How it works

Everything you need to know about the database

Sharing samples



Upload a record of your sharable samples directly into the database using our excel template



Researchers from around the world will select and request samples directly from you via an automatically generated e-mail.



Contribute to publishable papers at your discretion.

Looking for samples



Search samples from around the world, filtering results to suit your needs.



Request the selected samples directly from the contributor.



Grow your project for higher impact results.


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.