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A specialist’s audit of aggregated occurrence records: An ‘aggregator’s’ perspective

Lee Belbin, Joanne Daly, Tim Hirsch, Donald Hobern, John LaSalle
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Journal Article
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A recent ZooKeys’ paper (Mesibov 2013: http://www.pensoft.net/journal_home_page.php?journal_id=1 &page=article&SESID=df7bcb35b02603283dcb83ee0e0af0c9&type=show&article_id=5111) has high- lighted data quality issues in aggregated data sets, but did not provide a realistic way to address these issues. Tis paper provides an aggregator’s perspective including ways that the whole community can help to address data quality issues. Te establishment of GBIF and national nodes (national aggregators) such as the Atlas of Living Australia (ALA) have integrated and exposed a huge diversity of biological observa- tions along with many associated issues. Much of the admirable work by Mesibov (2013) was enabled by having the data exposed. Data quality, one of the highest priorities for GBIF, the national nodes and other aggregators, de- pends on both automatic methods and community experts to detect and correct data issues. Not all issues can however be automatically detected or corrected, so community assistance is needed to help improve the quality of exposed biological data. We do need to improve the infrastructure and associated processes to more easily identify data issues and document all changes to ensure a full record is permanently and publicly available.

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