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ISBER Best Practices For Repositories

Click here to download the ISBER Best Practices, Fourth Edition + Addendum

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 ISBER Best Practices: Recommendations for Repositories

Citation for the ISBER Best Practices, Fourth Edition: 

Campbell LD, Astrin JJ, DeSouza Y, Giri, J, Patel AA, Rawley-Payne M, Rush A and Sieffert N. The 2018 Revision of the ISBER Best Practices: Summary of Changes and the Editorial Team's Development Process. Biopreservation and Biobanking 16(1): 3-6.

 On This Page:

 Summary - About the ISBER Best Practices

The ISBER Best Practices: Recommendations for Repositories Fourth Edition presents the most effective practices for the management of biological and environmental 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 fourth edition (2018) of the Best Practices builds on the foundation established in the first, second, and third editions which were published in 2005, 2008, and 2012 respectively.

 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.

 Uses of the ISBER Best Practices

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.


Translations for the ISBER Best Practices are in progress. These translations will be made available on this webpage as soon as they are completed. If you would like to be notified by email when translations are ready, please click on your language preference below.

Availability of translations will also be announced to ISBER members by email or through social media (follow us on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn

 Best Practices Assessment

Please note that the Self Assessment Tool and the CTRNet Introduction to Biobanking Course are in the process of being updated to relate to the ISBER Best Practices: Recommendations for Repositories Fourth Edition.


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.


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.


Send us your feedback for the ISBER Best Practices: Recommendations for Repositories Fourth Edition to

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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