For financial and ethical reasons, the large-scale radiobiological animal studies conducted over the past 50 years are, to a large extent, unrepeatable experiments. It is therefore important to retain the primary data from these experiments to allow reanalysis, reinterpretation and re-evaluation of results from, for example, carcinogenicity studies, in the light of new knowledge in radiation biology. Consequently, there is an imperative need to keep these data available for the research community. The European Radiobiological Archives (ERA) were developed to fulfill this task. ERA has become a unique archive, including information from almost all European long-term studies carried out between the 1960s and the 1990s. The legacy database was originally developed in a manner that precluded online use. Therefore, strong efforts were made to transform it into a version that is available online through the web. This went together with quality assurance measures, including first the estimation of the rate of non-systematic errors in data entry, which at 2% proved to be very low. Second, every data set was compared against two external sources of information. Standardization of terminology and histopathology is a prerequisite for meaningful comparison of data across studies and analysis of potential carcinogenic effects. Standardization is particularly critical for the construction of a database that includes data from different studies evaluated by pathologists in different laboratories. A harmonized pathology nomenclature with modern standard pathology terms was introduced. As far as possible, references for the various studies were directly linked to the studies themselves. Further, a direct link to the JANUS database was established. ERA is now in a position where it has the potential to become a worldwide radiobiological research tool. ERA can be accessed at no cost at https://era.bfs.de. An ID and password can be obtained from the curators at era@bfs.de.

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