French national network of naturalist collections

The French national network of naturalist collections (RECOLNAT) is a research infrastructure (RI) which facilitates access to naturalist collections and related data for research purposes. RECOLNAT has been on the research infrastructure roadmap of the Ministry of Research (MESRI) since 2016. At the core of its mission is the production and provision of a database for the study of current and past geodiversity and biodiversity.

Initiated in 2013 through the e-ReColNat investment for the future programme (ANR-11-INBS-0004), the infrastructure offers a portal giving access to nearly 11 million images and their ancillary data from more than 80 institutions in mainland and overseas France. This database is also enriched by the participatory science programme ‘Les herbonautes’, whose community, with its more than 4,000 contributors, produces datasets for selected research work. The infrastructure also provides tools for researchers working on digital duplicates of the collections. The ‘Annotate’ tool, acting like a virtual workbench, allows measurements and annotations of different characters and morphometric parameters to be made on digital images and imported into a structured table.

Since 2020, the national network of naturalist collections has consolidated its foundation and scope with the ambitious goal of structuring natural history communities in France. Created as a scientific interest group (SIG), RECOLNAT's goal is to constitute a network of scientific excellence by bringing together professionals and streamlining practices related to naturalist collections. Natural history museums, universities and research institutions work together to offer increased and privileged access to naturalist collections and their data. In this regard, RECOLNAT is in line with the open data policy and FAIR principles (findable, accessible, interoperable, reusable). Led by the National Museum of Natural History (MNHN), RECOLNAT is also the French nodal point of the European DiSSCo mirror infrastructure (Distributed Systems of Scientific Collections).

For further information

Constitutive Consortium Agreement
Membership Agreement

List of RECOLNAT Members

  • French National Museum of Natural History (MNHN)
  • Clermont Auvergne University
  • University Claude Bernard Lyon 1
  • University of Rennes 1
  • City of Dijon (natural history museum)
  • University of Burgundy
  • Aix-Marseille University
  • Montpellier University
  • City of La Rochelle (natural history museum)
  • Grand Nancy (natural history museum, aquarium and botanical garden)
  • City of Marseille (natural history museum)
  • University of Lorraine
  • University of Grenoble
  • IRD
  • City of Lille (natural history museum)
  • Toulouse Métropole (natural history museum)
  • Sorbonne University

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