The BIOTA AFRICA project produced a wide range of data which are valuable beyond the direct goals of the project and for scientists and stakeholders outside the project team. The metadata information has therefore been prepared to allow identification of available data and to make access to these data easy.
Most of the data are freely available, based on a fast and simple procedure of application. On the other hand, some restrictions expressed by the host countries (e.g. regarding protection of rare species), the need to protect data of students during the time of their Masters or PhD-projects and the general rules regarding authorship in scientific publications, define limitations to open access.
These have been defined jointly by the scientists of all participating countries and are documented within the BIOTA
data sharing protocol (
Download as PDF-File).
The data pool contains numerous datasets. A dataset (in terms of 'a set of data records') can be defined as a data collection that is assigned to one discipline and/or one specific research task.
The metadata information allows viewers to rapidly scan an overview of the available datasets, their status, format and availability.
The information is divided in three parts: One part sketches the data (title, short description, purpose, keywords to narrow theme and subtheme, biome, locality and period, BIOTA observatory, sampling method) with conditions of delivery (copyright holder, restriction of dissemination, period of protection). Another part is the format, file name and documentation of the data. And then there is the contact information of the relevant person if there are any queries or special requests about the data.