How it works

Everything you need to know about the database

Sharing your samples



Upload a record of your sharable samples directly into the database.

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Manage your samples and make them available for collaboration with other researchers.



Share samples and contribute to projects at your discretion.

Finding samples



Search for any type of sample
from around the world.



Select the samples you need and
send an enquiry directly to the
sample contributor.



Secure the samples you need and
expand the scope of your work.

Requesting samples

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Are you looking for samples not yet on the database?



Post a request to the research
community detailing what you



Get in contact with the scientists
able to provide the samples you
are looking for.


Who can use Otlet?

Currently the Otlet database is only available for personnel belonging to institutions, research organisations, and government agencies, including museums. Public access is not granted due to strict ethics requirements around sample collection. If you are unsure if you can become a member, or would like more information please contact us.


Contribution and Flexible Shipping

We understand first-hand that sample collection is an expensive process and researchers should be rightly acknowledged for their contributions. During sample upload, contributors are able to clarify what level of acknowledgement they require for the offered samples, ranging from authorship to no acknowledgment or to be decided during conversations between users. Our Otlet sample sharing agreements makes collaboration easy and transparent.

Similarly, who will pay the shipping costs associated with transport of samples can be defined during sample upload.

Things we are NOT

(But people think we are)

Medical tissue bank

We only work with biological samples from non-human organisms.

Physical tissue bank

We are an online platform, not a sample warehouse. Please do not mail us ANY samples (unless I request them from you on Otlet of course). 

Shipping company

We can only do so much and organizing shipping your samples is something that you are still in charge of (although we do hope to help streamline this process in the future, so be ready for ongoing partnerships and development).

Genetics only platform

We love genetic projects, and are happy for you to share samples for genetic research. But no need to limit yourself, the database is designed for all types of biological material to be used on any type of project. 

Big data

Working with big data (or small data) is your job. We just facilitate sharing the of samples, you produce the data and publish the results.

You are obligated to share everything with everyone

As an Otlet member, you are under no obligation to share your samples. Only upload what you want to share. You do not have to say yes to all sample requests, it is all at your discretion.