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RCSB PDB Policies & References

Usage Policies

Data files contained in the PDB archive ( are free of all copyright restrictions and made fully and freely available for both non-commercial and commercial use. Users of the data should attribute the original authors of that structural data. By using the materials available in the PDB archive, the user agrees to abide by the conditions described in the PDB Advisory Notice.

Molecular images from RCSB PDB Structure Summary pages are available under the same conditions. The authors of the structural data producing the image and the RCSB PDB should be cited.

Molecule of the Month illustrations are available under a CC-BY-4.0 license. Attribution should be given to David S. Goodsell and the RCSB PDB. Molecule of the Month articles are copyrighted by the RCSB PDB and the authors of the article. Text can only be reprinted with permission, with attribution, and without the right to manipulate or change its content. To request permission, please contact

All other articles and text on the RCSB PDB site are copyrighted. Permission to use these materials may be requested by contacting

For references and examples, see below.

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References and Examples

Citing Us

References and Examples

  1. Cite a PDB structure entry using its PDB ID and corresponding primary reference. For example:

    PDB ID: 102L
    D.W. Heinz, W.A. Baase, F.W. Dahlquist, B.W. Matthews (1993) How Amino-Acid Insertions are Allowed in an Alpha-Helix of T4 Lysozyme Nature 361:561.

    An entry without a published reference can be cited with the PDB ID, author names, and title:

    PDB ID: 1CI0
    W. Shi, D.A. Ostrov, S.E. Gerchman, V. Graziano, H. Kycia, B. Studier, S.C. Almo, S.K. Burley, New York Structural GenomiX Research Consortium (NYSGXRC). The Structure of PNP Oxidase from S. cerevisiae

    An entry may also be referenced using its Digital Object Identifier (DOI). The DOIs for PDB entries all have the same format: 10.2210/pdbXXXX/pdb, where XXXX is replaced with the PDB ID (e.g., 10.2210/pdb4hhb/pdb)

    The DOI can be used as part of a URL (, or can be entered in a DOI resolver ( to automatically link to the entry on the PDB FTP archive (

  2. RCSB PDB should be referenced with the URL and the following citation:

    H.M. Berman, J. Westbrook, Z. Feng, G. Gilliland, T.N. Bhat, H. Weissig, I.N. Shindyalov, P.E. Bourne.
    (2000) The Protein Data Bank Nucleic Acids Research, 28: 235-242.

    New website features and resources are also described in the articles listed on our Publications page and in regular contributions to the Nucleic Acids Research Database Issue, including the most recent article:

    Peter W. Rose, Andreas Prlić, Ali Altunkaya, Chunxiao Bi, Anthony R. Bradley, Cole H. Christie, Luigi Di Costanzo, Jose M. Duarte, Shuchismita Dutta, Zukang Feng, Rachel Kramer Green, David S. Goodsell, Brian Hudson, Tara Kalro, Robert Lowe, Ezra Peisach, Christopher Randle, Alexander S. Rose, Chenghua Shao, Yi-Ping Tao, Yana Valasatava, Maria Voigt, John D. Westbrook, Jesse Woo, Huangwang Yang, Jasmine Y. Young, Christine Zardecki, Helen M. Berman, Stephen K. Burley.
    (2017) The RCSB protein data bank: integrative view of protein, gene and 3D structural information Nucleic Acids Research, 45: D271-D281.

  3. The RCSB PDB is a member of the worldwide PDB (wwPDB). The wwPDB should be cited with the URL and the following citation:
    H.M. Berman, K. Henrick, H. Nakamura (2003) Announcing the worldwide Protein Data Bank Nature Structural Biology 10 (12): 980.

  4. Molecular images from Structure Summary pages and screenshots should cite the RCSB PDB and PDB entry:
    Image from the RCSB PDB ( of PDB ID 1BNA (H.R. Drew, R.M. Wing, T. Takano, C. Broka, S. Tanaka, K. Itakura, R.E.Dickerson) (1981) Structure of a B-DNA dodecamer: conformation and dynamics Proc.Natl.Acad.Sci.USA 78: 2179-2183).

  5. Images created using PDB data and other software should cite the PDB ID and the molecular graphics program used.
    Image of 1AOI (K. Luger, A.W. Mader, R.K. Richmond, D.F. Sargent, T.J. Richmond (1997) structure of the core particle at 2.8 A resolution Nature 389: 251-260) created with Protein Workshop (J.L. Moreland, A. Gramada, O.V. Buzko, Q. Zhang, P.E. Bourne (2005) The Molecular Biology Toolkit (MBT): a modular platform for developing molecular visualization applications. BMC Bioinformatics 6:21).

  6. Images created using NGL software should cite the PDB ID, the NGL Viewer (with the reference Rose AS, Hildebrand PW (2015) NGL Viewer: a web application for molecular visualization. Nucleic Acids Res. 43:W576-579) and the RCSB PDB (

  7. The RCSB PDB Molecule of the Month may be referenced using:

    D. Goodsell, S. Dutta, C. Zardecki, M. Voigt, H. Berman, S. Burley. (2015) The RCSB PDB "Molecule of the Month": Inspiring a Molecular View of Biology. PLoS Biol 13: e1002140.

    Individual Molecule of the Month articles and images may be referenced using its Digital Object Identifier (DOI) and the author/s of the article. The DOIs for these features all have the same format: 10.2210/rcsb_pdb/mom_YYYY_MM, where YYYY should be replaced with the year, and MM with the number of the month (one or two digits). The DOI can be used as part of a URL (e.g., or entered in a DOI resolver (

  8. Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) PDB ceased operation on June 30, 1999. The original journal reference for the BNL PDB is:
    F.C. Bernstein, T.F. Koetzle, G.J.B. Williams, E.F. Meyer Jr., M.D. Brice, J.R. Rodgers, O. Kennard, T. Shimanouchi, M. Tasumi (1977) The Protein Data Bank: a computer-based archival file for macromolecular structures. J. Mol. Biol. 112: 535-542.

  9. The PDB archive was first announced in 1971: Protein Data Bank Nature New Biology 233:223.