Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Monday, September 01, 2008

Attracting data to OA databases

Risto Kalliola and three co-authors, Open access to information bridges science and development in Amazonia: lessons of the SIAMAZONIA service, Environmental Research Letters, August 7, 2008.

Abstract:   Access to and availability of accurate information has often been stated to play an important role in sustainable environmental management. There is a growing trend of setting up internet-based information services to support the availability of relevant information. The current initiatives that aim to facilitate such information sharing through the web are still, however, often premature and unable to ensure constant flow of data from producers to users. We examine these common challenges by using as an example a network-based facility of biodiversity and environmental information about the Peruvian Amazon region called SIAMAZONIA. Launched in 2001, the service includes data provided by 13 different nodes. The experiences of this initiative have been both encouraging and confusing. A good professional level has been reached, but participation by large information holders is impeded. Participation is obviously considered an additional task rather than an attractive option for enhanced performance at the individual or institutional levels. This dilemma reflects a genuine problem in the modern scientific community, which still lacks agreed ways to reward those who share their data and results through the web. If these problems are solved, internet-based information sharing may become a vital resource for environmental management in Amazonia and also elsewhere.