APEC Open Science Webinar & The 2020 APEC Science Prize For Innovation, Research & Education (ASPIRE)

The Academy of Science Malaysia (ASM), together with the Ministry of Science Technology and Innovation Malaysia (MOSTI) and the International Science Council-Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (ISC ROAP) is pleased to invite you to the APEC Policy Sharing Webinar on Open Science & The 2020 ASPIRE Award Ceremony. The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered the need for sharing of data and information at an unprecedented scale which can be fulfilled by the paradigm of Open Science. Open Science represents a new approach to the scientific process based on cooperative work and new ways of disseminating knowledge by using digital technologies and new collaborative tools to address global challenges. The Webinar is aimed to build a community of purpose that works together to identify platform governance measures and technical know-how; and serves as a medium to share best practices in APEC economies and international policies for platform governance. An APEC PPSTI Statement on Open Science will be developed during the Webinar to promote engagement and knowledge sharing among APEC Economies through Open Science. In conjunction with APEC 2020, The Webinar will also feature the award ceremony of 2020 APEC Science Prize for Innovation, Research and Education (ASPIRE). It is an annual award which recognizes young scientists who have demonstrated a commitment to excellence in scientific research. The theme for this year is Biodiversity for a Prosperous Economy.

Access to scientific literature by the conservation community [PeerJ]

Abstract:  Access to the scientific literature is perceived to be a challenge to the biodiversity conservation community, but actual level of literature access relative to needs has never been assessed globally. We examined this question by surveying the constituency of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as a proxy for the conservation community, generating 2,285 responses. Of these respondents, ?97% need to use the scientific literature in order to support their IUCN-related conservation work, with ?50% needing to do so at least once per week. The crux of the survey revolved around the question, “How easy is it for you currently to obtain the scientific literature you need to carry out your IUCN-related work?” and revealed that roughly half (49%) of the respondents find it not easy or not at all easy to access scientific literature. We fitted a binary logistic regression model to explore factors predicting ease of literature access. Whether the respondent had institutional literature access (55% do) is the strongest predictor, with region (Western Europe, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand) and sex (male) also significant predictors. Approximately 60% of respondents from Western Europe, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand have institutional access compared to ?50% in Asia and Latin America, and ?40% in Eastern Europe and in Africa. Nevertheless, accessing free online material is a popular means of accessing literature for both those with and without institutional access. The four journals most frequently mentioned when asked which journal access would deliver the greatest improvements to the respondent’s IUCN-related work were Conservation Biology, Biological Conservation, Nature, and Science. The majority prefer to read journal articles on screen but books in hard copy. Overall, it is apparent that access to the literature is a challenge facing roughly half of the conservation community worldwide.

 

Biologer: an open platform for collecting biodiversity data

Abstract:  Background

We have developed a new platform named “Biologer” intended for recording species observations in the field (but also from literature resources and collections). The platform is created as user-friendly, open source, multilingual software that is compatible with Darwin Core standard and accompanied by a simple Android application. It is made from the user’s perspective, allowing everyone to choose how they share the data. Project team members are delegated by involved organisations. The team is responsible for development of the platform, while local Biologer communities are engaged in data collection and verification.

New information

Biologer has been online and available for use in Serbia since 2018 and was soon adopted in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. In total, we have assembled 536 users, who have collected 163,843 species observation records data from the field and digitalised 33,458 literature records. The number of active users and their records is growing daily. Out of the total number of gathered data, 89% has been made open access by the users, 10% is accessible on the scale of 10×10 km and only 1% is closed. In the future, we plan to provide a taxonomic data portal that could be used by local and national initiatives in Eastern Europe, aggregate all data into a single web location, create detailed data overview and enable fluent communication between users.

Biologer: an open platform for collecting biodiversity data

Abstract:  Background

We have developed a new platform named “Biologer” intended for recording species observations in the field (but also from literature resources and collections). The platform is created as user-friendly, open source, multilingual software that is compatible with Darwin Core standard and accompanied by a simple Android application. It is made from the user’s perspective, allowing everyone to choose how they share the data. Project team members are delegated by involved organisations. The team is responsible for development of the platform, while local Biologer communities are engaged in data collection and verification.

