“Standardisation and harmonisation describe a corpus of practices intended to allow interoperability of data and sample collections along a continuum from absolutely uniform collection to unfettered local variation in collection. Standardisation includes practices (standards) for prospectively implementing uniform processes for collection, storage and transformation of samples and data. Harmonisation includes practices which enable the pooling of data from multiple cohorts/biobanks at a level of precision that is scientifically adequate, yet accommodates the existing heterogeneity of those collections. Harmonisation also includes practices whereby prospective agreement is made to collect data in such a way as to directly enable pooled analysis” (BioSHaRE Consensus position on the distinction between standardisation and harmonisation, 2012).
A variety of tools and methods are developed in BioSHaRE for retrospective and prospective harmonisation, facilitating full valorisation of the database contents for the scientific community.