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Data Publication

Data publication is the act of making data available on the Internet, so that they can be downloaded, analysed, re-used and cited by people and organisations other than the creators of the data.

Published data can be used only on the condition that the source of the data is acknowledged by its users, and that the correct attribution is maintained in any subsequent mention of the data. This policy ensures that the data publisher will receive appropriate recognition for their work. The Belgian Biodiversity Platform facilitates the publication of occurrence data, checklists and metadata:

Occurence data

  • The term occurrence data refers to either collection specimens or field observations of living organisms. Occurrence data pertaining to Belgium are directly accessible through the Belgian data portal, developed by the Belgian Biodiversity Platform. The Global data portal contains all occurrence data published through GBIF, so that everyone across the world can access and use them.

  • The Belgian Biodiversity Platform provides technical support for the publication of occurrence data, and customises websites that showcase occurrence data. (see customised web portals section)



  • The term checklist refers to taxonomic list of standardised species names occurring in a certain area. It uses specific bodies of standards to facilitate the exchange of data. For example, this rotifera checklist is published on FADA website by the Belgian Biodiversity Platform.
  • The Belgian Biodiversity Platform provides technical support to publish such checklists on customised web portals and on international portals such as GBIFCatalogue Of Life and Encyclopedia Of Life.


  • Metadata is the description of a dataset. For instance, in the case of a dataset related to a field observation, the information that explains where, when and in which context the data were collected is called "metadata"Metadata can also refer to information on digitised or non-digitised collections. For instance, information on a museum collection that is not digitised, such as collector expedition notes would also be called “metadata”. 
  • For example, the following is part of the metadata that describes the dataset of AVES/Natagora project:
    This dataset is the result of the digitization project "Aves Birds observation records anterior to 1990". It provides ornithological data gathered by Aves between 1960 and 1990. Since the early sixties, Aves, the bird study and protection society in French-speaking Belgium, now part of Natagora asbl, is collecting bird observation data in Belgium (almost exclusively in Wallonia and Brussels regions). Bird observation data in Aves collection are essentially generatedby "broad-scale surveys" in the sense of (Kelling, 2008): data are collected mostly by volunteers, outside a strict experimental hypothesis-testing framework.

  • The Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) developed a Metadata Catalog which is a metadata management system for collating, searching and distributing metadata.
  • The Belgian Biodiversity Platform provides technical support and advice for the publication of metadata.


 If you are in possession of biodiversity data and wish to publish, you may avail of the support of André Heughebaert.

last modified on 06 Jun 2013