Explorator: Citizen Science project receives contributions to computerize the world of plants

Lorena Caliman
28 april, 2020≈ 3 min read

The Herbarium of the University of Coimbra launches the Explorator project online: a citizen science initiative that asks for the collaboration of volunteers to make available the largest biological collection in Portugal online. The objective is to computerize the specimens of plants from around the world that make up the Herbarium of the University with the help of the community.

The collection currently has 800,000 copies, of great global scientific relevance. In addition, the Herbarium celebrates its 140th birthday in 2020. Users can choose a project to contribute within Explorator. Among those available are: Legumes from Brazil; Detectives; Portuguese carnivorous plants; Miscellaneous; Azores plants; Herbarium of Wilkomm and Crucíferas de Portugal.

You can contribute and learn by accessing https://coicatalogue.uc.pt/explorator/. The research structure operates in Open Access, and the online catalog receives thousands of consultations monthly. There are five levels of users, ranging from the most novice to the most experienced. The update process makes it easy to progress through the session, and in each field there is a help icon to answer the most common questions. More information on how to participate and how to use it can be found here.

The achievement of the Citizen Science project follows the encouragement of the European Commission, which promotes this type of initiative as a way to democratize science, bringing academia and society closer together. Citizen Science also aims to promote scientific literacy and active public participation in decisions.

The project is carried out by the UC Herbarium in collaboration with the University's Computer Engineering Department, within the scope of the PORBIOTA infrastructure.