BCoN has promoted the development of an Extended Specimen Network as a unifying goal for biological collections over the next decade.
The term “Extended Specimen” refers to the specimen, associated specimen data, and interconnected network of data resources, which together have incredible potential to enhance integrative and data-driven research. Specimens can function as a bridge between disciplines and databases (genetic, ecological, conservation, environmental, paleontological, etc.). In the last decade, digitized and online specimen-based data have greatly increased our capacity to investigate large-scale issues of existential importance in the 21st century, e.g., climate change and its impacts, zoonotic disease transmission, sustainable resource management, impacts of invasive species, and biodiversity loss.
The Extended Specimen Network connects the Extended Specimen with other data sets to increase the utility of specimens and their data for research and education, while also incorporating the development and implementation of the novel socio-technical infrastructure needed to support the network, sustained collecting and digitization of specimens, workforce training and education for broad end users, and inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility across these efforts.
Read the 2019 Extended Specimen Network Report to learn more.