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Open Science principles for accelerating trait-based science across the Tree of Life


Gallagher, RV and Falster, DS and Maitner, BS and Salguero-Gomez, R and Vandvik, V and Pearse, WD and Schneider, FD and Kattge, J and Poelen, JH and Madin, JS and Ankenbrand, MJ and Penone, C and Feng, X and Adams, VM and Alroy, J and Andrew, SC and Balk, MA and Bland, LM and Boyle, BL and Bravo-Avila, CH and Brennan, I and Carthey, AJR and Catullo, R and Cavazos, BR and Conde, DA and Chown, SL and Fadrique, B and Gibb, H and Halbritter, AH and Hammock, J and Hogan, JA and Holewa, H and Hope, M and Iversen, CM and Jochum, M and Kearney, M and Keller, A and Mabee, P and Manning, P and McCormack, L and Michaletz, ST and Park, DS and Perez, TM and Pineda-Munoz, S and Ray, CA and Rossetto, M and Sauquet, H and Sparrow, B and Spasojevic, MJ and Telford, RJ and Tobias, JA and Violle, C and Walls, R and Weiss, KCB and Westoby, M and Wright, IJ and Enquist, BJ, Open Science principles for accelerating trait-based science across the Tree of Life, Nature Ecology and Evolution, 4, (3) pp. 294-303. ISSN 2397-334X (2020) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2020 Springer Nature Limited

DOI: doi:10.1038/s41559-020-1109-6


Synthesizing trait observations and knowledge across the Tree of Life remains a grand challenge for biodiversity science. Species traits are widely used in ecological and evolutionary science, and new data and methods have proliferated rapidly. Yet accessing and integrating disparate data sources remains a considerable challenge, slowing progress toward a global synthesis to integrate trait data across organisms. Trait science needs a vision for achieving global integration across all organisms. Here, we outline how the adoption of key Open Science principles - open data, open source and open methods - is transforming trait science, increasing transparency, democratizing access and accelerating global synthesis. To enhance widespread adoption of these principles, we introduce the Open Traits Network (OTN), a global, decentralized community welcoming all researchers and institutions pursuing the collaborative goal of standardizing and integrating trait data across organisms. We demonstrate how adherence to Open Science principles is key to the OTN community and outline five activities that can accelerate the synthesis of trait data across the Tree of Life, thereby facilitating rapid advances to address scientific inquiries and environmental issues. Lessons learned along the path to a global synthesis of trait data will provide a framework for addressing similarly complex data science and informatics challenges.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:traits, database, research network
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Environmental management
Research Field:Conservation and biodiversity
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Environmental policy, legislation and standards
Objective Field:Environmental policy, legislation and standards not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Adams, VM (Associate Professor Vanessa Adams)
ID Code:137505
Year Published:2020
Web of Science® Times Cited:72
Deposited By:Geography and Spatial Science
Deposited On:2020-02-18
Last Modified:2020-07-23

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