PARTNERING UP FOR DISTRIBUTED OPEN ACCESS TO BELGIAN COLLECTIONS
CETAF is proud to announce that on December 8th 2016, the project proposal “NaturalHeritage.be” for Belgian natural science collections was greenlighted for funding by BRAIN-be, the Belgian Research Action Through Interdisciplinary Networks of the Federal Science Policy Office.
Approved for funding out of a pool of 171 submitted proposals, the NaturalHeritage.be project seeks to set up an open source system for distributed digital access to Belgian natural history collections. The development of a new architecture for data sharing and access became necessary after the recent ratification of the Nagoya Protocol by the EU members and its implementation, as well as the impact of other European protocols related to access to public data (INSPIRE, Open Data, Open Science) making interoperability between different data sources necessary.
The three collection partners of the proposal, the CETAF members Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (RBINS, coordinator), Royal Museum of Central Africa (RMCA) and Botanical Garden of Meise (BGM), will thus develop a new interoperable database system and portal for Belgian natural history collections based on the current structure being used at RBINS and RMCA in which modules from different natural science disciplines are interconnected.
CETAF already works towards the normalization of data and metadata in Natural Sciences databases as well as the implementation of unique identifiers for collection specimens and will continue to do so as vital partner of this project. Furthermore, several European Natural History Institutions are currently working on a proposal for the upcoming ESFRI Roadmap extension in 2018. This initiative, called DiSSCo (Distributed System of Scientific Collections), is a long-term project aiming to ensure open access to European natural history collections thereby broadening the user community and finding innovative solutions through the use of natural science related data. As partner of NaturalHeritage.be CETAF will be the interface between the project and the other European institutions active in the domain.