Local EGA

The Local EGA project consists of several components:

  • An inbox

  • A long-term database and file storage

  • An ingestion pipeline

  • A distribution system

It aims at solving the issue where sensitive data cannot move across borders (cf to GDPR), while public metadata can. Files will be stored encrypted in the Local EGAs located in different countries, while public metadata stays at Central EGA.

In short, submitters upload encrypted files into a Local EGA inbox, located in the relevant country. The ingestion pipeline moves the encrypted files from the inbox into the long-term storage, and saves information in the database. In the process, each ingested file obtain an Accession ID, which identifies it uniquely across the EGA. The distribution system allows requesters to access securely the encrypted files in the long-term storage, using the accession id, if permissions are granted by a Data Access Commity (DAC).

General Architecture and Connected Components

Files are encrypted whether in transit or at rest. The transport depends on the inbox and files are stored using the Crypt4GH file format. The metadata of the encrypted files and the permissions to access them are located at Central EGA.


More concretely, the workflow consists of three ordered parts, involving 2 different user roles: submitters and requesters.

The submitter first logs onto the Local EGA’s inbox and uploads its encrypted files. Login credentials are provided by Central EGA. For every uploaded file, Central EGA receives a notification that the file has landed. The file is checksumed and presented in the Central EGA’s interface in order for the user to double-check the integrity of the upload.

☞ More details about the Inbox login system.

The submitter then prepares a submission, programmatically or via Central EGA’s interface. Upon completion, Central EGA sends an ingestion trigger to the connected Local EGA, and the files are moved securely into the long-term storage. They also obtain their Accession ID, identifying them uniquely across Central EGA and all Local EGAs (or rather, their content).

☞ More details about the Ingestion.

Separately, after a file is successfully ingested (including a backup confirmation), has an accession id, and the metadata is marked as released, the file becomes available for download. If a file access has been granted by a DAC, the file can be served in Crypt4GH format to the requester.

☞ More details about the Data Distribution.

Permissions are granted by the DACs (and not Central EGA). Central EGA and Local EGAs are not the files’ owner. Ownership is retained by the DACs, as a result of consent agreements signed by the submitters whom provided the original files.

☞ More details about the EGA access model.