Collecting and publishing dataset usage and citations at the ALA

Nick dos Remedios1, Javier Molina 2, Simon Bear 3, Patricia Koh4

1Atlas of Living Australia, Canberra, Australia,

2Atlas of Living Australia, Canberra, Australia,

3Atlas of Living Australia, Canberra, Australia,

4Atlas of Living Australia, Canberra, Australia,


The Atlas of Living Australia (ALA) [1] is an NCRIS-funded national biodiversity data aggregator. Founded on the principle of open data sharing – collect it once, share it, use it many times – the ALA provides free, online access to over 70 million occurrence records to form the most comprehensive and accessible dataset on Australia’s biodiversity ever produced. The dataset owners and providers are an important stake holder group for the ALA and one of the benefits of sharing their data with the ALA is we are able to provide data usage and citation statistics back to them. Each dataset has a metadata web page on the ALA that provides details about the institution, research, contacts and description for that dataset. On this page, there is a detailed breakdown of how many user-generated downloads contained records from their dataset, covering the past month, 6 months, 12 months and all-time. Recently the ALA has added a new feature to the data downloads, whereby a DOI is automatically generated for every user download event. Researchers are encouraged to link this data DOI to any publication DOI that uses this data. In addition, ALA has collaborated with the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) [2] to allocate a DOI to a large percentage of datasets with the aim of covering all datasets in the near future. By using citation linking tools, download DOIs can be linked to their dataset DOIs and thus it will be possible to track publications via the DOI chain back to each dataset.


  1. Atlas of Living Australia (ALA) –
  2. Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) –


Nick competed a PhD in comparative immunology at UTS before taking up software development in the airline industry. He then worked for a  IP focused, not-for-profit research NGO called CAMBIA before taking up a role as senior developer at the Atlas of Living Australia (CSIRO) where he now works.

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