Dr. Romain Melet, co-founder of Sample of Science explains: “the advancement of science highly depends on how efficiently the scientific knowledge circulates among scientists being located in geographically distant laboratories and working in different fields of research. Since a significant part of published results relies on highly specific research samples, such samples need to be considered as an integral part of scientific knowledge. Therefore the circulation of samples between scientists needs to be promoted.”
That is where Sample of Science comes into play. The website is an exchange market for samples, with a focus on material science (although the platform will be opened to other fields in the future). Unique materials such as microporous polymers and luminescent gold nanorods are currently listed on the website. This system allows scientists creating new materials to make the most out of their research efforts, while sample adopters do not waste resources in the synthesis of already existing samples.
Sample descriptions are published on Sample of Science Bulletin, a peer-reviewed open access journal, thereby providing a citable reference and a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) to each transferable samples. The “sample author” and a “sample adopter” can use the platform to discuss about the opportunity of transferring a sample. Sample transfers are then published on Sample of Science Bulletin, making any exchange publicly trackable.
This is a great example of how online tools can favor more collaborative and international research efforts. Often collaborations are started between researchers with a new materials or tools and researchers with a new questions to answer. Sample of Science with an easy to use and centralized platform should help formalize these interactions and promote new collaborations.