Repository Overview

Data and biospecimen repositories (sometimes called registries, banks, or libraries) are used to store data, with or without biospecimens, for future research use. Federal regulations and U-M policies that protect the privacy of patients and research subjects apply to both the creation and the use of research repositories. Federal guidance calls for IRB review of repository storage and data management.
A repository is a collection of data/biospecimens whose organizers       
  • May receive data/biospecimens from multiple sources
  • Maintain the data/biospecimens over time
  • Control access to and use of data/biospecimens by multiple individuals and/or for multiple purposes, which may evolve over time.

Repository oversight at U-M

Researchers at U-M have established many repositories with a wealth of data and available specimens.  The University is committed to facilitating existing and new repositories to support research and to promote the effective use of University resources, consistent with the Medical School's Strategic Research Initiative. 

To this end, U-M research administration has developed a new “REP” application in the eResearch Regulatory Management (eRRM) system for oversight of repositories.  This supplements the existing "HUM" application for oversight of human subjects research studies. The REP application and Application Supplement Form capture information required for IRB oversight and for compliance with University policies on data and physical security and on repository governance.

Resources and Training

Repository website guidance

U-M Resources

IRBs and other review committees

University-wide resources

  • ORSP Data Sharing Specialist provides guidance in drafting data sharing plans for proposals, data use agreements (DUA), and data management plans
  • ITS Sensitive Data Guide supports informed decisions on where to safely store and share sensitive data using UM IT services.
  • PEERRS courses provide training required per university, state, and federal regulations regarding responsible conduct of research (RCR). This includes courses on human subjects protection.
  • OSEH Research Health & Safety (RH&S) promotes research safety and assures sound laboratory management.

UMHS resources

Posted 10/29/2014
Updated 2/17/2017