Liberating Biodiversity Data From COVID-19 Lockdown: Toward a knowledge hub for mammal host-virus information
A deep irony of COVID-19 likely originating from a bat-borne coronavirus (Boni et al. 2020) is that the global lockdown to quell the pandemic also locked up physical access to much basic knowledge regarding bat biology. Digital access to data on the ecology, geography, and taxonomy of potential viral reservoirs, from Southeast Asian horseshoe bats and pangolins to North American deer mice, was suddenly critical for understanding the disease's emergence and spread. However, much of this information lay inside rare books and personal files rather than as open, linked, and queryable resources on the internet. Even the world's experts on mammal taxonomy and zoonotic disease could not retrieve their data from shuttered laboratories. We were caught unprepared. Why, in this digitally connected age, were such fundamental data describing life on Earth not already freely accessible online?
Biodiversity Information Science and Standards
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Upham, Nathan S.; Agosti, Donat; Poelen, Jorrit H.; Penev, Lyubomir; Paul, Deborah; Reeder, DeeAnn; Simmons, Nancy B.; Csorba, Gabor; Groom, Quentin J.; Dimitrova, Mariya; and Miller, Joseph T.. "Liberating Biodiversity Data From COVID-19 Lockdown: Toward a knowledge hub for mammal host-virus information." (2020) : e59199.