Various biological resources, such as biobanks and disease-specific registries, have become indispensable resources to better understand the epidemiology and biological mechanisms of disease and are fundamental for advancing medical research. Nevertheless, biobanks and similar resources still face significant challenges to become more findable and accessible by users on both national and global scales. One of the main challenges for users is to find relevant resources using cataloging and search services such as the BBMRI-ERIC Directory, operated by European Research Infrastructure on Biobanking and Biomolecular Resources (BBMRI-ERIC), as these often do not contain the information needed by the researchers to decide if the resource has relevant material/data; these resources are only weakly characterized. Hence, the researcher is typically left with too many resources to explore and investigate. In addition, resources often have complex procedures for accessing holdings, particularly for depletable biological materials. This article focuses on designing a system for effective negotiation of access to holdings, in which a researcher can approach many resources simultaneously, while giving each resource team the ability to implement their own mechanisms to check if the material/data are available and to decide if access should be provided. The BBMRI-ERIC has developed and implemented an access and negotiation tool called the BBMRI-ERIC Negotiator. The Negotiator enables access negotiation to more than 600 biobanks from the BBMRI-ERIC Directory and other discovery services such as GBA/BBMRI-ERIC Locator or RD-Connect Finder. This article summarizes the principles that guided the design of the tool, the terminology used and underlying data model, request workflows, authentication and authorization mechanism(s), and the mechanisms and monitoring processes to stimulate the desired behavior of the resources: to effectively deliver access to biological material and data.
- information technology
- BBMRI-ERIC Negotiator