Field of Science

Encyclopedia of Life Launches!

The Washington Post reports that a major new project has been launched:

"A group of the world's leading scientists announced yesterday that they had joined forces to document the world's 1.8 million named species in a massive new "Encyclopedia of Life." The unprecedented $12.5 million effort -- a collaboration of Chicago's Field Museum, Harvard University, the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole, Mass., the Smithsonian Institution, the Biodiversity Heritage Library and the Missouri Botanical Garden -- aims to create separate Web pages on every known species within a decade."

The funding comes from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation ($10 mil) and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation ($2.5 mil). Wow. This is big science for "organismal biology" and it will put a whole lot of good data in one open-access place. Congratulations to those who had the vision to get this launched and thanks to the funding organizations for making it happen!

Go have a look at They already have some cool Demo Pages. For example, the image above comes from the Yeti Crab page. The home page says it all:
"Comprehensive, collaborative, ever-growing, and personalized, the Encyclopedia of Life is an ecosystem of websites that makes all key information about life on Earth accessible to anyone, anywhere in the world. Our goal is to create a constantly evolving encyclopedia that lives on the Internet, with contributions from scientists and amateurs alike. To transform the science of biology, and inspire a new generation of scientists, by aggregating all known data about every living species. And ultimately, to increase our collective understanding of life on Earth, and safeguard the richest possible spectrum of biodiversity."
Click here for the Press Release.


  1. From non scientists too?> I don't like that.

  2. What happens if a Kent Hovind decides to edit one of the carnivorous species as herbivore?

  3. This is big science for "organismal biology"...
    Click here for the Press Release.

    How about "click here for the PDF of the peer-reviewed publication detailing the methods used to collect, collate, and curate the masses of data"

    If this is science, where is the scientific publication? Press releases are most often content-free, breathless, spin-laden fluff. Can I see something reliable that these big, respected funding agencies are pouring money into?


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