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German Natural Sciences Collections as an Integrated Research Infrastructure

DCOLL is the concept for a national research infrastructure that will bring the digitalization and usage of natural science collections in Germany to an unprecedented level. The concept is submitted to the national roadmap process of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) by a consortium of seven scientific institutions at the initiative of the Museum für Naturkunde (MfN). In July 2017 the concept was positively evaluated by a committee of the German Council of Science and Humanities, thus fulfilling the requirements for being listed on the Roadmap for Research Infrastructures.

Germany's public research museums, universities and other collections-based research institutes house more than 150 million scientific objects from around the world (at the MfN: about 30 mio. objects). They contain greatly diverse information to face applied and scientific questions in an innovative way: Let it be the search for new medical agents, questions of bio-economy, global food security, molecular genetic evolutionary research, dealing with global change or conclusions for the continued global warming.

Yet, of all natural scientific objects in Germany, there are only about five percent digitally registered. This arrear will be approached by DCOLL by creating a decentralized, nationally integrated and internationally strongly interconnected research infrastructure. It will systematically advance the digitalization of natural science collections in Germany and thus enable novel and innovative research approaches. DCOLL is mainly designed for a scientific application on an international scale, but also for education and public outreach as well as economic and other uses.


Museum für Naturkunde – Leibniz Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity Science (MfN)

Botanischer Garten und Botanisches Museum Berlin-Dahlem, Freie Universität Berlin (BGBM)

Bavarian Natural History Collections, Munich (SNSB)

Stuttgart State Museum of Natural History (SMNS)

Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung (SGN)

Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig – Leibniz Institute for Animal Biodiversity (ZFMK)

Leibniz Institute DSMZ-German Collection of Microorganisms and Cell Cultures (DSMZ)

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