Lack of biodiveristy data from the 12 countries that make up most of the former Soviet Union remains one of the most prominent gaps within GBIF-mediated data. However, the vast range of evidence-based field science, both historical and ongoing, offers a critical basis on which to engage data holders, data users and policymakers across Northern Eurasia and to improve access to and use of open biodiversity data from the region.
Since 2016, an increasing number of scientists across Northern Eurasia have answered a grassroots call for participation in GBIF by sharing open data through their institutions in anticipation of formal participation in GBIF. In response, the GBIF network—both the Secretariat and national nodes in neighbouring countries—has increased its engagement of relevant national ministries while sharing professional expertise and providing cross-border seed funding to project teams in the region.
Data mobilization in European Russia
Starting in 2018, FinBIF, the GBIF national node for Finland, has provided two rounds of funding directed toward data mobilization in European Russia (see ‘Projects’ tab above).
This programme has supported projects in Russia west of the Ural mountains that both mobilize biodiversity data in European Russia for publication through GBIF.org and promote national training and capacity-building activities around data publishing.
BioDATA: Biodiversity data management skills for students
BioDATA is an international higher-education collaboration aimed at developing students’ skills in biodiversity data management and data publishing.
Coordinated by the University of Oslo (host institution of GBIF Norway), BioDATA receives funding from the Norwegian Agency for International Cooperation and Quality Enhancement in Higher Education (DIKU) and support and training materials from the GBIF Secretariat. The programme enables university students in Belarus, Tajikistan, Armenia and Ukraine to participate in intensive training courses that provide practical skills related to international research data infrastructures, international data standards and preparation and publication of biodiversity data (see these and other regional events in the ‘Events’ tab above).