OpenMTA: open materials transfer agreement

The Open Material Transfer Agreement (OpenMTA) is a simple, standardized legal tool that enables individuals and organizations to share their materials on an open basis.

Developed as a collaborative effort between the BioBricks Foundation and the OpenPlant Initiative, with input from researchers, technology transfer professionals, social scientists, lawyers, and other stakeholders from across the globe, the OpenMTA reflects the values of open communities and the practical realities of technology transfer. Features include:


ACCESS.  Materials available under the OpenMTA are free of any royalty or fees, other than appropriate and nominal fees for preparation and distribution.

ATTRIBUTION. Providers may request attribution and reporting for materials distributed under the OpenMTA.

REUSE. Materials available under the OpenMTA may be modified or used to create new substances.

REDISTRIBUTION. The OpenMTA does not restrict any party from selling or giving away the materials, either as received or as part of a collection or derivative work.

NONDISCRIMINATION. The OpenMTA supports the transfer of material between researchers at all types of institutions, including those at academic, industry, government, and community laboratories.

OpenPlant and the BioBricks Foundation are collaborating to implement the OpenMTA, and the agreement is in the process of being rolled out in a number of international institutions. More details of the OpenMTA can be found on the BioBricks Foundation site, along with a list of frequently asked questions. 

OpenPlant Open IP Working Group

In 2015-17, the OpenPlant IP Working Group laid out the design consideration for the OpenMTA, drafting a report which aided in later development and refinement through further consultation.