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DiSSCo: A European infrastructure

Natural Science Collections are critical infrastructure for answering thousands of fundamental scientific questions and for delivering information for discoveries and innovations in numerous fields. However, the exploitation of this infrastructure is severely limited by e.g. a low proportion of digitally accessible collections, the lack of a common platform, incomplete links between major data sources, or fragmentation of access policies, practices and modes across hundreds of locations.

In 2018, the European Natural Science Collections entered the Roadmap of the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) as the Distributed System of Scientific Collections (DiSSCo). DiSSCo intends to transform the fragmented landscape of crucial scientific resources into an integrated, seamless collection providing unified access services to a diverse user base. With currently 120 organizations across 21 European countries, it is the largest formal agreement between natural science collection facilities worldwide.

From the beginning on, MfN was part of the Steering Committee and is since February 2020 member of the newly founded DiSSCo General Assembly. The department Science Data Management at MfN contributes significantly to DiSSCo's Technical Team.


In February 2020 the project “DiSSCo Prepare” (funded by the European Comission) started. Within three years, the project aims to assess the current state of the art of the Research Infrastructure among five dimensions (scientific, data, financial, technological and organisational) and set the targets to ensure a seamless transition to a fully deployed construction plan.

In DiSSCo prepare, MfN leads a technical work package ("Common resources and standards") and contributes substantially to various other work packages addressing user requirements, trainings, capacity enhancement, and the technical architecture.