Indicators for the Data Usage Index (DUI): an incentive for publishing primary biodiversity data through global information infrastructure
Background: A professional recognition mechanism is required to encourage expedited publishing of an adequate volume of ‘fit-for-use’ biodiversity data. As a component of such a recognition mechanism, we propose the development of the Data Usage Index (DUI) to demonstrate to data publishers that their efforts of creating biodiversity datasets have impact by being accessed and used by a wide spectrum of user communities. Discussion: We propose and give examples of a range of 14 absolute and normalized biodiversity dataset usage indicators for the development of a DUI based on search events and dataset download instances. The DUI is proposed to include relative as well as species profile weighted comparative indicators. Conclusions: We believe that in addition to the recognition to the data publisher and all players involved in the data life cycle, a DUI will also provide much needed yet novel insight into how users use primary biodiversity data. A DUI consisting of a range of usage indicators obtained from the GBIF network and other relevant access points is within reach. The usage of biodiversity datasets leads to the development of a family of indicators in line with well known citation-based measurements of recognition.