How to request or retain an O2 account

To obtain an O2 account:

  1. You must have a sponsoring PI (or manager).

  2. You must have an HMS Account (also called HMS ID, and previously known as an eCommons ID, which is the login credential used on O2).

Notes about chargebacks:

“On-Quad” Labs:

If your lab is based at Harvard University, and your sponsoring PI has a primary or secondary faculty appointment in an HMS Blavatnik Institute Basic or Social Science (“Quad”) department, and you already have an HMS Account, you can request an O2 account directly by filling out the O2 account request form.

What if you don’t have an HMS Account?

  1. You will first need to be registered as a Harvard Sponsored Role, which is essentially Harvard University’s guest user registration, as described in

  2. Once you have an active Harvard ID, your PI will need to request an HMS guest account as described in

Please note this important distinction and ask HMS-RC if you’re not sure of your PI’s status:

  • An on-Quad PI who is based at HMS can directly sponsor someone for an HSR and/or HMS guest account, as described above.

  • An on-Quad PI who is based at an affiliate institution (e.g. hospital) usually can not sponsor HSRs or Guests. For those labs, any HSR or Guest registrations must be submitted through the HMS Research Computing Core, as described below in the “off-Quad” section. This is only needed for registering the HMS Account and will not incur charges.

“Off-Quad” (HMS affiliate hospital/institution) Labs and other Harvard University Schools:

Researchers from labs based at HMS affiliated institutions (e.g. MGH, BWH, BCH, BIDMC, DFCI, etc), or at other Harvard University Schools (e.g. FAS, HSPH, SEAS, Wyss) will need to first register with the HMS Research Computing Core as indicated in the steps below. This is required whether or not the lab gets charged for using O2.

Steps to get setup with an O2 account:

  • First, you need to register via the RC Core PPMS instance at If you need an HMS ID, the RC Core will assist with this process. Follow these detailed instructions on how to create your account with the PPMS system

  • If you are not a student or faculty at Harvard, the RC Core will need to complete the Harvard Sponsored Role process as described in our HSR policy. We might need to ask you for additional information to complete this process.

  • After your PPMS account is created you will need to attest to all RC Core policies.

  • Before we can set up your O2 account, your lab must have a purchase order set up for the group.

  • Also, you and your PI will be required to sign the HMS RC Core user agreement.

  • The PI from your lab must also be registered in PPMS and attest to all RC Core policies. Note that adding a new lab/PI and setting up financially to pay with a PO can take time. If your lab is located at a Harvard University school, we will require a Harvard 33-digit billing code.

After we have completed the setup process and you have completed all steps, the RC Core will coordinate the creation of your O2 account.


Note that if you are not a PI, you will need a PI (or Core administrator or equivalent) to sponsor and approve your O2 account. 

To renew an O2 account which has expired with an “off-Quad” lab:

Please email and make sure to cc: your lab’s PI. This will open a request with the HMS RC Core to renew your HMS ID and O2 account.

How to retain your O2 account when leaving HMS

If you are an HMS user and you are leaving HMS but wish to keep you access to O2 and HMS Storage please check this link.