Measuring the contribution of tumor biobanks to research in oncology: Surrogate indicators and bibliographic output


  • Hofman Véronique
  • Ilie Marius
  • Long Elodie
  • Washetine Kevin
  • Chabannon Christian
  • Figarella-Branger Dominique
  • Clément Bruno
  • Mabile Laurence
  • Cambon-Thomsen Anne
  • Boucher Pascal
  • Dagher Georges
  • Hewitt Robert
  • Parodi Barbara
  • Hofman Paul

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The number of biobanks, in particular hospital-integrated tumor biobanks (HITB), is increasing all around the world. This is the consequence of an increase in the need for human biological resources for scientific projects and more specifically, for translational and clinical research. The robustness and reproducibility of the results obtained depend greatly on the quality of the biospecimens and the associated clinical data. They also depend on the number of patients studied and on the expertise of the biobank that supplied the biospecimens. The quality of a research biobank is undoubtedly reflected in the number and overall quality of the research projects conducted with biospecimens provided by the biobank. Since the quality of a research project can be measured from the impact factor of resulting publications, this also provides some indication of the quality of a research biobank. It is necessary for the biobank community to define "surrogate" quality indicators, and to establish systems of evaluation in relation to current and future resource requirements. These indicators will help in the realistic assessment of biobanks by institutions and funding bodies, and they will help biobanks demonstrate their value, raise their quality standards, and compete for funding. Given that biobanks are expensive structures to maintain, funding issues are particularly important, especially in the current economic climate. Use of performance indicators may also contribute to the development of a biobank impact factor or "bioresource research impact factor" (BRIF). Here we review four major categories of indicators that appear to be useful for the evaluation of a(m) HITB (quality, activity, scientific productivity, and "visibility"). In addition, we propose a scoring system to measure the chosen indicators.

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