April 21, 2015
One of the challenges involved in sharing bioresources (biological samples, data and databases) is the lack of structural guidance to correctly recognise and trace their use, especially in publications. An article published in BMC Medicine proposes a guideline for reporting bioresource use in research articles: CoBRA (Citation of BioResources in journal Articles). Developed by the members of the journal editors subgroup of the Bioresource Research Impact Factor (BRIF), CoBRA provides a citation system where “each individual bioresource that is used to perform a study and that is mentioned in the Methods section should be cited as an individual ‘reference [BIORESOURCE]’ according to a delineated format”. Additionally, the European Association of Science Editors has adopted BRIF’s suggestion to incorporate statements on biobanks in the Methods section of their guidelines. According to the authors, “the endorsement and the adoption of the CoBRA guideline by authors, editors, researchers and bioresource policy stakeholders is the first necessary step to achieve these goals and is essential to enhance transparency in health research”.