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Distributed System

of Scientific Collections

Providing hard evidence of

our planet’s natural diversity

DiSSCo

A world-class research infrastructure

The Distributed System of Scientific Collections is a new world-class Research Infrastructure (RI) for natural science collections. The DiSSCo RI works towards digitally unifying all European natural science assets under common curation, access, policies and practices, and aims to ensure that the data is easily Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable (FAIR). As such, DiSSCo will transform a fragmented landscape of crucial natural science collections into an integrated knowledge base that provides interconnected hard evidence of the natural world.

DiSSCo represents the largest ever formal agreement between natural history museums, botanic gardens and collection-holding universities in the world. 

Our goals

What do we want to achieve?

Europe is a global leader in collections-based research and hosts 80% of the world’s known bio- and geodiversity represented in 1.5 billion specimens. Natural science collection (NSC) specimens are a unique and vital resource forming the foundational basis of bio- and geodiversity research that has historically been used to address fundamental questions in science and  underpin countless discoveries and innovations, policy reports and public education. However, to 

address today’s pressing issues like climate change, data from one individual museum, institution or private collection is insufficient. For these large-scale research questions, the current mosaic of scattered related institutional data resources including those spawned by recent technologies (genomics, 3D imaging, GPS, etc.) needs to be integrated into a cohesive whole that mirrors the complexity and wholeness of nature itself so that it may be properly understood in its rightful context.

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Digitally unify European natural science assets under FAIR

DiSSCo will digitally unify European natural science assets under common curation and access, while ensuring data is easily Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable (FAIR).

Permanently link a digital specimen to its related attributes

DiSSCo will permanently link a digital specimen back to its related attributes in distributed resources (GBIF, GenBank, MorphoBank, GeoCASE, TraitBank, PLAZI, BHL, etc.), ensuring robust science whose assertions can always be validated or reproduced.

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A one-stop e-science shop of services

DiSSCo will be a one-stop e-science shop for providing discovery, (physical) access, interpretation, analysis of complex linked data, digitization on demand, and support and training services.

Reduce the global carbon footprint with digital access

Digital access will reduce the global carbon footprint (by 25,000 annual international trips and 800,000 global shipments of specimens), improve efficiency, make science more responsive to urgent needs, and accelerate biodiversity discovery.

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Optimize collection curation and management

Institutions will be able to better monitor the use and impact of their collections and its data, enabling specialisation and prioritisation strategies that harmonize common research agendas.

With digital access, collection managers and curators will benefit from digital scientific curation and annotation using external scientific expertise.

DiSSCo will transform a fragmented landscape of natural science collections 
into a unified robust, quality ensured knowledge base
of unprecedented scale for bio- and geodiversity.

Our collaborations

DiSSCo-linked projects

Building a research infrastructure is a very complex task. For this reason, DiSSCo relies on other partner organizations who have created their own opportunities for projects that address specific parts of the research infrastructure.

DiSSCo Prepare

How to build a Research Infrastructure? To find out is the objective of the latest addition to the portfolio of DiSSCo-linked projects, DiSSCo Prepare. It will improved DiSSCo’s readiness to deliver its services, e.g. in terms of adapting to user needs, serving high-quality and trustworthy data, and implement the technical infrastructure.

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Our European

Consortium partners

DiSSCo represents the largest ever formal agreement between natural history museums, botanic gardens and collection-holding universities in the world, and forms an extensive European network of 120 institutions.

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DiSSCo

By the numbers

specimens

participating institutions

full-time scientists

countries