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Summary of recommendations for the DNA barcoding community Open Access


Author or creator
Janis Geary
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DNA barcoding
knowledge commons
research commons
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Life sciences research that uses genetic resources is increasingly collaborative and global, yet collective action remains a significant barrier to the creation and management of shared research resources. These resources include sequence data and associated metadata, and biological samples, and can be understood as a type of knowledge commons. Collective action by stakeholders to create and use knowledge commons for research has potential benefits for all involved, including minimizing costs and sharing risks, but there are gaps in our understanding of how institutional arrangements may promote such collective action in the context of global genetic resources. I address this research gap by examining the attributes of an exemplar global knowledge commons: The DNA barcode commons. DNA barcodes are short, standardized gene regions that can be used to inexpensively identify unknown specimens, and proponents have led international efforts to make DNA barcodes a standard species identification tool. This document summarizes my recommendations stemming from my research examining if and how attributes of the DNA barcode commons, including governance of DNA barcode resources and management of infrastructure, facilitate global participation in DNA barcoding efforts. My data sources included key informant interviews, organizational documents, scientific outputs of the DNA barcoding community, and DNA barcode record submissions. My research suggested that the goal of creating a globally inclusive DNA barcode commons has not yet been fully achieved, and that the risks and benefits of participating in the commons are not equitably shared across heterogeneous global participants. DNA barcode organizations can mitigate the challenges caused by its global membership through ensuring its governance is representative and considers restrictions on use that may enhance participation in the commons.
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