Our mission

Enabling scientists to collaborate and undertake world-class research

The natural world

Earth holds an estimated 8.7 million multicellular species, and countless additional unicellular organisms, many of them unidentified, unexplored, and understudied. Globally, scientists are working to understand the natural world, an effort requiring biological samples. Such samples hold the key to nature’s most complex questions. Daily, thousands of researchers are collecting biological samples from every corner of the globe - an expensive and time-intensive pursuit.

Biological samples, often reusable for multiple studies, are housed in freezers and boxes awaiting collaborative projects. Furthermore, research scientists looking to grow their work, spend time e-mailing colleagues and spend money re-collecting samples in the field. This ineffective system leaves key samples buried away, and studies curtailed by too few samples.

The Otlet database houses an index of biological research samples, made available by the broad community of researchers worldwide. Specifically tailored for biological research scientists working with plants and animals, Otlet seeks to overcome the existing haphazard system of e-mails and chance opportunities. By building a network to connect fellow scientists and provide them with the samples they need, we can accelerate what and how we study the natural world.

Ecological benefits

The more we know, the more we can manage and conserve

Thorough species-specific and ecosystem-level knowledge is the cornerstone of effective conservation and management. By enabling scientists with greater access to research samples, we are enhancing our understanding of the ecology and biology of the natural world. Discoveries broaden our knowledge, informing policy makers and managers on how to sustainably manage and conserve populations.

Minimise invasive sampling

While scientists work towards understanding, managing and conserving species, research sometimes requires invasive or destructive sampling. Enabling the use of previously collected material allows us to minimise need for this type of sampling, reducing the impact science has on the organisms and environment we seek to understand. In the case of destructive sampling, this platform allows scientists to better utilise all resulting samples by cycling them into new projects, reducing wasted tissues while fostering research. 

Benefits for researchers

Easily manage and find samples

Spending hours emailing colleagues for tissue samples is a thing of the past. Otlet helps you find who has the samples you need in real time.

No more missed opportunities

Don’t wait for a project to come to you, utilize all the tissues you have in the freezer and never miss out on the samples you need. We help researchers discover and share samples with ease. Finding collaborators to share with, or request tissues from, means less samples are wasted.

Collaborate with ease

Our sharing system means authorships and sharing agreements are upfront and transparent. Share tissue samples knowing what you and your collaborators want from a project.

Developing regions

The capacity for large laboratories and expensive equipment to undertake research is limited to relatively few regions. Using Otlet means users from underrepresented and under-studied areas can connect with those who have the facilities to utilise these unique sample and enable discoveries.

Benefits for institutions

Discover more

Accessing tissue samples with ease means researchers have a greater capacity to produce high-impact research and publications.

Enable students and staff

Student research projects all have critical timelines to meet. Help students enhance their research and increase sample sizes by having access to thousands of tissue samples from around the world.

Spend wisely

We know research funding is critical to ensure the success of a project and field work is often the most expensive component. Otlet helps researchers source samples online, saving time and money.