Top tip: Help us fill gaps

A new tool aims to guide sustained, community-wide efforts to address and fill gaps and biases in GBIF-mediated data

Suggest a dataset Github Repo snapshot
A snapshot of some of the datasets added to the review repository via the Suggest a Dataset tool.

Despite having almost 800 million occurrence records, we’ve made no secret of the taxonomical and geographical gaps that exist in the data mobilized by the GBIF network — last year’s Ebbe Nielsen Challege focused precisely on this issue, and earlier this week, a new study in Scientific Reports by Julien Troudet and colleagues closed in on understanding some of the causes behind the bias leading to taxonomic gaps. With the new GBIF.org in place, and with new data mobilization priorities in place, GBIF is eager to guide a sustained effort to address and fill data gaps. We’d like to introduce a new tool to support exactly that.

Sometimes gaps exist because there’s no data. But in other cases, researchers publish important data that supports peer-reviewed articles, only to store the dataset in a proprietary format or an image file, or leave it in miscellanous repositories where few can discover or benefit from it. And this is one place where we need your help.

We’re introducing Suggest a dataset: a simple, easy-to-use, web-based tool for reporting important data that you feel should be added to GBIF.org. If you know of any such datasets, we ask you to provide the following information, at a minimum:

  • Title: the name of the dataset
  • Link: where can we find the data
  • Geographic coverage: e.g. South America, Borneo, Antarctica
  • Taxonomic scope: e.g. amphibians, bats, Gastropoda

You’re welcome to provide more details, like the type of dataset, its licensing, and why you feel it’s particularly important to include in GBIF.org.

All requests made through Suggest a dataset will be logged as a issue in a dedicated GitHub repository created to track these. From here, GBIF Secretariat can review the requests and take steps to engage relevant nodes and publishers to work with the data holders to share these datasets more widely. And since the GitHub repo is publicly accessible, you yourself can track activities and follow the progress around the datasets you recommend.

So, what are you waiting for? Go Suggest a dataset, and help the GBIF community fill data gaps.

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