Open access data policy of the Finnish Museum of Natural History
Approved by the Management Board
of the Museum on 10
March 2008. To be followed in principle and with adjustments based
- A publicly available metadatabase will be maintained. All collections,
databases and datasets will be catalogued there soon after they
have been created. The metadatabase fulfills the requirements of
the INSPIRE Directive and the Decree on the Openness of Government Activities
and on Good Practice in Information Management, and for this
purpose describes, e.g., data availability and access restrictions.
- Data on the accessions in the national collections will be
made available in full detail, as far as they are digitally available,
and do not concern certain endangered species.
- Data from biodiversity monitoring activities will become
openly available in full detail with some delay, which normally
is 5 years after the data has been received at the museum. However,
the observer himself/herself can require a faster and more precise
- Special arrangements can be made with public authorities
and other customers of a faster access to the detailed data. These
services can carry a charge as the Act on Criteria for Charges Payable
to the State requires, and would be available through a
protected access point.
- Furthermore, all digital data will be made immediately accessible
already before the above-mentioned delay, but with limited detail.
The responsible scientist can decide on the generalisation that
will be applied. The recommendation is an accuracy that is sufficient
for global-scale analysis: I.e., scientific name (preferrably
at species level), year, and latitude and longitude rounded to
the nearest full degree (that is, in north-south direction 111
km, but narrower in east-west direction towards the poles), no
- About certain endangered species, for which there is a reason
to suspect misuse of data, more details than the recommended
generalisation will never be released. Guidelines of the Ministry
of Environment will be followed here.
- For the sake of good order, volunteer observers will (in
future, but not retroactively) be asked a permission to make their
data available in more detail than with 10 km accuracy, and for
showing their name.
- Metadata will be used to describe the possibility of obtaining
the data in more detail by a special request. Furthermore, and
following the EU regulation on sui-generis rights, users will be
required to obtain a permission for using the data when it forms
a qualitatively or quantitatively essential part of data used in
a work. The permission will normally be granted, but the possibility
of a joint authorship need to be discussed.
- The availability of data and their actual use will be monitored,
and these will be criteria for performance within the museum
and outside. Funding for projects will be decided on this basis.
Income from data deliveries will in principle be channelled to
the project that produced the data.
It should be well understood that this means a cultural change.
However, internalising it and reaping the benefits of it will take
time. Also technical implementation can only take place gradually,
and with the pace of digitisation. However, by starting the implementation
with high profile from the largest already digital datasets will
signal the beginning of a new era.