Biodiversity Science ›› 2014, Vol. 22 ›› Issue (3): 293-301.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1003.2014.13269

Special Issue: Community Structure and Patterns of Tropical and Subtropical Forest in China

• Orginal Article • Previous Article     Next Article

Sharing and publishing of biodiversity data: recent trends and future suggestions

Xiaolei Huang*(), Gexia Qiao*()   

  1. Key Laboratory of Zoological Systematics and Evolution, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101
  • Received:2013-12-30 Accepted:2014-05-12 Online:2014-06-04
  • Huang Xiaolei,Qiao Gexia;

Biodiversity research, conservation practices, natural resource management, and scientific decision-making increasingly depend on the sharing and integration of large amounts of primary data. In recent years, there has been an appeal increased sharing of biodiversity data, however, many scientists actively or passively resist sharing data. Some major cultural and technological obstacles exist among scientists, such as keeping data private to conduct other analyses, conflicts of interests with colleagues, lack of benefits, unfamiliarity with public databases, lack of user-friendly data submission tools, and lack of time and funding. One solution to improve the culture of data sharing is to provide benefits to scientists who share data (e.g. data citations). Recently, some organizations and scientists have advocated data publishing under peer review as a reward mechanism for individuals involved in data creation, management and sharing, and as a way to effectively increase the use and reuse of data. New data journals have been launched to fulfill the function of publishing data. In fact, besides the advocate of scholarly publication of data, an improved joint data archiving policy by databases and scientific journals may be more practically feasible to improve data sharing in a broader sense. In this article we review recent progress in data sharing and publishing and discuss to what extent data papers can boost data sharing and how to define ‘data sharing’ and ‘data publishing’. We also provide suggestions for improving data sharing by individual scientists, data repositories, journals, and funding agencies/institutions.

Key words: data publishing, data paper, data journal, science policy, science reproducibility, ecology, environmental conservation

Fig. 1

A sketch of the data sharing flow, including main participants and determining factors in data sharing. Funding agency spans each stage of the data flow."

Fig. 2

Improved joint data archiving policy for biodiversity databases and scientific journals"

Fig. 3

The conceptual relationship between ‘data sharing’ and ‘data publishing’. Data sharing includes data sharing without publishing (e.g. E-mail, removable disk) and data sharing through publishing (public database, data journal, personal website), i.e., data publishing."

Table 1

Some popular data repositories archiving biodiversity data. More repositories refer to Databib ("

Data repository
Data type and notes
Citable object
DNA序列; 标准格式
DNA sequences; standard format
Accession number
Barcode of Life Database (BOLD)
DNA条形码及相关数据; 标准格式
DNA barcodes; standard format
Accession number
Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) 物种分布数据; 标准格式
Species occurrence data; standard format

Phylogenetic trees and related data

生态进化出版物相关数据; 无标准格式
Ecology & evolution data associated with publications; no standard format
任何类型的数据; 无标准格式
Any type of data; no standard format
China National Specimen Information Infrastructure
Specimen data

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