On 18-19 February 2015 representatives of national biobank registries from seven European countries met in Berlin. In each of the countries (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Germany) biobank registries have evolved quite differently, therefore the aim of the meeting was to mutually learn from the different approaches and to discuss aspects of standardisation and quality. Morris Swertz and David van Enckevort, both involved in the DTL Biobanking catalogue working group, joined the meeting on behalf of BBMRI-NL.
The workshop had a strong link with FAIR principles, since biobank catalogues are an essential tool to obtain data and material from biobanks, thus making them findable and accessible. The “Minimum Information About Biobank data Sharing” (MIABIS) guideline, developed to facilitate communication between biobank registries and to stimulate cross-border research collaborations, standardises the metadata of biobank catalogues, thereby making them interoperable.
The biobank registries prefer to establish ‘structured yellow pages’ to make their biobank recources visible and to avoid redundant research. During the meeting it became clear that all registries have great difficulty in completing these ‘yellow pages’. Incentives for registration set by the national governments could greatly facilitate the process. More about the outcomes of the meeting.