Sharing and using data on the Biocontrol Hub

Adding and sharing data

The Biocontrol Hub allows observations of biocontrol agents to be easily uploaded and shared on the Atlas of Living Australia. To upload data on the Hub, find the Project page for your target weed (by clicking on the big, grey ‘Go to biocontrol projects’ button), and select the agent from the weeds ‘Surveys’ tab. Simply click on ‘Add a record’, or download the spreadsheet for bulk data entry. Alternately, use the app to enter field observations on your smartphone or tablet (currently requires an internet connection).

Data submitted to the Biocontrol Hub are expected to go into the public domain under a CC-BY license at some point. By sharing data, we can improve our knowledge of biocontrol agents and their distribution, and facilitate adoption of weed biocontrol in Australia.

Embargo periods for new data

New records are usually embargoed (withheld from public view) for at least a few days to allow time for records to be checked.
There are three record visibility options currently available:

  1. Public on submission –records are publicly visible as soon as they are submitted/received into the system.

  2. Public after a specified number of days after submission – this is the most common embargo type applied to biocontrol agent survey forms. This option caters to situations where records are withheld from public view for a short period of time to allow time for their review, and to correct any errors. The maximum number of withholding days is 180 (6 months).

  3. Public after a specified future date – this option caters to situations where it is important to retain data visibility to within the project membership only for a certain period of time. Examples may include researchers needing to publish their work before they publish the raw data, or datasets containing culturally sensitive information. This option allows a forward date to be set up to 12 months in advance and, within this period, the date can be manually moved further in advance.

The embargo period is pre-selected for each survey, and one to two weeks is a common embargo period. Records are always editable by the submitter and all members of the project who have an “Administrator” role. Contact an administrator if you need to change the embargo period for a particular species or dataset.

Managing sensitive data

Occasionally, location data may be considered as sensitive, or records may be withheld for an extended period of time (see ‘Embargo periods for new data’ above). For example, it might be desirable to restrict access to a small biocontrol agent population to prevent disturbance or over-harvesting. Once the biocontrol agent population is firmly established and abundant, the restriction can be relaxed.
Requests to change embargo periods can be directed to a Project administrator. The ALA also has a sensitive data service to lessen the accuracy of location data for sensitive species records.

For further information on managing sensitive data go to:

Licensing data

The ALA requires that each dataset be licensed in a way that ensures researchers and the community are able to reuse data that you submit. The preferred license (and default) is the Creative Commons Attribution license, where users of your data are required to attribute their use of the data appropriately.

Using biocontrol information and data

The Biocontrol Hub has a wealth of information and resources that can be used with appropriate attribution.
Extension materials
The Biocontrol Hub consolidates factsheets, videos and other useful biocontrol references from a wide range of sources. General information can be found on the Biocontrol Hub home-page. Specific information on weeds and their biocontrol agents can be found on the Resources page for the weed project of interest.

Accessing data

Biocontrol agent data can be viewed by clicking on the Hub or Project “Data” tab, or by searching the species on the ALA. The ALA species profile will include text descriptions, images, location information, taxonomic details and links to academic literature. Explore the ALA site and learn how to use data

Mapping and data analysis tools on the ALA:
The ALA provides powerful mapping and data analysis tools free-of-charge. These simple to use tools can produce distribution maps for biocontrol agents and target weeds. Browse or view the helpful user guides;

Citing data and pages on the ALA

Guidelines on citing data, the Biocontrol Hub, or individual weed project pages can be found at