S6.1 How SYNTHESYS+ and DiSSCo power up access to collections


Mr Wouter Addink1, Mrs Helen Hardy2, Mr Dimitris Koureas1, Mr Vince Smith2

1Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Leiden, Netherlands, 2Natural History Museum, London, UK


The world is facing a series of critical global challenges with environmental issues and biodiversity loss amongst the most urgent. Natural history collections have an essential role to play in the scientific research needed to address these issues but this is only possible if physical and digital access to these specimens and their data are drastically improved.

SYNTHESYS+ has an innovative Virtual and Physical Access programme, providing funding for researchers to request the digitisation on demand of selected collections, plus a consolidated Transnational Access programme to enhance physical access to the collections held by its European partners. Since this is not enough to drastically improve access, SYNTHESYS+ includes a Joint Research Activity to create a European Loans and Visits System (ELViS). This common gateway to European Collections, will become a first e-service in the Distributed System of Scientific Collections, a new world-class Research Infrastructure (RI) for natural science collections.

The DiSSCo RI is working toward the digital unification of all European natural science assets under common curation and access policies and practices that aim to make the data easily Findable, more Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable (FAIR). As such, DiSSCo enables the transformation of a fragmented landscape of the natural science collections into an integrated knowledge base that provides interconnected hard evidence on the natural world.

ELViS, is a one-stop shop for open access to digitised and non-digitised collections in Europe, built to serve real user stories that were supplied by researchers and collection managers. It leverages from authoritative sources like CETAF passports, Index Herbariorum, DataCite and ORCID as well as new developments in access provision and collection description.

The Symposium will discuss how this will power-up access to natural science collections, what this means for collection managers and researchers, and will show early results of the related developments in SYNTHESYS+.

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