Posted: April 2, 2009

OECD launches database on research into the safety of manufactured nanomaterials

(Nanowerk News) OECD Database on Research into Safety of Manufactured Nanomaterials is a global resource which collects research projects that address environmental, human health and safety issues of manufactured nanomaterials. This database helps identify research gaps and assists researchers in future collaborative efforts. The database also assists the projects of the OECD’s Working Party on Manufactured Nanomaterials (WPMN) as a resource of research information.
Database on Research into Safety of Manufactured Nanomaterials: General Information
As part of the OECD activities to promote international co-operation in addressing human health and environmental safety aspects of manufactured nanomaterials, the OECD has developed a global resource which collects research projects that address environmental, human health and safety issues of manufactured nanomaterials. This database holds details of completed, current and planned research projects on safety, which are to be updated (electronically) by delegations. This database is also intended to be an inventory of information on research programmes to help the other projects of the WPMN by identifying relevant research projects or storing information derived from the projects of the WPMN, including the sponsorship programme on the testing of manufactured nanomaterials.
What sort of information is included in the database?
The OECD Database on Research into the Safety of Manufactured Nanomaterials (the database) is an inventory of safety research information on manufactured (engineered) nanomaterials.
Manufactured nanomaterials are those intentionally produced to have specific properties or specific composition, a size range typically between 1 nm and 100 nm and material which is confined in one, two, or three dimensions at the nanoscale (nano-object) or having an internal or surface structure at the nanoscale (nanostructured).
The database contains information relevant to research on the environmental, health, and safety of nanomaterials for projects that are planned, underway or completed.
The following information is stored in distinct fields:
  • Project Title; Start date; End date;
  • Project Status (Current; planned; or completed);
  • Country or organisation;
  • Funding information (where available, on approximate total funding; approximate annual funding; and funding source);
  • Project Summary; Project URL; Related web links;
  • Investigator information: name, research affiliation, contact details;
  • Categorisation by material name, relevance to the safety, research themes, test methods;
  • Overall outcomes and outputs.
  • Guidance for using this database is available as “pop-up” information or as guidance manual accessible at [to be provided].
    How can I access and search the database?
    Users can access the database through an internet interface at: The website is compatible with MS Internet Explorer (6 and 7) and Mozilla Firefox (1.5 and 2.0).
    The database is searchable either through:
  • Simple search that enables interrogation of the database using keywords and Boolean operators: AND (space, &), OR (|) , NOT(-), Wild cards(*);
  • Advanced search that allows users to search by different criteria such as keyword text, project information, country and category.
  • The simple search also enables users to access other linked databases: ‘Environmental Health and Safety Database’ by International Council on Nanotechnology (ICON) and ‘Nanoparticle Information Library’ by US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
    Users of the database are bound by the terms and conditions for OECD Website Usage and Privacy Policy.
    How has the database been established?
    This database builds on the database of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars: Nanotechnology Health and Environmental Implications: An Inventory of Current Research. The database was pre-populated with research projects transferred from the inventory. OECD Delegations have been updating or adding new information.
    How can I contribute to the database?
    If you wish to contribute to the database, please contact the OECD Secretariat ([email protected]). The Secretariat will contact respective representatives to the OECD to register you as a Data Provider for your country or organisation.
    Data Providers enter and revise information through a password protected online web portal. The respective representatives to the OECD and the OECD Secretariat will facilitate individual access to the database.
    How will the integrity of the database be maintained?
    Ensuring data quality is critical to the integrity of the database. The process for data entry and checking is completely within the control of individual delegations.
  • Data Providers are responsible for ensuring the quality of the data entered.
  • Designated Contact Points are responsible for checking the accuracy and internal consistency of data reporting.
  • Heads of OECD Delegations will identify Data Providers and Designated Contact Points in their respective countries. Delegations can nominate multiple Data Providers to facilitate data submission, but the number of Designated Contact Points in one country will be limited to ensure the integrity of data entry.
    Following are some examples of processes built into data entry and checking that will assist in maintaining the integrity of the database:
  • To minimise duplicate entries, the designated project coordinator will act as Data Provider for research projects that involve multiple researchers, e.g. trans-national projects;
  • To ensure accuracy projects entered into the database as planned or underway must be updated regularly and on completion;
  • Detailed guidance is provided to users through the Guidance Manual and information contained within the interface;
  • Data entry occurs in a secure environment and the Data Provider has control over when the entry is made public (i.e. published). Entries can be “saved as draft” or “saved and published”; and
  • “Checking” rights are only awarded to Designated Contact Points. Designated Contact Points can only edit/check entries from their own country.
  • How will countries coordinate activities?
    Individual delegations to the OECD are responsible for coordinating the work of their Data Providers and Designated Contact Points. Individual delegations may also use the “comments” field in the database for communication between Data Providers and Designated Contact Points.
    The Guidance Manual includes an annex that describes modus operandi adopted by certain OECD delegations. While the modus operandi will vary between delegations, these are provided as examples that may be adopted or varied.
    What features assist with data entry?
    Several mechanisms have been built into the database to facilitate data entry and checking. These include:
  • Multiple mechanisms for reporting research results: A free text box, URL; Upload files – word format and PDF
  • A secure “comments” field that can be used as a communication tool between Designated Contact Points, Data Providers and OECD secretariat.
  • Criteria have been developed to preserve the confidentiality of commercially sensitive information and the privacy of individuals.
    A Guidance Manual is available to provide a step-by-step guide for end users, Data Providers and Designated Contact Points. The OECD secretariat can be contacted if further clarification is required.
    Can I provide feedback on its operation and content?
    Users are encouraged to provide their feedback to the OECD Secretariat to ensure that the database continues to be a user friendly tool in the overall research effort. Avenues available for feedback include:
  • e-mailing [email protected]; or
  • using the “contact” function in the database
  • Communication and feedback between Data Providers and Designated Contact Points can occur via the secure comments field in the database.
    Additional Information on the Database
    Additional informational material has been developed which can be freely used for communication purposes.
  • Guidance manual for using the database [to be provided]
  • Overview slides on the database [to be provided]
  • Brochure [to be provided]
  • Other OECD Activities on the Safety of Manufactured Nanomaterials
    The following outcomes from past OECD activities are also available at: Publications in the Series on the Safety of Manufactured Nanomaterials.
    Source: OECD