Sharing of samples

One of the tenets of our working group was to encourage sample sharing, not only among researchers of hydrothermal vent biology, but also with other researchers. The acquisition of samples is costly (in terms of money, ship-time, personal time), and the sharing of the samples could both limit our impact on the vent communities, and increase citations for a given grant. Long-established collaborations rely on simple agreements. However, new collaborations may require more formal agreements.

We suggest the use of a sample transfer agreement similar to the type already used for cell culture sharing.

Essentially, this agreement states:

  • what the interested person is planning to do with the sample(s) (quick description),
  • that the person will only do that planned work or ask for permission if he/she would like to do something else, 
  • that this research is not for the private sector (university and affiliated institutions can have the samples for free),
  • that he/she will not give these samples to someone else before that other person signs a similar agreement

The statement will also require that, if the shared sample should be used for a publication, the researcher should acknowledge the person who provided the sample and the grant(s) (as well as funding agencies) that allowed the sample collection.

You can download such a basic sample agreement here. This form can be used as a starting point and be modified to better meet the needs of the original owner of the samples.

There is no legal value to such an agreement, and a different agreement (involving the institutions and/or funding agencies) should be signed if financial benefits arise from the use of such samples.