In the last 10 years, output from the life sciences has been increasingly plagued by reproducibility issues. The reason? Strong evidence points toward poor sample documentation methods and techniques applied to these samples to generate data.
Now, a Common Provenance Model has been developed to address this issue, marked by the release of the standard “ISO/TS 23494-1:2023 – Biotechnology — Provenance information model for biological material and data — Part 1: Design concepts and general requirements”.
Developing the standard
EOSC-Life provided significant support that enabled the collaboration of the academic and research communities that contributed to the Common Provenance Model, which served as the conceptual basis for the standard series. This standard was developed under the auspices of Technical Committee 276 ‘Biotechnology’.
The core development team including experts from numerous European organisations, including BBMRI-ERIC; the University and the University Hospital of Würzburg; the Medical University of Graz; CRS4 – Center for Advanced Studies, Research and Development in Sardinia; and the Masaryk University.
The experience of the BBMRI-ERIC team with practical and technical issues that complicate sample documentation and sample data generation across numerous research infrastructures supported the development of the standard. Petr Holub, Jörg Geiger, and later Gianluigi Zanetti, initiated the development of the standard. Petr and Jörg led the project for the whole 23494 standard series, while the development of the published ISO 23494-1 standard was led by Petr Holub, Jörg Geiger, and Rudolf Wittner.
How the standard helps scientific organisations
This ISO 23494-1 standard helps life sciences organisations address reproducibility issues by clearly establishing basic requirements for managing provenance information. By meeting these requirements, the organisations can receive certification according to state-of-the-art best practices. This strengthens their market position and provides regulators with a way to require the certification, for instance, to access public funding.
By supporting the development of the Common Provenance Model and the publication of the standard, EOSC-Life has helped to advance efforts to create a broader provenance information model. This model can then applied to biological material and data and enforce requirements that strongly support data interoperability and serialisation.
Like to learn more?
EOSC-Life Deliverable 6.2 describes initial version of the Common Provenance Model in more detail.
You can hear Petr and Rudolf talking about the provenance model in an episode of the BBMRI podcast.
See the related BBMRI-ERIC news item here.