Compilations of fossil data are fundamental to modern paleontology. Multiple such databases exist, each focusing on specific domains of paleontological research. However, integrating these data for analyses of diversity dynamics, macroevolution and deep time macroecology is extremely challenging due to the dispersed registration and curation of the data, their quality and sampling coverage, and the overall design of these databases. A system-wide upgrade to the paleontological data infrastructure is required, but it can only happen, when the previously amassed data expand their utility and accessibility.
This project will pave the pathway to a new, globally integrated infrastructure for paleontological data and will produce a grant proposal to finance its establishment. Online and hybrid workshops will facilitate communication between project contributors and the wider paleontological community. Upcoming workshops will include discussions of the requirements, strategies to establish and maintain such an ambitious service, and will identify key scientific questions that become answerable with the new framework. Unifying the data service in a single, ‘Big Data’ framework that focuses on–and can seamlessly accommodate the ever-evolving needs and interests of the paleontological research community will open new dimensions of paleontological research and more equitable global cooperation.
The workshops are supported by funding from the Paleosynthesis Project.