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Instant access to data on new species through GBIF

27 / 03 / 2014, GBIF

Researchers and the public can now have immediate access to data underlying discovery of new species of life on Earth, under a new streamlined system linking taxonomic research with open data publication through GBIF and other networks.

In the first example of the new collaboration in action, the Biodiversity Data Journal carries a peer-reviewed description of a new species of spider - Crassignatha danaugirangensis - discovered during a field course in Borneo just one month ago. At the same time, the data showing the location of the spider’s occurrence in nature are automatically harvested by GBIF, and richer data such as images and the species description are exported to the Encyclopedia of Life (EOL).

A group of scientists and students discovered the new species of spider during a field course in Borneo, supervised by Jeremy Miller and Menno Schilthuizen from the Naturalis Biodiversity Center, based in Leiden, the Netherlands. The species was described and submitted online from the field to the Biodiversity Data Journal through a satellite internet connection, along with the underlying data. The manuscript was peer-reviewed and published within two weeks of submission. On the day of publication, GBIF and EOL have harvested and included the data in their respective platforms.

This new workflow was established by a collaboration between GBIF, EOL and Pensoft Publishers’ Biodiversity Data Journal, with the support of the Swiss NGO Plazi. One of the main purposes of the partnership is to ensure that such data remain accessible for future use in research. A recent study published in Current Biology found that 80 per cent of scientific data are lost in less than 10 years following their creation.

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