- Review Article
Rights / licenseCreative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
Good biobank governance implies—at a minimum—transparency and accountability and the implementation of oversight mechanisms. While the biobanking community is in general committed to such principles, little is known about precisely which governance strategies biobanks adopt to meet those objectives. We conducted an exploratory analysis of governance mechanisms adopted by research biobanks, including genetic biobanks, located in Europe and Canada. We reviewed information available on the websites of 69 biobanks, and directly contacted them for additional information. Our study identified six types of commonly adopted governance strategies: communication, compliance, expert advice, external review, internal procedures, and partnerships. Each strategy is implemented through different mechanisms including, independent ethics assessment, informed consent processes, quality management, data access control, legal compliance, standard operating procedures and external certification. Such mechanisms rely on a wide range of bodies, committees and actors from both within and outside the biobanks themselves. We found that most biobanks aim to be transparent about their governance mechanisms, but could do more to provide more complete and detailed information about them. In particular, the retrievable information, while showing efforts to ensure biobanks operate in a legitimate way, does not specify in sufficient detail how governance mechanisms support accountability, nor how they ensure oversight of research operations. This state of affairs can potentially undermine biobanks’ trustworthiness to stakeholders and the public in a long-term perspective. Given the ever-increasing reliance of biomedical research on large biological repositories and their associated databases, we recommend that biobanks increase their efforts to future-proof their governance. Show more
Journal / seriesEuropean Journal of Human Genetics
Pages / Article No.
PublisherNature Publication Group
Organisational unit09614 - Vayena, Eftychia / Vayena, Eftychia
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