Research applications of primary biodiversity databases in the digital age
Keywords: 
Biocollections
Biodiversity databases
Primary biodiversity databases
Issue Date: 
2019
ISSN: 
1932-6203
Note: 
This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License.
Citation: 
Guralnick, R. (R.P.); Ariño-Plana, A. (Arturo Hugo); LaFrance, R. (R.); et al. "Research applications of primary biodiversity databases in the digital age". Plos one. 14 (9), 2019, e0215794
Abstract
Our world is in the midst of unprecedented change-climate shifts and sustained, widespread habitat degradation have led to dramatic declines in biodiversity rivaling historical extinction events. At the same time, new approaches to publishing and integrating previously disconnected data resources promise to help provide the evidence needed for more efficient and effective conservation and management. Stakeholders have invested considerable resources to contribute to online databases of species occurrences. However, estimates suggest that only 10% of biocollections are available in digital form. The biocollections community must therefore continue to promote digitization efforts, which in part requires demonstrating compelling applications of the data. Our overarching goal is therefore to determine trends in use of mobilized species occurrence data since 2010, as online systems have grown and now provide over one billion records. To do this, we characterized 501 papers that use openly accessible biodiversity databases. Our standardized tagging protocol was based on key topics of interest, including: database(s) used, taxa addressed, general uses of data, other data types linked to species occurrence data, and data quality issues addressed.

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