The need for scientists to exchange, share and organise data has resulted in a proliferation of biodiversity research-data portals over recent decades. These cyber-infrastructures have had a major impact on taxonomy and helped the discipline by allowing faster access to bibliographic information, biological and nomenclatural data, and specimen information. Several specialised portals aggregate particular data types for a large number of species, including legumes. Here, we argue that, despite access to such data-aggregation portals, a taxon-focused portal, curated by a community of researchers specialising on a particular taxonomic group and who have the interest, commitment, existing collaborative links, and knowledge necessary to ensure data quality, would be a useful resource in itself and make important contributions to more general data providers. Such an online species-information system focused on Leguminosae (Fabaceae) would serve useful functions in parallel to and different from international data-aggregation portals. We explore best practices for developing a legume-focused portal that would support data sharing, provide a better understanding of what data are available, missing, or erroneous, and, ultimately, facilitate cross-analyses and direct development of novel research. We present a history of legume-focused portals, survey existing data portals to evaluate what is available and which features are of most interest, and discuss how a legume-focused portal might be developed to respond to the needs of the legume-systematics research community and beyond. We propose taking full advantage of existing data sources, informatics tools and protocols to develop a scalable and interactive portal that will be used, contributed to, and fully supported by the legume-systematics community in the easiest manner possible.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Plant Science