In this project, GBIF Norway will support and mentor the Tajikistan node and kick-start the data publication process in country, which despite significant biodiversity data holdings, has yet to lead to any biodiversity data shared through GBIF.
The initial focus of the project will be the Herbarium Fund of the Institute of Botany, Plant Physiology and Genetics at the Tajikistan National Academy of Sciences with more than 200,000 specimens—some almost 150 years old.
This collection includes 28,000 ferns, 15,000 lichens, and more than 15,000 algae, common in the Pamir-Alai mountain system of Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. Of these, the aim of the project is to mobilize and publish 10,000 occurrence records to GBIF.
In addition, the project partners will will prioritize the digitization and publication of 340 plant type specimens.
The knowledge and experience gained throughout the project will help build capacity leading to increased data publication activity in the future for Tajikistan and Central Asia.
The project began with finding its main partners from GBIF Norway, and the local institutions and universities who would publish data within the framework of the project and into the future.
Then in September 2022, to increase awareness of the data publication process in Tajikistan, and data publication support capacity at the Tajik GBIF Node, the project team held the training workshop on digitization, combined with a training workshop on data publication, "Kick starting the biodiversity data publication process for Tajikistan". Targeted at specialists of TNAS, specialists and teachers and students of TNU, TPU and Khatlon Scientific Center TNAS, a total almost 30 specialists from local partners attended, as well mentors and specialists in the field creation data base, data management, scientific research from University of Oslo and the GBIF Node manager for Uzbekistan.
Other achievements by the project team by midterm reporting included:
- Registering all project partners as a publisher organizations in GBIF and each obtaining a ROR ID and Wikidata code;
- Creating of a step-by-step guide how to digitize and publish data in GBIF using https://tajik.ipt.gbif.no/; and
- Publishing approx. 11,100 occurrences which was collected in a BRAHMS database (see dataset on GBIF.org here).
Project information is being shared with the project stakeholders and the broader GBIF community; locally through the project lead’s institutional website, available in three languages (Tajiki, Russian and English), this has included an article about the training workshop held in September 2022, partners too are using other official websites and social media.
The project team has regularly kept in contact via virtual means to monitor project progress. Locally, the project lead has also provided onsite support to universities and students with lectures and guidance on how to publish data in GBIF using the IPT cloud.