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ISBER Best Practices For Repositories


ISBER Best Practices Fourth Edition is COMING SOON!


ISBER Best Practices for Repositories: Collection, Storage, Retrieval, and Distribution of Biological Materials for Research

Published in Biopreservation and Biobanking (BIO), April 2012 issue. 


The ISBER Best Practices for Repositories presents the most effective practices for the management of specimen collections and repositories.  These are either evidence-based or consensus-based practices for collection, long-term storage, retrieval and distribution of specimens. They promote the availability of high-quality biological and environmental specimens for future research.

The ISBER Best Practices are periodically reviewed and revised to reflect advances in research and technology. The third edition (2012) of the Best Practices builds on the foundation established in the first and second editions which were published in 2005 and 2008, respectively.


Biorepository managers can take advantage of the ISBER Best Practices to ensure compliance to best practices established by the global repository community. The ISBER Best Practices do not constitute a mandatory standard, however they can support the development of SOPs in the context of the biorepository’s quality management system.

What does "Best Practice" Mean?

The term "Best Practice" is used in cases where a level of operation is indicated that is above the basic recommended practice or, more specifically, designates the most effective practice. It is understood that repositories in certain locations or with particular financial constraints may not be able to adhere to each of the items designated as "Best Practices". Repositories fitting into either of these categories will need to decide how they might best adhere to these recommendations within their particular circumstances. While adherence to ISBER Best Practices is strictly on a voluntary basis, it is important to note that some aspects of specimen management are governed by national/federal, regional and local regulations. The reader should refer directly to regulations for their national/federal, regional and local requirements, as appropriate.

Download the ISBER Best Practices!

Click here for the iSBER Best Practices For repositories Third Edition

ISBER Best Practices for Repositories Translations

Please note that these translations of the ISBER Best Practices are unofficial translations and are provided for reference only. ISBER does not guarantee the accuracy of the translations, and expressly disclaims any and all liability for errors and omissions in the contents of these documents.

Continuing Education

Compare your Repository Practices - Take the ISBER Self-Assessment Tool

After reviewing the ISBER Best Practices for Repositories, assess your repository's degree of compliance to the Best Practices and receive a personalized report with the ISBER Self-Assessment Tool!  The assessment helps specimen collection centers strengthen their practices through the identification of areas in need of improvement.

Learn More - Complete the Introduction to Biobanking Course

Complete the ISBER Introduction to Biobanking Course for a general overview of the key issues in establishing, maintaining and accessing a biobank.  The course includes 9 online modules designed to provide 'how-to' knowledge for researchers and biobankers.  Click here for more information.

ISBER Best Practices for Repositories Citation

2012 Best practices for repositories: Collection, storage, retrieval, and distribution of biological materials for research.  Biopreservation and Biobanking 2012, 10:79-161


These materials contain information prepared by the International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories (ISBER) for the international repository community. Although due care has been used in the preparation of these materials, ISBER makes no representation or warranty, express or implied that it is free from errors or omissions, or that it is exhaustive, and expressly disclaims all warranties, including but not limited to, warranties as to the information’s quality or fitness for a particular purpose. The information contained herein is not intended to supplant the judgment of qualified professionals. ISBER and its directors, officers, employees, members, representatives, and agents accept no liability for any loss, cost, expense, injury, or damages, whether direct, indirect, incidental, consequential, special, or other, arising from the application of the information contained in these materials for any use. The accuracy of the information contained herein is subject to changes in circumstances after the time of publication. ISBER accepts no responsibility for the accuracy and reliability of information provided by third parties. Further, ISBER accepts no responsibility for the accuracy and reliability of these materials after language translation.

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