|Triebel, D; Hagedorn, G; Rambold, G: An appraisal of megascience platforms for biodiversity information, MycoKeys, 5, 45–63 (2012), doi:10.3897/mycokeys.5.4302|
The megascience platforms Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL), Catalogue of Life (CoL), Encyclopedia of Life (EOL), Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), International Barcode of Life (iBOL), International Nucleotide Sequence Database Collaboration (INSDC) and JSTOR Plant Science, all belong to a group of global players that harvest, process, repurpose and provide biodiversity data on all kinds of organisms. Each of these platforms primarily focus on one data domain, for instance, taxonomy and classification, occurrence, morphology, ecology, and molecular data. The present contribution describes aspects of processing and provision of biological research data on these platforms, focusing on the technical implementation of data exchange, copyright issues, and data sharing policies as well as their implications for data custodians, owners, providers, and publishers. With the exception of JSTOR Plant Science, most international initiatives seek long-term business models and funding mechanisms to provide online data openly and free of charge. For example, currently GBIF depends on governmental commitments for its funding, and CoL is financed by EU or national grants, as well as being based on Species 2000, a British non-for-profit company, and ITIS. These business models are compared with that of JSTOR Plant Science, the commercial portal of the Global Plant Initiative (GPI). All initiatives currently meet challenges of sustainability with regard to data curation as well as software development for maintaining the complexity of their services. All platforms discussed here also harvest and provide mycological and lichenological research data.