Austria-based BBMRI-ERIC recently launched its Negotiator, a web-based solution to help researchers find detailed information on the availability of samples and associated data. The tool is a great step forward in facilitating access to high-quality samples that are currently stored in biobanks all over Europe. Connected to the BBMRI-ERIC Directory, the world’s largest biobanking catalogue including more than 100 million samples, the Negotiator allows users to contact biobanks directly with a specific request.
The Directory, which has been up and running for some time now, can be used to simply browse biobanks by name or search sample collections according to different criteria such as the kind of material, diagnosis, country etc. Users will find all the information they need: what kind of samples there are, how many of them and where they are stored. Since it allows researchers to check if there are samples matching their criteria, the Directory is a very powerful tool, especially if someone is in the early stages of writing a project proposal or developing a research project.
The BBMRI-ERIC Negotiator, however, goes one step further. If, for example, researchers are working on a concrete project that has ethical approval, a clear goal and a timeline, they can now start a direct conversation with multiple biobanks to ask them about their sample collections and see if they are suitable for their project. Biobanks, in turn, can obtain additional information to see if they can share the requested material and if the material is suitable for the given purpose: data generation or direct experiments with the material. In short, the two parties can negotiate and find a way of sharing and using the samples and data in a way that is acceptable for both of them – a significant step forward in streamlining access to Europe’s large collections of samples and data.
Petr Holub – IT/Data Protection Manager: BBMRI-ERIC strives to simplify access of researchers to the biobanking resources Europe-wide. The released BBMRI-ERIC Negotiator is a tool that aims at streamlining negotiations of availability of biological material and data with more than 500 biobanks available in the Directory, virtually eliminating tedious process of each research calling and emailing many biobanks.
As an organisation funded by its 20 Member States, BBMRI-ERIC offers its services free of charge.
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