Physical Samples and Collections in the Research Data Ecosystem IG


Group details

Secretariat Liaison: 
Stefanie Kethers
TAB Liaison: 
Paul Uhlir
IG Established

Physical samples are a basic element for reference, study, and experimentation in research.  Tests and analysis are conducted directly on samples, such as biological specimens, rock or mineral specimens, soil or sediment cores, plants and seeds, water quality samples, archaeological artefacts, or DNA and human tissue samples because they represent a wider population or a larger context. Other physical objects, such as maps or analogue images are also direct objects of study, and, if digitized, may become a source of digital data. There is an urgent need for better integrating these physical objects into the digital research data ecosystem, both in a global and in an interdisciplinary context to support search, retrieval, analysis, reuse, preservation and scientific reproducibility. This group aims to facilitate cross-domain exchange and convergence on key issues related to the digital representation of physical samples and collections, including but not limited to use of globally unique and persistent identifiers for samples to support unambiguous citation and linking of information in distributed data systems and with publications, metadata standards for documenting samples and collections and for landing pages, access policies, and best practices for sample and collection catalog, including a broad range of issues from interoperability to persistence.

Recent Activity

09 Oct 2019

P14 Session Chair Update

In preparation for Plenary 14 in Helsinki, please refer to the information presented below pertaining to your breakout sessions.


Remote Participation

  • Remote participation will be available in each meeting room through GoToMeeting, which will be running from the laptop provided by the University. By just opening your presentation on this laptop, remote attendees will be able to view your slides and hear you speak.

18 Sep 2019

Save the date -- 2019 IGSN Information Session meeting at AGU (Dec 8th)

Hello Everyone,
We will be hosting an IGSN Information Session at the Fall Meeting of AGU.
The meeting will take place Sunday December 8th, 2019 in San Francisco, CA
(specific time and location TBA).
This session will be open to the public. We encourage you to attend to
learn about current activities of the IGSN e.V. You may also wish to
attend if you are interested in developing an IGSN allocating agent or
using the IGSN system.
Please contact ***@***.*** with any questions.
Thank you,

24 Jun 2019

Plenary 14 Session Submission Deadline Is Thursday!

With Plenary 14 (P14) scheduled to occur from October 23-25, the deadline for session submission is this Thursday, 27 June at 16:00 UTC.

Submissions for meeting sessions are open to working groups, interest groups, joint groups and birds of feather (BoF) meetings.

Please note, however, submissions are accepted from group chairs only. If you submit a session request for a group, please notify the other chairs of that group.

16 May 2019

Plenary 14: Call for Sessions, Collocated Events, Posters and Registration Now Open!

Taking place from 23-25 October 2019, the 14th RDA Plenary will take place in Dipoli, the nature-immersed building of Aalto University, Helsinki, in Finland, “one of the happiest countries in the world”, states Per Öster, CSC-IT Center For Science Director and Co-Chair of the P14 Programme Committee.


14 Mar 2019

Survey on digital management of physical samples and sample collections

The following is an invitation to participate in a survey identifying needs
related to the digital management of physical samples and sample
collections. This survey is being conducted by the IGSN 2040 team as part
of a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
We are interested in a wide range of physical samples produced by various
disciplines, including but not limited to earth, environmental, life,
material sciences, archaeology, and medical.
We hope to engage researchers across disciplines, and across the globe to