VertNet, a network that provides open access to vertebrate natural history collections and observations, is GBIF’s newest member.
The network has signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with GBIF, making VertNet an Associate Participant. A petition to join GBIF was previously approved by the Executive Committee. VertNet will now have a place on the GBIF Governing Board and is able to endorse institutions wishing to publish data through the GBIF network.
VertNet is funded by the National Science Foundation in the United States and aims to make vertebrate data from observations and collections available online. It currently helps to mobilize collections from 38 countries.
The chair of the VertNet steering committee, Robert Guralnick said, “VertNet is excited to be able to serve as an Associate Participant. We have been working not only in the United States, but also more broadly to help publishers make their data available online. The move to official Associate Participant status is a benefit especially for those publishers located in countries that are not yet GBIF Participants.”
VertNet has already been an active member of the GBIF community by contributing to the development of GBIF publishing tools and providing technical installations to mobilize data from museum collections. Eighty datasets with over 4.6 million records have been published so far to GBIF via the new VertNet-hosted Integrated Publishing Toolkit (IPT) at the University of Kansas.
VertNet also has a long history of providing biodiversity training on georeferencing, data publishing, and data quality improvement. The network has trained over 903 students and professionals from 514 institutions and 48 countries since 2001.
VertNet has released the beta-version of a new portal, which acts as a query access interface to the data sets participating in VertNet, and therefore also in GBIF. The site currently provides access to over eight million records from 98 collections shared by 45 data publishers.
Donald Hobern, GBIF’s Executive Secretary, commented: “I am delighted to welcome VertNet into the GBIF family as an Associate Participant. The network has already made a valuable contribution to the development of biodiversity informatics and opening access to vertebrate collection data, and I believe this step will further strengthen efforts to mobilize biodiversity data worldwide for the benefit of research and sustainable policies.”
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1. VertNet’s predecessor networks FishNET 2, HerpNET, MaNIS, and ORNIS have been long running and valued resources that feed into GBIF. These are four distributed database networks divided by biological discipline.