Science Data Architect position - closes 30th Jan 2014

The Natural History Museum London has a really exciting opportunity for a Science Data Architect linked to our mass digitisation programme. Full details are on Linked-In and applications (via Cover letter and CV) should be made through the NHM Recruitment website. I'm happy to answer any queries about the post. Summary details below:

Part Time e-taxonomy Support Specialist, Natural History Museum

Become part of an expanding team of developers and informaticians working at the cutting edge of information and biodiversity research. The Natural History Museum London is recruiting an e-Taxonomy support specialist (14 month, part time, £16,403 per annum, pro rata equivalent to £27,339) as part of a major effort to help researchers share and manage biodiversity data on the Web.

Drupal developer (Two Posts) | Natural History Museum

Become part of an expanding team of developers working at the cutting edge of information science and biodiversity research. The Natural History Museum London is recruiting two junior/mid-level Drupal developers (18 month contracts, £34,508 per annum plus benefits) as part of a major effort to help researchers share and manage biodiversity data on the Web.

e-Infrastructures for data publishing in biodiversity science


A few days ago, a special issue of ZooKeys, edited by myself and Lyubomir Penev, published its jubilee Issue No 150 "e-Infrastructures for Data Publishing in Biodiversity Science", comprising 18 papers in total plus two editorials. These cover a variety of reviews, essays and research articles, including a review on data issues in life sciences and three exemplar papers that demonstrate simultaneous data publishing through the GBIF Integrated Publishing Toolkit (IPT) and Dryad. The issue also contains the first ever data paper generated from biodiversity metadata through the GBIF IPT - Pensoft workflow. Most of the papers have been developed through the EU-funded project ViBRANT.

Senior Drupal Developer Wanted!


We seek a senior Drupal developer for a 3-year (full-time) position as part of a major collaborative effort to help researchers share and manage biodiversity data on the web ( The work will include design and implementation of web applications, web services, data schemas and other applications and services. 

ViBRANT Funded!


For the past 6 months I've been busy putting together a 141 page application to the EU's FP7 research infrastructures program. Specifically INFRA-2010-1.2.3: Virtual Research Communities. I am pleased to say the application has been successful and we have been awarded 4.75M Euros in support of the project. ViBRANT (Virtual Biodiversity Research and Access Network for Taxonomy) is about integrating several major EU funded infrastructures to construct a Virtual Research Environment (VRE) for the taxonomic and systematic community. ViBRANT builds on the Scratchpad project, and is a partnership of 17 institutions that have a proven track record of delivering the social and technical components necessary to deliver this system. 

Scratchpads paper: BMC Bioinformatics

BMC BioinformaticsAt long last we (the Scratchpad team) have got around to publishing a formal paper on the Scratchpads. There are several short notes and conference proceedings published about the work we have been doing, but this is the first technical paper that describes in details the overall architecture of the project and sets out the sociological model of what we are trying to achieve. The paper will appear as one of nine papers selected for a special series sponsored by the Encyclopedia of Life project, for the journal BMC Bioinformatics. BMC, with the help of the special issue editor Neil Sarkar, selected the Scratchpad paper to highlight the publication in a press release entitled "Darwin meets Facebook". You can find a copy of the press release attached to the bottom of this page.


ViBRANTFor the past few weeks Dave Roberts and I have been beavering away on a major EU FP7 grant. The abbreviated name for our application is ViBRANT which is the catchier name for "Virtual Biodiversity Research and Access Network for Taxonomy". The competitive nature of this call makes it difficult for me to say much about what we are planning or who is involved, suffice to say that the project is to extend and distribute the Scratchpads and integrate the activities of various other major European work programs including GBIF, PESI and the publisher of the journal Zookeys.

Reflections on Diversitas OSC2, South Africa

DiversitasI had the pleasure of visiting Cape Town recently for the second Diversitas Open Science Conference (OSC2). Diversitas is an organization that attempts to bridge that tricky divide between science policy and practice for Biodiversity science. To this end the conference brought together about 600 scientists and policy makers spanning various ends of  basic and applied biodiversity science. I was there to talk about the role infrastructures like the Scratchpad project can play in global biodiversity projects, as part of a session titled "global approaches to taxonomy and biodiversity research". The session was reasonably well attended, but with nine parallel sessions it was hard to make much of an impact.

A tale of two images

PterosaurYesterday (18th Aug, 2009) I had two very different experiences dealing with queries about the licensing of images. The first was a query from paleontologist Mike Everhart, working at the Sternberg Museum of Natural History in Hays, Kansas. Mike is working on a Pteranodon chapter in an upcoming book on pterosaurs and had discovered a photograph on Flickr of a Pteranodon specimen (AMNH FR7515) that I took during a recent visit to the American Museum of Natural History. Despite being on exhibit since the 1950s, it turns out the specimen had dropped out of the mainstream and has never been figured in a publication. By snapping the picture during  a hurried visit to the exhibits (after giving a talk) I’ve helped the specimen to be rediscovered. Mike was asking for permission to use the image on his Pteranodon website, as my snapshot is apparently better than a much older official image.

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