Trends in Biobanking: A Bibliometric Overview

Jonas J. Astrin*, Fay Betsou

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Biobanks have become indispensable tools for a wide array of life and environmental sciences, and biotechnology. To evaluate trends in biobanking, 20,000 bibliographic records were retrieved and analyzed between 1939 and 2014 from the Scopus database using a series of biobank-related search terms within titles and keywords. Since the 1990s, the field of biobanking has been, and still is, experiencing above-average growth in terms of publications, journals, and thematic orientations. Almost two-thirds of all indexed biobanking documents have been published in the last decade, with now >1,000 publications in 600 distinct journals per year. Around 50,000 individual authors can be identified who have so far contributed to the field of biobanking, with an average of 1.5 publications per author. Author affiliations follow an uneven distribution: 42% of the authors are based in Europe, 33% in North America, 13% in Asia, 5% in South America, 4% in Australasia, and 2% in Africa. Analyzing the most common title words revealed (as did the journals) a strong focus on blood banking, but other biospecimen types - especially seeds, cells, and tissues - have been gaining increasing weight recently. Among medical applications, transfusion dominates, followed by transplantation. While a noticeable increase in disease and especially health occurred at the beginning of the millennium, cohort and consent seem to have become high-relevance topics only in this decade. In terms of banked organisms, human dominates, followed by viruses and plants (especially represented through seed banking). A very rough estimate based on subject categories suggests that a third of all publications in biobanking focus on organisms other than humans. However, animal, fungal, and microbial biobanking are still underrepresented, especially when considering their shares in global biodiversity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-74
Number of pages10
JournalBiopreservation and Biobanking
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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