The tool, developed by GBIF in partnership with academic publishers Pensoft, creates so-called "Data Papers" from descriptions of datasets (metadata) involving species observations, specimen collections and other biodiversity data.
An additional function incorporated into the latest version of GBIF's Integrated Publishing Toolkit (IPT 2.0.2) automatically generates a manuscript from metadata giving key information about a dataset accessible via the GBIF data portal.
The manuscript can then be submitted to a scientific journal for peer review and possible publication. As well as providing potential benefits to the metadata publisher through citations of the article, the system will alert scientists and other users to the availability of "fit for use" biodiversity data resources.
In the initial phase of the project, custodians and developers of biodiversity data are invited to submit Data Papers to one of four Pensoft journals: PhytoKeys, ZooKeys, BioRisk and NeoBiota. Two new publications, Biodiversity Data Journal and Nature Conservation, will also shortly be accepting Data Paper manuscripts.
Instructions to authors wishing to submit Data Papers based on metadata entered via GBIF's IPT can be found in guidelines (pdf, 1MB) on data publishing issued by Pensoft.
The co-author of the guidelines, Dr. Lyubomir Penev of Pensoft, said: "The Data Paper is an evolutionary step in ensuring discovery and access of biodiversity data resources over the Internet.
"There is a widespread conviction that data produced using public funds should be regarded as a common good, and should be openly published and made available for inspection, interpretation and re-use by third parties. Data Papers will encourage this", adds Dr. Penev.
GBIF's Senior Programme Officer for Data Publishing, Dr. Vishwas Chavan, said the Data Paper concept would help in the mission to create free and open access to the world's biodiversity data. "It will place publication of biodiversity data further into the mainstream by putting it on a par with scholarly publishing," said Dr. Chavan.
Part of the work on the Data Paper project was carried out within the European Union's Virtual Biodiversity Research and Access Network initiative (ViBRANT).