Frequently Asked Questions

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For questions, contact us on thebrahmaproject atqf gmail xdot com

What are the aims of the project?

Generally speaking, there are three major aims of the project:

  1. To enable the non-academic, common man learn more about biodiversity and Indian species
  2. To not just be a data dump and enable extraction of richer knowledge from existing information
  3. To facilitate research and conservation efforts for Indian biodiversity.

Specifically, the aims of the project are:

  1. To enable "good-quality", "social", "interactive", "hyper-linked" and "referenced" documentation of the flora and fauna of India
  2. To integrate traditional and modern knowledge about the biodiversity in India
  3. To generate awareness among the common man about the sociocultural, medicinal and economic impact of species loss, and involve them in the activity of biodiversity conservation
  4. To provide resources for further education, research and conservation efforts into this area

What is Project Brahma?

Project Brahma was the original name of this website. We then changed it to Biodiversity of India to enable easy association between our aims and the content of this website. We hope that this transition will enable people to find our website and know what our website is all about, more easily.

However, we still retain the name Project Brahma as the name of our umbrella project, consisting of three media:

  1. This Biodiversity of India wiki
  2. Our Project Brahma Facebook page and
  3. Our @brahmaproject Twitter account

How is this project any different from other documentation websites out there?

Particularly, how is the project different from Indian databases such as IBIN/JeevSampada, India Biodiversity Portal, BIS India, FRLHT and international databases such as GBIF, Encyclopedia of Life, IUCN Red List and so on.

Firstly, it is important to note that Biodiversity of India is a citizen-oriented initiative and not a government/institutionalized initiative like all above databases (except EoL). Secondly, the above databases consist of curated information, obtained mostly from primary data sources. Thirdly, in the context of Indian biodiversity, no existing database performs the functions that we intend to perform.

The following features make us different:

  1. We follow the Wikipedia model of contribution. Under this model, we aim to make biodiversity documentation an open initiative thereby getting even the common man to contribute to biodiversity related activities.
  2. We aim to become a comprehensive information for all Indian biodiversity related information. We do not aim to supplant existing databases but supplement them. We will act as enablers for the common man to reach these databases.
  3. Our first and foremost goal is to make biodiversity a topic of interest to the common man. Our goal is to increase peoples' awareness about biodiversity. Our aim is not to be a source of high quality primary data.

Having said that, we do not aim to be redundant with existing biodiversity databases. The functions of different databases related to Indian biodiversity are different. For example:

IBIN/JeevSampada Collection of high quality information from primary sources, aimed mainly to ward off patenting of indigenous bioresources and knowledge by international companies. Most government-funded databases around the country feed into IBIN thus making it a rich body of biodiversity data.
India Biodiversity Portal Increasing people's participation in documenting spatial biodiversity data. Makes good use of Google Maps and organizes information as layers on the maps. Contain several species checklists+News+Links to blogs
BIS India Biodiversity Information System (BIS) is an initiative of the Indian Institute of Remote Sensing, Dehradun and aims to provide spatial information about vegetation cover, fragmentation pattern, species richness etc. through use of satellite and remote sensing data.
FRLHT This is a database aimed at collecting information about medicinal plants and the traditional knowledge associated with these plants

The following features of Biodiversity of India provide it with quite different and in some cases, more abilities than the above databases:

  1. Integration with Web 2.0 services such as Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, RSS Feeds, Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons etc.
  2. Ability to easily search and retrieve data. For example, if you wanted All plant species with medicinal properties in Unani medicine and with >100 nucleotide sequences in GenBank, none of the existing databases are able to provide you that information.
  3. Stress on community participation. The main purpose is to get common man involved in biodiversity conservation.

(section under development)

How trustworthy is the data?

We do not vouch for the trustworthiness of the data on this website. As mentioned above, we do not aim to be the source of trustworthy, curated data. There are existing databases that have done this job and we do not want to reinvent the wheel. Our model is exactly similar to the Wikipedia model, that is of a community-regulated database. We believe that is the best way to document species information in the context of India.

Having said that, we try to establish trustworthiness through implementing the following measures:

  1. Most of our species data is automatically pulled - in some cases, on the fly - from global, curated biodiversity databases. This allows us to keep such data continually updated.
  2. We follow the Wikipedia model of providing as many references as possible. We encourage referencing and citing primary sources from all contributors to the website.
  3. Our user volume is not as large as Wikipedia's. Thus, it is possible for the moderators and admins to manually curate any obviously false information on the website.
  4. On our species pages, we make the sources of the information explicitly clear, enabling the users to make their own decisions on data quality.

Isnt the scope of the project too wide?

It is. But given the rapid rate of species loss and habitat destruction in India, we cannot afford to be slower. There are many things that can be done using the framework we have developed till now, many of which remain in concept-phase due to insufficient number of volunteers. We are always looking for volunteers to take on more challenges and expand the scope of the project even more.

Who is behind Biodiversity of India?

Read about our current team here

Who's funding the project?

Currently, its a volunteer funded initiative. We are actively looking for funding opportunities.

How can I contribute?

There are several ways to contribute. Please refer to this link to know more.

I have pictures that I can contribute. Where can I do that?

Unfortunately, at this time, we do not accept picture uploads. Pictures and Images come with their own set of copyright issues which we cannot deal with currently. However, we encourage you to upload your original pictures on Wikimedia Commons under a Creative Commons license. We can pull all images from Commons on this website using a Mediawiki feature called Interwiki.