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Managing manifold data – the example of biodiversity research

Feat. Barbara Ebert of the German Federation for Biological Data | 4 April 2023

Research on plant and animal biodiversity faces a technical challenge: data collections generated observing nature and in the environmental or life sciences are huge and constantly growing. However, data types and data sets differ greatly, depending on the research field and practical circumstances. For biodiversity research, however, heterogeneous knowledge must be consolidated and also shared – to solve ecological problems, one needs the large pictures. In concrete terms, the challenge can be described as: How to extract as much data as possible from countless spreadsheets, handwritten documentation, satellite images, living organisms or dried plants, so that researchers can access this resource conveniently via an online portal? One thing is clear: this is a mammoth task. And in addition to technical challenges, there are problems of data law and science policy to solve.

Dr Barbara Ebert is the managing director of the German Federation for Biological Data. She coordinates the development of a platform for research data on biodiversity research in the “NFDI4Biodiversity” project of the German National Research Data Infrastructure (NFDI). In this episode of Digitalgespräch, the biologist and data management expert explains the hurdles that have to be overcome and describes the sources from which data come together, what they are collected for and how they become usable for further research. With hosts Marlene Görger and Petra Gehring, Ebert discusses where negotiation processes take place, which needs are prioritised and whose interests must be taken into account.

Episode 35 of Digitalgespräch, feat. Barbara Ebert of the German Federation for Biological Data, 4 April 2023
Further informationen:

Link to the data management portal of the German Federation for Biological Data:

Link to the website of the “NFDI4Biodiversity” project of the German National Research Data Infrastructure (NFDI):

Link to a presentation on the compilation of data for the Red List of fish species:

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The podcast is in German. At the moment there is no English version or transcript available.