specific directories from backup.

Account Sharing

Users are not allowed to share their accounts with others except with the express written permission of the NERSC director.

Monitoring and Privacy

Users have no explicit or implicit expectation of privacy. NERSC retains the right to and actively monitors the content of all activities on NERSC systems and networks and to access any computer file without prior knowledge or consent of users, senders, or recipients. NERSC may retain copies of any network traffic, computer files, or messages indefinitely without user’s prior knowledge or consent. NERSC may, at its discretion, share information gathered through monitoring with the Department of Energy, University of California, other incident response organizations, and local, state, federal, and international law enforcement organizations.

NERSC personnel and users are required to address, safeguard against, and report misuse, abuse, and criminal activities. Misuse of NERSC resources can lead to temporary or permanent disabling of accounts, loss of DOE allocations, and administrative or legal actions.

NERSC Appropriate Use Policy, revision 3.1, date: January 1, 2019