Open Access Open Badges Review

Quantifying the use of bioresources for promoting their sharing in scientific research

Laurence Mabile12, Raymond Dalgleish3, Gudmundur A Thorisson34, Mylène Deschênes5, Robert Hewitt6, Jane Carpenter7, Elena Bravo8, Mirella Filocamo9, Pierre Antoine Gourraud10, Jennifer R Harris11, Paul Hofman12, Francine Kauffmann1314, Maria Angeles Muñoz-Fernàndez15, Markus Pasterk16, Anne Cambon-Thomsen12* and BRIF working group

Author Affiliations

1 Epidémiologie et analyses en santé publique, Faculté de médecine, UMR1027 INSERM-Université de Toulouse III, 37 allées Jules Guesde, Toulouse Cedex 7, F-31073, France

2 UMR1027 INSERM-Université de Toulouse III-Paul Sabatier, 118 Route de Narbonne, Toulouse Cedex 9, 31062, France

3 Department of Genetics, University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester, LE1 7RH, UK

4 Faculty of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Iceland, Sturlugata 7, Reykjavik, 101, Iceland

5 P3G, 2155 Guy Street Montreal, Quebec, H3H 2R9, Canada

6 European, African & Middle Eastern Society for Biopreservation and Biobanking, 20 Boulevard du Roi René, Aix-en-Provence, 13100, France

7 Breast Cancer Tissue Bank, University of Sydney, Darcy Road Westmead, Sydney, NSW 2145, Australia

8 Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Department of Cellular Biology and Neuroscience, 299 Viale Regina Elena, Rome, 00161, Italy

9 Istituto G. Gaslini, Lab Diagnosi Pre-Postnatale Malattie Metaboliche, L.go G. Gaslini, Genoa, 16147, Italy

10 Department of Neurology, Mission Bay campus, University of California, 675 Nelson Rising Lane, San Francisco, CA, 94158, USA

11 The Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Division of Epidemiology, PO Box 4404, Oslo, Nydalen, N-0403, Norway

12 “Cancéropôle PACA Biobank”, Centre Hospitalo-Universitaire Pasteur, 30 Avenue de la Voie Romaine, Nice, 06000, France

13 UMR1018 INSERM, Centre de Recherche en Epidémiologie et Santé des Populations, 16 avenue Paul Vaillant Couturier, Villejuif Cedex, 94807, France

14 UMR1018 INSERM-Université Paris Sud, 16 avenue Paul Vaillant Couturier, Villejuif Cedex, 94807, France

15 HIV HGM Spanish Biobank, C/Dr. Esquerdo, Madrid, 46.28007, Spain

16 International Prevention Research Institute, 95 Cours Lafayette, Lyon, 69006, France

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GigaScience 2013, 2:7  doi:10.1186/2047-217X-2-7

Published: 1 May 2013


An increasing portion of biomedical research relies on the use of biobanks and databases. Sharing of such resources is essential for optimizing knowledge production. A major obstacle for sharing bioresources is the lack of recognition for the efforts involved in establishing, maintaining and sharing them, due to, in particular, the absence of adequate tools. Increasing demands on biobanks and databases to improve access should be complemented with efforts of end-users to recognize and acknowledge these resources. An appropriate set of tools must be developed and implemented to measure this impact.

To address this issue we propose to measure the use in research of such bioresources as a value of their impact, leading to create an indicator: Bioresource Research Impact Factor (BRIF). Key elements to be assessed are: defining obstacles to sharing samples and data, choosing adequate identifier for bioresources, identifying and weighing parameters to be considered in the metrics, analyzing the role of journal guidelines and policies for resource citing and referencing, assessing policies for resource access and sharing and their influence on bioresource use. This work allows us to propose a framework and foundations for the operational development of BRIF that still requires input from stakeholders within the biomedical community.

Data sharing; Bioresource; Biobank; Identifier; Metrics; Traceability; Impact factor; Biology; Science policy; Open data