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We use both session cookies and persistent cookies on our websites. A persistent cookie consists of a text file sent by a web server to a web browser, which will be stored by the browser and will remain valid until its set expiry date (unless deleted by the user before the expiry date). A session cookie, on the other hand, will expire at the end of the user session, when the web browser is closed.

Cookies are used by BioMed Central to:

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Session cookies are also sent from our server to your computer and used for management of your current session on our sites. Session cookies do not remain on your hard drive after you close down your browser. If you do not wish to accept any cookies or wish to be notified when a cookie is sent you can modify your browser preferences – the Help feature in your browser will tell you how to do this. If you decide to restrict or refuse cookies then please be aware that this may impact the functionality of BioMed Central's websites and journals. For example, refusing the permanent login cookie that is saved on your computer's hard drive will disable the auto-login feature.

Cookies do not contain any information that personally identifies you, but personal information that we store about you may be linked, by us, to the information stored in and obtained from cookies. The cookies used on the website include those which are strictly necessary cookies for access and navigation, cookies that track usage (performance cookies), remember your choices (functionality cookies), and cookies that provide you with targeted content or advertising.

We may use the information we obtain from your use of our cookies for the following purposes:

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Third party cookies

When you use our websites, you may also be sent third party cookies.

Our advertisers and service providers may send you cookies. They may use the information they obtain from your use of their cookies:

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More information about cookies

Third party providers:

PubGrade

PubGrade provides context-sensitive advertising services to STM publishers. The services aim to target advertising campaigns in ways that assert maximum relevance of ads to the audience. To accomplish that, PubGrade uses persistent and session cookies, but will never store personally-identifiable information. The information gathered helps optimizing, targeting and tracking advertising campaigns across multiple websites. It may include e.g. browser version, operating system, screen resolution, geographical information, date and content of pages requested. PubGrade may engage in cooperations with service providers who host their servers outside of the EU to enable individual service features and provide the best possible performance to its partners.

Social Plugins

Facebook Social Plugins

BioMed Central uses so-called social plugins ("plugins")of the social networking site facebook.com provided by Facebook Inc., 1601 S. California Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94304, USA ("Facebook"). The plugins can be identified by one of Facebook’s logos (white "f" on blue tile or a "thumps-up"-sign) or by the additional text "Facebook Social Plugin". The list of Facebook Social Plugins and their appearance can be accessed via: http://developers.facebook.com/plugins.

If a user visits one of the websites using such a plugin, the user’s browser directly connects to Facebook’s servers. The plugin and its content are made available directly on Facebook’s servers and included in the website by the user’s browser. For this reason, the provider of the website cannot influence which data Facebook connects via the plugin and thus informs the user according to his own knowledge.

Due to the integration of the plugin Facebook collects the information that a user is visiting the corresponding website. If the user is logged in on Facebook at the moment he or she visits the website, Facebook may be able to connect the visit on the website to the user’s Facebook account. If the user interacts with the plugin – for example if he or she presses the like button or comments on something – the user’s browser transmits this information to Facebook. Facebook stores this information. If a user is not a member of Facebook, Facebook may collect and store the user’s IP-address. Facebook states that it only collects anonymized IP-addresses in Germany.

The reason for and scope of the data acquisition and information about the way in which the data is processed and used by Facebook, as well as the user’s rights in this respect and settings options for protecting the users privacy can be found under: http://www.facebook.com/policy.php.

If the user is a member of Facebook and does not wish Facebook to collect personal data via this homepage and to link this with his data stored on Facebook, the user needs to log off from Facebook before going to this homepage.

The user may also block Facebook’s plugins using add-ons for the user’s browser, for example the "Facebook Blocker".

Twitter

BioMed Central uses the twitter-button. The button is provided by Twitter Inc., 795 Folsom St., Suite 600, San Francisco, CA 94107, USA. ("Twitter") The buttons are marked using the text "Twitter" or "Follow" and a stylized blue bird. The button enables the user to share an article or a website of this homepage on Twitter or to follow the provider on Twitter.

If a user visits one of the websites using such a button, the user’s browser directly connects to Twitter’s servers. The Twitter-button and its content are loaded directly from Twitter’s servers and included in the website by the user’s browser. For this reason, the provider of the website cannot influence which data Twitter connects via the button and thus informs the user according to his own knowledge. According to the provider’s knowledge, Twitter collects the user IP-address and the website’s URL when the button is loaded from Twitter’s servers. However, this data is only be used for loading and displaying the Twitter-button.

Further information can be found in Twitter’s privacy statement under: https://twitter.com/privacy.

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