Copenhagen, Denmark - GBIF has published its annual report for 2011, ten years after it was created as an intergovernmental initiative to facilitate universal access to data about life on Earth.
The report compares current achievements with the original aims of the body recommended by a science panel of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in 1999.
A particular emphasis of this year's report is the growing use of the data mobilized by GBIF's global network of participant countries and organizations, in a wide range of peer-reviewed scientific studies.
Among the achievements and milestones listed for 2011 are:
- GBIF was cited as the source of data for more than 200 peer-reviewed scientific papers in 2011, advancing knowledge of the impacts of climate change on biodiversity, spread of invasive alien species and agricultural pests, and links between biodiversity and human health, among other research areas.
- The volume of data made accessible online through GBIF continued to grow, passing 300 million individual records.
- New incentives for publishing biodiversity data were created with the introduction of the 'data paper' describing datasets in a peer-reviewed scholarly journal.
- A new software package (IPT v2) made it simpler to publish data through GBIF, lowering the technical threshold for holders of datasets to make them globally accessible.
- Improvements in processing and organization of species names led to better performance for users of the GBIF Data Portal.
- Regional training events supported from core GBIF funds involved 179 people from 25 countries.
- Mentoring grants and capacity enhancement projects enabled the publication of several biodiversity datasets, portals and decision-making tools in African countries.
- GBIF collaborated with partners to improve the information available to policy-makers on invasive alien species, under a new joint work programme for the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
- GBIF improved its technical collaboration with the Encyclopedia of Life (EoL), enabling more streamlined publishing and integrated data visualization between the two initiatives.
- A new GBIF Online Resource Centre provided a searchable repository for manuals and other documents useful for the whole biodiversity publishing community.
Introducing the annual report in a joint foreword, GBIF's Governing Board Chair Joanne Daly and Executive Secretary Donald Hobern comment: "This report shows how much has been achieved, and reminds us how the entire field of biodiversity informatics has been transformed over the last decade.
"GBIF has successfully established an effective global data-publishing network and by the close of 2011 GBIF was mobilizing more than 300 million records documenting the distribution of the world's biodiversity.
"This is evidence of the work of countless scientists and amateurs collecting specimens and recording their observations, but it also demonstrates the commitment of GBIF's Participants around the world to presenting this information in the digital forms needed to support 21st century science and policy."
The GBIF Annual Report 2011 is available online at http://links.
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Notes to editors:
The Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) was established by governments in 2001 to encourage free and open access to biodiversity data, via the Internet. Through a global network of 57 countries and 47 organizations, GBIF promotes and facilitates the mobilization, access, discovery and use of information about the occurrence of organisms over time and across the planet.