Bio-repositories and databases for biomedical research enable the efficient community-wide sharing of reagents and data. These archives play an increasingly prominent role in the generation and dissemination of bioresources and data essential for fundamental and translational research. Evidence suggests, however, that current funding and governance models, generally short-term and nationally focused, do not adequately support the role of archives in long-term, transnational endeavours to make and share high-impact resources. Our qualitative case study of the International Knockout Mouse Consortium and the International Mouse Phenotyping Consortium examines new governance mechanisms for archive sustainability. Funders and archive managers highlight in interviews that archives need stable public funding and new revenue-generation models to be sustainable. Sustainability also requires archives, journal publishers, and funders to implement appropriate incentives, associated metrics, and enforcement mechanisms to ensure that researchers use archives to deposit reagents and data to make them publicly accessible for academia and industry alike.