In the context of the environmental crisis, speeding up our understanding of biodiversity and enabling access to such knowledge is urgent. Furthering the numerous projects already rallying SIB Members to this cause, a Biodiversity Knowledge Hub was recently launched by the European consortia BiCIKL (Biodiversity Community Integrated Knowledge Library). It relies on literature services with several contributors which are coordinated by the SIB Text Mining group to deliver key insights from the biodiversity literature. To build on and consolidate nationally all these efforts, SIB is now launching a dedicated Environmental Bioinformatics group at the SIB Hub. 

About the Biodiversity Community Integrated Knowledge Library (BiCIKL)

BiCIKL brings together SIB as well as Pensoft, an open-access scientific publisher and Plazi, an association promoting the development of digital taxonomic literature, to populate databases with content from well-renowned journals in the field of biodiversity and to increase bidirectional linking across the biodiversity data ecosystem. A growing number of biodiversity and environmental science journals are currently being added to the literature repository through the Consortium of European Taxonomic Facilities (CETAF) e-publishing working group which is also an integral partner in BiCiKL.  

Unlocking insights from the biodiversity literature

With ever more scientists, policy-makers and nature specialists engaging to seek solutions to the challenges posed by biodiversity loss, an increasingly diverse community is seeking information from the scientific literature. To serve this growing need, the BiCIKL consortium (see box) has recently launched the Biodiversity Knowledge Hub. This portal allows users to access FAIR and interlinked data on biodiversity, from taxonomy to ecology, and from species traits or biotic interactions, in a few clicks. Key insights from the literature are made accessible in the portal through SIBiLS, a text mining tool developed by the SIB Group of Patrick Ruch at the University of Applied Sciences Geneva (HES-SO- HEG Geneva). 

The team is also responsible for providing a centralized mechanism for discovery and access to interlinked FAIR data across domains within the consortia, also based on SIBiLS. This includes a custom search engine to explore biodiversity and biomedical literature at once; a biotic interactions browser (biotXplorer); and a programmatic access to run complex queries across data sources (i.e. SPARQL endpoint).

Find out more about the solutions proposed by the team in BiCIKL

This new contribution reflects the diversity of solutions and discoveries by our members to leverage the body of knowledge in biodiversity. 

Explore the biodiversity projects in which SIB members are involved

An Environmental Bioinformatics group to position Switzerland on these issues

The environment is at the core of SIB’s strategy for the future (read more). To foster further synergies among existing initiatives, as well as to bring forth new ambitious infrastructure projects, a new SIB group tackling the topic has been created. Under the leadership of Robert Waterhouse, the Environmental Bioinformatics group will develop data solutions to address these challenges and diversify the impacts of large-scale initiatives such as the SwissBioData ecosystem

More about the group's activities

The group’s aims also include strongly positioning Switzerland on the issue by representing it in international projects such as Biodiversity Genomics Europe (BGE) and the European Reference Genome Atlas (ERGA). It will also develop bioinformatics tools and services and support the FAIRification of data relating to biodiversity and the environment. 

This new group joins others at the SIB Hub who support and implement the institute’s core activities such as Vital-IT Computational Biology, Clinical Bioinformatics and Training. 

Further updates will be shared on the group's activities in the near future.