Plazi opened an office in Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, early November. The office, with four staff managed by Marcus Guidoti, is focusing on liberating data from South American taxonomic publications or publications covering South American biodiversity.
The goal of Plazi’s presence in Brazil is to use local expertise to liberate data, from the rich corpus of South American biodiversity-focused publications also in languages other than English, thereby contributing to knowledge transfer to the Global South. Ultimately, Plazi aims to extract a substantial amount of data trapped in PDFs and make them open access for anyone, from everywhere, at any time, citable and reusable.
The South American biodiversity is one of the richest in the world. All of its description is located in the data in scientific publications that are not readily accessible. This includes the entire catalogue of life and data about each of the species used to diagnose a new species or later to augment it with new knowledge. Increasingly, this includes embedded links to digital museum specimens and DNA sequences.
Together with the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), Plazi developed a workflow allowing to find, extract, annotate this data from scholarly publications and make it directly accessible from within GBIF. This includes more than 45,000 descriptions of new species, that can be made accessible on the day of their publication.
Besides liberating data, the Porto Alegre-office will develop a training curriculum and train local scientists to make use of this novel technology, and will also run training courses. The inaugural training course is planned at the XXXIII Congresso Brasileiro de Zoologia, March 2-6, 2020 in Águas de Lindõa, SP,Brazil.
Plazi hopes to collaborate with GBIF Brazil, the newest member of the GBIF network to contribute towards rebuilding a virtual National Museum of Rio de Janeiro (MNRJ) and support local scientists to gain better access to biodiversity data.
This project is supported in part by a generous grant from the Arcadia Fund. Plazi is currently active in Switzerland, France, Germany, Bulgaria, Spain, the USA, and now Brazil.
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