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Freshwater Journals Unite to Boost Primary Biodiversity Data Publication

June 26, 2012

The latest issue of BioScience carries a viewpoint letter from the Biofresh data management ‘team’ announcing an exciting new initiative to encourage the publication of the data analyzed and reported in scientific papers. As a result of Biofresh efforts, 17 journals publishing on Freshwater Biodiversity have agreed to include in their guidelines for authors the statement that “Authors are encouraged to place all species distribution records in a publicly accessible database such as the national Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) nodes or data centers endorsed by GBIF, including BioFresh“.

Lead author Aaike De Wever, data manager of the Biofresh project explains the significance and origins of this initiative:

“One of the major goals of BioFresh is to make freshwater biodiversity data open and freely available. This will allow broader-scale analyses that will open new frontiers in freshwater science to support enhanced freshwater biodiversity policy and management. As data publishing practices are not yet well established in the freshwater community, we are trying to convince scientists to make their data available through various means. This includes the promotion of data papers, and engaging with funding agencies and scientific journals to encourage data publication.

Last year, during the Seventh Symposium for European Freshwater Science (SEFS7) in Girona, we had the opportunity to convene editors from 12 scientific freshwater journals to explore their role in biodiversity data mobilization. During this meeting we stressed the need to bring primary biodiversity data on where, when, how and by whom species have been observed or collected available to other scientists and discussed the role of journals to encourage data publication or submission. Subsequently editors and publishers of the represented journals as well as a number of additional journals approved inclusion of a statement in their author guidelines (above) encouraging data publication”.

The participating journals are Aquatic Botany, Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, Aquatic Ecology, Aquatic Sciences, Ecology of Freshwater Fish, Freshwater Biology, Freshwater Reviews, Fundamental and Applied Limnology, Hydrobiologia, Inland Waters, International Review of Hydrobiology, Freshwater Science (formerly, Journal of the North American Benthological Society), Journal of Fish Biology, Journal of Limnology, Journal of Plankton Research, Limnetica, Limnologica, Marine and Freshwater Research, and River Systems.

In contrast to other initiatives on making data publicly available, BioFresh is specifically targeting primary biodiversity data, which is limited to a standard set of fields, much like the format of GenBank, allowing direct integration in large-scale datasets. Detailed instructions on how to submit data can be found at this link.

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