BiCIKL is linking people unambiguously and efficiently to their work

25 May 2023

People are essential to linking biodiversity data and, therefore, play a key role in the BiCIKL project. Disambiguation of people's names is common practice in biological collections as knowing the real identity of these scientists and having their biographical data is essential to improving research efficiency and quality, conforming to the FAIR data principles, connecting data types and making the research outputs better.  In addition, data on who works together can help refine biodiversity data in many ways. It can help us cross-reference data to ensure it is consistent and valid. It helps us acknowledge the contribution to the science of all of the participants. It helps us understand how scientific collection, learning and communication operate and this can give us insights into the biases and effectiveness of the collection process. 

However, since the collections-holding institutes do not tend to share these biographical data publicly, the same time-consuming work of disambiguating collectors’ names has often been repeated, due to the fact that the record of the work of individual collectors is usually distributed over several natural history collections.

Many initiatives and discussions are going on within the scientific community - for instance in the Biodiversity Information Standards organization (TDWG) and during the Mobilise COST Action - to standardize these biographical data and to reach out to the community of natural history collection curators, researchers, database managers and publishers to facilitate the sharing and open publication of these data by using existing infrastructures such as Wikidata, Bionomia and ORCID.

The Horizon EU-funded project BiCIKL is currently designing and prototyping a disambiguation workflow that integrates data from ORCID, Wikidata and Bionomia (Milestone 32) to help natural history collections disambiguate their people more efficiently.