About scientific collections

Scientific collections are at the heart of Queensland science research. The collections, and the research organisations associated with them, support regulatory, management and policy decisions and are also used for research in biomedicine, biodiversity, agriculture, evolutionary biology and global change.

Scientific collections defined

Scientific collections are defined as samples and specimens stored, managed and used primarily for research and information purposes. These include collections and repositories of biomedical samples, human artifacts, natural history samples (plants, animals, soils) and diverse other objects of scientific study, together with their associated data and archival material. 

Collections are valuable if they are used by researchers and the community. Of course, we must not allow collections to be destroyed or put at risk (such as pathogen collections).  Scientific collections gain value, as new information and insights are gathered through ethical study and examination of their specimens.

International guidelines

The majority of scientific collections are internationally controlled by The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization to the Convention on Biological Diversity (Nagoya Protocol). Australia has signed the agreement but is yet to ratify which will require changes to domestic law. 

Access to the collections

Some collections are available to the public to access, while other collections are only available to researchers. Find out more about Queensland’s scientific collections: