Image by Sergio Cerrato from Pixabay
This page has been developed by Wouter Addink, RDA EU Ambassador for Natural Sciences
Data sharing in Biodiversity
Many organisms move across borders or have a global distribution. In the discipline of Biodiversity it is therefore important to collect, aggregate and exchange data globally. For decades the Biodiversity research community have been working together in international initiatives to build the social and technical bridges to enable the open sharing and re-use of data. Examples of global initiatives for biodiversity data sharing are TDWG Biodiversity Standards, the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), The Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections (SPNHC),The Barcode of Life, Catalogue of Life, the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) and the IUCN Red List.
These initiatives not only play an important role in building technical bridges but also help to build social bridges. Significant progress has been made on issues like liberating biodiversity data from literature, semantic enhanced publishing, industrial scale digitisation of objects, common data exchange formats and community curation of data.
With current global challenges in climate change, limited natural resources and diseases, Biodiversity data play an increasingly important role in science. Research towards solutions for these challenges often require multidisciplinary data. The Biodiversity discipline is closely related to other disciplines such as Agriculture, Biomedical Life Sciences, Environmental Sciences, Earth Sciences and Biochemistry.
Biodiversity in RDA
Given the long standing nature of international data sharing and need for cross-disciplinary data, it is no surprise that one of the oldest discipline-specific interest groups in RDA is the Biodiversity Data Integration Interest Group (BDI IG). Like each discipline, Biodiversity has specific approaches to planning, acquisition, processing and storage of the data collected and generated. Addressing these within the scope of the discipline assures quality and enables access, reproducibility and re-use. However, from a data infrastructure and interoperability perspective, as well as to enable cross-disciplinary research, there is a need for cross-disciplinary, overarching solutions.
Value of RDA to the Biodiversity community
RDA is huge and diverse, and it is easy to get lost. However RDA has the capacity to help the biodiversity community understand how to better deal with the data world. There are many initiatives in the field of biodiversity data that would benefit from alignment of global developments in scientific data. Examples are RDA outputs related to the global movement to FAIR data such as the FAIR Data Maturity Model, and RDA outputs that underpin the development of a cross-domain ‘data fabric’ such as the Recommendation on PID Kernel Information and PID Information Types recommendations. This data fabric is an architecture and set of data services that provide consistent capabilities across scientific domains and technical solutions. When applied to biodiversity data, it will allow researchers and innovators to openly share biodiversity data across technologies, disciplines, and countries to address the grand challenges of society. An RDA output that has been created specifically with the biodiversity community in mind are the RDA/TDWG Attribution Metadata Working Group Final Recommendations.
RDA Working Groups and Interest Groups
The discipline specific group (BDI IG) is instrumental in providing input to many cross-cutting technical and socio-cultural groups and the work of these groups is highly relevant for Biodiversity. RDA groups closely related to Biodiversity are:
Groups of related disciplines:
Other relevant groups:
RDA Adoption stories & RDA Research Papers related to Biodiversity
Useful links & resources: