October 3, 2013
Sharing of resources such as biobanks and databases is an essential part of biomedical research as it enhances knowledge production. Due to this, there is a rising requirement to “improve access [and it] should be complemented with efforts of end-users to recognize and acknowledge these resources”. In order to develop a set of tools that will help efficient sharing, and determining the impact of biobanks and databases, an indicator was created and named: Bioresource Research Impact Factor (BRIF). The BRIF work has been divided in subgroups: ‘BRIF identifiers’; ‘BRIF parameters’; ‘BRIF in access and sharing policies’; ‘BRIF dissemination’ and ‘BRIF and journal editors’ so as to expand sharing and circulation of bioresources and their content through the development of specific tools.
An objective of BRIF is to make groups conscious of “specific issues related to bioresources, creating awareness on the BRIF project and, possibly, proceed to amend editorial guidelines by including reference to bioresources”. So far, actions have been directed to: the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) and the European Association of Science Editors (EASE). The ICMJE advised to contact also the EQUATOR network (a repository of reporting guidelines), while COPE agreed to discuss a declaration of openness for promoting specific guidelines. Additionally, EASE Council members agreed on including the subgroup proposed sentence in the updated version of the Guidelines, to encourage citation of the bioresources with their name or identifier.
A workshop titled “Standardizing Bioresources Citation In Journal Articles: The Editors Point Of View” was held in Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, on June 21, 2013. The objective of this workshop was to“elaborate practical and realistic proposals for harmonising bioresources citation in journal articles with the help of journal editors”. Presentations from the editor of PLOS Biology, COPE, EASE, provided information on creating reliable, comprehensive citation metrics, as well as other methods, to demonstrate the impact of a bioresource. During the workshop the proposal to identify bioresources using a persistent code (ID) rather than the name to avoid confusions, the DOI (Digital Object Identifier) system so that bioresources could be tracked through CrossRef, a properly referenceable bioresource was emphasized. Other suggestions such as create a new MESH (Medical Subject Heading) term for bioresources and the NLM Citing Medicine to include a standard citation for bioresources was also floated.
Finally the opportunity to present some considerations about the BRIF and Journal editors subgroup activity at the “European Commission Public Consultation on Open Research Data” at Brussels on July 2, 2013 was also contemplated.