New information

Biologer has been online and available for use in Serbia since 2018 and was soon adopted in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. In total, we have assembled 536 users, who have collected 163,843 species observation records data from the field and digitalised 33,458 literature records. The number of active users and their records is growing daily. Out of the total number of gathered data, 89% has been made open access by the users, 10% is accessible on the scale of 10×10 km and only 1% is closed. In the future, we plan to provide a taxonomic data portal that could be used by local and national initiatives in Eastern Europe, aggregate all data into a single web location, create detailed data overview and enable fluent communication between users.

iNaturalist – SciStarter

“iNaturalist is a place where you can record what you see in nature, meet other nature lovers, and learn about the natural world. It is also a crowdsourced species identification system and an organism occurrence recording tool. You can use it to record your own observations, get help with identifications, collaborate with others to collect this kind of information for a common purpose, or access the observational data collected by iNaturalist users.

From hikers to hunters, birders to beach-combers, the world is filled with naturalists, and many of us record what we find. What if all those observations could be shared online? You might discover someone who finds beautiful wildflowers at your favorite birding spot, or learn about the birds you see on the way to work. If enough people recorded their observations, it would be like a living record of life on Earth that scientists and land managers could use to monitor changes in biodiversity, and that anyone could use to learn more about nature.

That’s the vision behind iNaturalist.org. So if you like recording your findings from the outdoors, or if you just like learning about life, join us!”

Plazi and Pensoft join forces to let biodiversity knowledge of coronaviruses hosts out | EurekAlert! Science News

“Pensoft’s flagship journal ZooKeys invites free-to-publish research on key biological traits of SARS-like viruses potential hosts and vectors; Plazi harvests and brings together all relevant data from legacy literature to a reliable FAIR-data repository.”

Access to Scientific Literature by the Conservation Community | bioRxiv

AbsAccess to the scientific literature is perceived to be a challenge to the biodiversity conservation community, but actual level of literature access relative to needs has never been assessed globally. We examined this question by surveying the constituency of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as a proxy for the conservation community, generating 2,285 responses. Of these respondents, ~97% need to use the scientific literature in order to support their IUCN-related conservation work, with ~50% needing to do so at least once per week. The crux of the survey revolved around the question, “How easy is it for you currently to obtain the scientific literature you need to carry out your IUCN-related work?” and revealed that roughly half (49%) of the respondents find it not easy or not at all easy to access scientific literature. We fitted a binary logistic regression model to explore factors predicting ease of literature access. Whether the respondent had institutional literature access (55% do) is the strongest predictor, with region (Western Europe, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand) and gender (male) also significant predictors. Approximately 60% of respondents from Western Europe, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand have institutional access compared to ~50% in Asia and Latin America, and ~40% in Eastern Europe and in Africa. Nevertheless, accessing free online material is a popular means of accessing literature for both those with and without institutional access. The four journals most frequently mentioned when asked which journal access would deliver the greatest improvements to the respondent’s IUCN-related work were Conservation Biology, Biological Conservation, Nature, and Science. The majority prefer to read journal articles on screen but prefer to read books in hard copy. Overall, it is apparent that access to the literature is a challenge facing roughly half of the conservation community worldwide.

 

Access to Scientific Literature by the Conservation Community | bioRxiv

AbsAccess to the scientific literature is perceived to be a challenge to the biodiversity conservation community, but actual level of literature access relative to needs has never been assessed globally. We examined this question by surveying the constituency of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as a proxy for the conservation community, generating 2,285 responses. Of these respondents, ~97% need to use the scientific literature in order to support their IUCN-related conservation work, with ~50% needing to do so at least once per week. The crux of the survey revolved around the question, “How easy is it for you currently to obtain the scientific literature you need to carry out your IUCN-related work?” and revealed that roughly half (49%) of the respondents find it not easy or not at all easy to access scientific literature. We fitted a binary logistic regression model to explore factors predicting ease of literature access. Whether the respondent had institutional literature access (55% do) is the strongest predictor, with region (Western Europe, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand) and gender (male) also significant predictors. Approximately 60% of respondents from Western Europe, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand have institutional access compared to ~50% in Asia and Latin America, and ~40% in Eastern Europe and in Africa. Nevertheless, accessing free online material is a popular means of accessing literature for both those with and without institutional access. The four journals most frequently mentioned when asked which journal access would deliver the greatest improvements to the respondent’s IUCN-related work were Conservation Biology, Biological Conservation, Nature, and Science. The majority prefer to read journal articles on screen but prefer to read books in hard copy. Overall, it is apparent that access to the literature is a challenge facing roughly half of the conservation community worldwide.

