Natural science collections and biodiversity data have been collected for centuries and are growing in volume now faster than ever. As in any field, the transition into the digital age comes with enormous potential and new challenges. The true potential of scientific collections (for many research domains) is yet to be uncovered. This depends among others on creating expertise, linking disconnected data (e.g. Troudet et al 2018) and innovative perspectives on how we want use this information and knowledge.

On a European level several developments are taking place and initiatives are formed. DiSSCo, the Distributed System of Scientific Collections is such an initiative, that is recognised by the European commission. DiSSCo aims to unite all natural science collections in Europe into one single virtual collection. This would be the largest natural science collection ever created. However, the usability for researchers and other stakeholders lies in our hands. Scientists, IT-experts, institutes and governments need to collaborate and cooperate excessively on a national and international level.

This survey is meant to provide you the opportunity to include your needs and vision for the future of science collections. Now more than ever there is a necessity for a national strategy and user perspectives. Your scientific user insights could transform the development of initiatives, such as DiSSCo and in return guide and improve the potential benefits/services towards scientific users.
How do we want to collaborate?
The following questions will take only +/-10 minutes of your time. With this survey we hope to gain information on your research process and identify what a science collections infrastructure could offer you in terms of supporting your activities. Additionally, we want to discuss what services would be revolutionary in your field(s) and how an infrastructure could/should accommodate this.

We use a conceptual research data management cycle to investigate your current research data flow and to consider your needs and wishes regarding future services and tooling. Based on your answers we may contact you for an interview and/or workshop to explore this in more depth (we will discuss topics like scalability, user groups, barriers, possibilities and responsibilities).
What will happen with your input?
Your input provided by this questionnaire and the interviews/workshops will be used to create proposals (from a Dutch perspective) for European research infrastructure services and development. This allows us to be prepared for future opportunities, but also to present our needs on a national level.

Specifically, your input will be used to create recommendations for the DiSSCo NL consortium, ICEDIG (European DiSSCo design study), the DiSSCo preparatory phase and will be used to inform future European DiSSCo-related projects. Furthermore, it will aid the planning for infrastructural tooling on a national level. A high level overview of the results will be published online for stakeholders to consult and examine.

By participating you have a unique opportunity to contribute to the development of infrastructure initiatives in the bio- and geodiversity research community.