Towards a common standard for data and specimen provenance in life sciences

Rudolf Wittner, Petr Holub, Cecilia Mascia, Francesca Frexia, Heimo Müller, Markus Plass, Clare Allocca, Fay Betsou, Tony Burdett, Ibon Cancio, Adriane Chapman, Martin Chapman, Mélanie Courtot, Vasa Curcin, Johann Eder, Mark Elliot, Katrina Exter, Carole Goble, Martin Golebiewski, Bron KislerAndreas Kremer, Simone Leo, Sheng Lin-Gibson, Anna Marsano, Marco Mattavelli, Josh Moore, Hiroki Nakae, Isabelle Perseil, Ayat Salman, James Sluka, Stian Soiland-Reyes, Caterina Strambio-De-Castillia, Michael Sussman, Jason R. Swedlow, Kurt Zatloukal, Jörg Geiger

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Open and practical exchange, dissemination, and reuse of specimen and data has become a fundamental requirement for life sciences research. The quality of the data obtained and thus the findings and knowledge derived is thus significantly influenced by the quality of the samples, the experimental methods and the data analysis.

Therefore, a comprehensive and precise documentation of the pre-analytical conditions, the analytical procedures and the data processing is essential to be able to assess the validity of the research results.

With the increasing importance of the exchange, reuse and sharing of data and samples, procedures are required that enable cross-organizational documentation, traceability, and non-repudiation. At present, this information on the provenance of samples and data is mostly either sparse, incomplete, or incoherent. Since there is no uniform framework, this information is usually only provided within the organization and not interoperably.

At the same time, collection and sharing of biological and environmental specimens increasingly requires definition and documentation of benefit sharing and compliance to regulatory requirements rather than consideration of the pure scientific needs.

In this publication, we present an ongoing standardization effort to provide trustworthy machine-actionable documentation of the data lineage and specimens. We would like to invite experts from biotechnology and biomedical fields to further contribute to the standard.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere10365
JournalLearning Health Systems
Early online date18 Apr 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Apr 2023


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  • Towards a Common Standard for Data and Specimen Provenance in Life Sciences

    Holub, P., Wittner, R., Mascia, C., Frexia, F., Müller, H., Plass, M., Allocca, C., Betsou, F., Burdett, T., Cancio, I., Chapman, A., Chapman, M., Courtot, M., Curcin, V., Eder, J., Elliot, M., Exter, K., Fairweather, E., Goble, C., Golebiewski, M., & 16 othersKisler, B., Kremer, A., Lin-Gibson, S., Marsano, A., Mattavelli, M., Moore, J., Nakae, H., Perseil, I., Salman, A., Sluka, J., Soiland-Reyes, S., Strambio-De-Castillia, C., Sussman, M., Swedlow, J., Zatloukal, K. & Geiger, J., 2021, 12 p. (Zenodo).

    Research output: Working paperPreprint

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