ViBRANT’s joint research activities are proposed as two workpackages focusing on developing an enhanced and sustainable technical architecture to host the Scratchpad virtual research communities, and research supporting biodiversity literature access and data mining.  The first is a prerequisite to hardening our technical infrastructure.  ViBRANT needs to make it as easy as possible for partner institutions to host their own Scratchpad node server.  Developments in this project will ensure ViBRANT service stability and will be delivered using two fundamental approaches.  A network of Scratchpad servers, each of which shares the load of all the ViBRANT partners, and each of which has local server failover to ensure consistency of service.  Currently all the Scratchpads are on a virtual machine hosting a single Scratchpad node server at the Natural History Museum, London.  ViBRANT will expand this network enabling local technical staff to quickly and easily setup and host their own Scratchpad node server at low cost.

The second workpackage addresses the problem of accessing biodiversity literature.  Recent studies amongst biodiversity researchers have highlighted access to literature as a major obstacle to efficient research.  Access to literature, or more specifically, data within published literature, also hinder a broad range of other disciplines including education, biodiversity conservation, protected area management, disease control, and maintenance of diverse ecosystems services.  For this reason biodiversity literature access and data mining has been selected as a prime research area within ViBRANT.