Opening Research Biobanks: An Overview

  • Roberto CasoEmail author
  • Rossana Ducato


In biomedical research and translational medicine, the ancient war between the exclusive right (private control over information) and public access to information is struggling on a new battlefield: research biobanks. The latter are becoming increasingly important (one of the ten ideas changing the world, according to Time magazine) because they collect, store and distribute in a secure and professional way a critical mass of human biological samples for research purposes. Tissues and related data are fundamental for the development of biomedical research and the emerging field of translational medicine, because they represent the “raw material” for every kind of biomedical study. For this reason it is crucial to understand the boundaries of IP in this prickly context. After an overview of the complex interactions among the different stakeholders involved in the process of the production of knowledge, in this paper we will thin out some blurring of language concerning concepts often mixed up, such as “open source”, “open access”, and their precipitates. Then, the aim is to understand if we can use the concepts in the biomedical context, and which are the open models proposed in literature specifically for research biobanks in order to avoid the tragedy of anticommons.


Intellectual Property Open Source HapMap Project Material Transfer Agreement Research Biobanks 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Law and Technology Research Group, Department of Legal SciencesUniversity of TrentoTrentoItaly
  2. 2.Law and Technology Research Group, Department of Legal SciencesUniversity of TrentoTrentoItaly

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