Objectives: The necessity for biobanks to share their resources with third parties poses potential risks to public trust and the intention to participate in genetic research. We explore the effects of data sharing and the type of third-party access (public vs. private) on public trust and, in turn, the intention to participate in biobank research. Methods: An experimental design was used to assess a national sample of 1,701 Australians via a computer-assisted telephone interview. Results: The results revealed that trust and the intention to participate significantly decreased in relation to private compared to public biobanks, and when access to third-party researchers was allowed compared to when it was not. Somewhat surprisingly, no differences were found in relation to the third party being international compared to Australian, but trust and the intention to participate were significantly eroded when private third parties were allowed access. Those with a university education were particularly distrustful of private biobanks and biobanks that allowed access, while those who were more aware of genetic databases appeared more confident with biobanks sharing with private-sector third parties. Conclusion: The pattern of results suggests that public awareness of the need for biobanks to share their resources widely needs to be increased to maintain public trust and support.

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