 

The power, potential, and pitfalls of open access biodiversity data in range size assessments: Lessons from the fishes

Abstract:  Geographic rarity is a driver of a species’ intrinsic risk of extinction. It encompasses multiple key components including range size, which is one of the most commonly measured estimates of geographic rarity. Range size estimates are often used to prioritize conservation efforts when there are multiple candidate species, because data for other components of rarity such as population size are sparse, or do not exist for species of interest. Range size estimates can provide rankings of species vulnerability to changing environments or threats, identifying rare species for future study or conservation initiatives. However, range sizes can be estimated by several different metrics, and the degree of overlap in the identification of the rarest or most common species across methodologies is not well understood. This knowledge gap compromises our ability to prioritize correctly rare species, and presents a particularly difficult challenge for stream-dwelling organisms with distributions constrained to river networks. We evaluated the relationship of multiple range size estimates of a subset of freshwater fishes native to the United States to determine the degree of overlap in rarity rankings using different data sources and grain sizes. We used publicly available, open access data from the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) to calculate extent of occurrence (minimum convex polygons) and area of occupancy (total area occupied, measured across various grain sizes). We compared range sizes estimated using GBIF data with the best available estimates of current distributions described by publicly available digital maps (NatureServe) to evaluate the efficacy of GBIF data in assessments of range size. We found strong correlations between range size estimates across analytical approaches and data sources with no detectable bias of taxonomy. We found that variation among rarity rankings was highest for species with intermediate range sizes indicating that the approaches considered here generally converge when used to identify the rarest or the most common species. Importantly, our results show that the rarest, and perhaps the most vulnerable, species are consistently identified across common methodological approaches. More broadly, our results support the use of open access biodiversity data that include opportunistically collated and collected point occurrence records as a complement to coarse-grain (e.g., whole range map) approaches, as we observed no systematic bias or deviation across data sources in our analyses. This indicates databases such as the GBIF may help fill important fundamental and applied knowledge gaps for many poorly understood species, particularly in a broad-scale, multispecies framework.

 

Biodiversidata: an open-access biodiversity database for Uruguay – IRep – Nottingham Trent University

Abstract

Background

The continental and marine territories of Uruguay are characterised by a rich convergence of multiple biogeographic ecoregions of the Neotropics, making this country a peculiar biodiversity spot. However, despite the biological significance of Uruguay for the South American subcontinent, the distribution of biodiversity patterns in this country remain poorly understood, given the severe gaps in available records of geographic species distributions. Currently, national biodiversity datasets are not openly available and, thus, a dominant proportion of the primary biodiversity data produced by researchers and institutions across Uruguay remains highly dispersed and difficult to access for the wider scientific and environmental community. In this paper, we aim to fill this gap by developing the first comprehensive, open-access database of biodiversity records for Uruguay (Biodiversidata), which is the result of a large-scale collaboration involving experts working across the entire range of taxonomic diversity found in the country. 

New information

As part of the first phase of Biodiversidata, we here present a comprehensive database of tetrapod occurrence records native from Uruguay, with the latest taxonomic updates. The database provides primary biodiversity data on extant Amphibia, Reptilia, Aves and Mammalia species recorded within the country. The total number of records collated is 69,380, spanning 673 species and it is available at the Zenodo repository: https:// doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.2650169. This is the largest and most geographically and taxonomically comprehensive database of Uruguayan tetrapod species available to date and it represents the first open repository for the country.