Little more than decade back biodiversity data publishing was opportunistic and secondary spin-off activity of the biodiversity research and conservation management chain. Today, the Global Biodiversity Information Facility facilitate free and open access to over 420 million primary biodiversity data records contributed by publishers across the globe. This is an outcome of a growing realization that free and open access to biodiversity data is crucial to take informed decisions and actions for sustainable use of biotic resources and conservation of biodiversity areas. In recent past use of biodiversity data in research, conservation and management activities is on rise. However, users often complain about the low degree of ‘fitness-for-use’ of the accessible data. Most of the times potential use of data is hampered because of lack of adequate metadata, that can demonstrate the fintness-for-use of a given dataset.
To overcome this an appropriate incentivisation mechanism is essential, that can provide due credit and acknowledgement to a research groups for their efforts in authoring good metadata. In recent past a concept of ‘scholarly data publishing’ is being talked about where in both data and metadata undergo peer-review similar to other scientific publications. Pensoft publishing has launched a fresh data only journal called ‘Biodiversity Data Journal, and accepts data papers in six of its other journal titles. European aquatic biodiversity community through EU funded project ‘BioFresh’ has engaged with editors of 29 aquatic biodiversity journals to being accepting data papers. GBIF node in Columbia and South Africa are planning to kick start a journal that will publish data papers. Recently, Nature Publishing Group has announced a peer-reviewed data publishing only journal called ‘Scientific Data’. These developments announce the arrival of the new data publishing era ‘Scholarly Data Publishing’. Biodiversity science and biodiversity informatics stands to gain a lot by being on the forefront of this tide.
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