Alien and invasive, but free and open online

I quite like the idea of behind-the-paper blog posts – there is often much more of research story that can ever fit into an academic publication. These stories are often told over a beer or a cup of coffee, but why not online? Our paper on the improved digital access to the checklists on alien and invasive species from 20 countries such as South Africa, Ireland, and Russia, has been just published in the Nature Scientific Data journal. Shyama Pagad and Melodie McGeoch, the key authors of the paper, wrote a very nice blog post. Press releases were cooked in advance and embargo lifted on the day the paper is out online – quite some coordination among the authors, the publisher, and communication professionals in our organizations! As a result, the story is the first featured news at the CBD, IUCN, and portals and got some coverage in Guardian – perhaps the most adequate English language newspaper when it comes to biodiversity science, in El Tiempo in Spanish, in PÚBLICO in Portuguese, at Sveriges Radio in Swedish, at Nature Asia in Japanese  – all in 48 hours since paper was out. This was followed by a story by BBC, which despite some factual mistakes, generated the second wave of the news, including Shyama Pagad’s interview to Radio New Zealand, and stories in Het Laatste Nieuws in Belgium, GreenReport in Italy, Deutsche Welle in Germany, Liga News in Russia, NewsSalt in Japan, Journal de l’environnement in France, XinhuaNet in China, El Espectador in Colombia, Almuñécar Digital in Spain. Do not underestimate the power of press releases! It’s rewarding to see the increasing media attention, but I also learn the hard way that uncorrected misinterpretations by journalists are repeated, if not made worse, in the later news.

Leaving scientific media aside, let’s see how the GRIIS–GBIF–CBD story develops around global access to the national checklists of invasive and alien species. Most importantly, there are good hopes to see checklists from all other countries, 180 or so, to be published from GRIIS through Most importantly, when checklists of the invasive and alien species from all other countries will be published from GRIIS through, and how dynamic will be this connection in the future. A solid and promising outcome of the GBIF task group on data fitness for use in research on alien and invasive species. Happy to see this paper out, and honored to be part of the story!