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Open Research Challenge at the FAU

The Division of Paleontology at the FAU is largely focusing on marine systems and timescales spanning millions of years in order to study the relationship between environmental change and evolution. Among lab work, geochemistry, and microscopy, modelling and statistical analyses become more and more significant. Many of our big discoveries are based on the creation and mining of large databases, of which the Paleobiology Database is by far the most important. At our institute we use big data to examine and understand key questions about evolution and extinction of organisms and communities on Earth. A crucial issue is the data quality; but as the size of database(s) is continuously growing, assessing data quality prior to conducting analyses is becoming increasingly difficult.

Therefore, we have decided to take part in the Open Reseach Challenge 2020 with the following topic:

FossilClean – A data cleaning framework for occurrence data archive in the Paleobiology Database

The goal of this challenge is to develop a framework to clean the data in the largest database of fossils spanning the entire Phanerozoic eon: The Paleobiology Database.We seek an automated solution to clean taxonomic and temporal assignments of occurrence data, as issues with data quality can however diminish their usefulness.

Your innovative tool should help paleontologists to scan occurrence datasets to flag dating and/or taxonomic imprecisions in a standardised and reproducible way.

Deadline is January 31st, 2020.

Your award

The team that submitted the best solution for our challenge will be invited for a week-long stay here at FAU in Erlangen, Bavaria, Germany, in late summer / early fall 2021. We will cover your travel expenses and offer you an interesting program where you can learn more about our research, but also about the region. This will include a visit of the medieval city of Nürnberg as well as a hiking trip to the unique natural preserve of the Franconian Alb.
As a special price, you will be able to participate in the Summer Science School 2021 in Erlangen (up to three winners of a team) without the need to submit an application for participation at the Summer School. 
In case that travelling will not be possible due to COVID-19 restrictions, your team will be awarded with 2,500 €, but of course, we hope that it will be possible to welcome to here at FAU soon.

orc-logoExtended information on the challenge and how to participate is provided on the FAU Open research challenge Webpage