The development and implementation of new methods in human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research is fraught with difficulties, not least of which is the highly variable reporting of the number and quality of embryos used to derive hESC lines. Without a clear minimum information convention among the derivation teams, understanding and comparing derivation methods and their potential impact on the resulting stem cell line will continue to be extremely difficult. In order to address this issue, we consulted international teams regarding the implementation of a minimum information convention for derivation with the aim of universal use, data collection and central analysis, followed by a multi-author publication. The responses demonstrated overwhelming support for such a system; over 90% of the respondents agreed that a universal standard for reporting the derivation of hESC lines was essential as part of the international effort to advance the field efficiently, and over 87% plan to use this standard and share collected data in Spring 2008 for central analysis and public dissemination. A number of future steps are planned in order to ensure that this standard evolves with the field and remains relevant and up-to-date. Our aim is to incorporate these data within existing international initiatives aimed at improving derivation standards. This article is an open-access publication in order to make the convention freely available to the international community and encourage universal participation.