The Barcode of Life Student Data Portal: Supporting a National Network of Students in Cataloging Multicellular Life with DNA Barcodes

We present a series of key issues, challenges, and solutions associated with a classroom model of citizen science that engages a nationally distributed network of high school students (and other non-experts) in contributing professional quality biodiversity genomics data to the International Barcode of Life (iBOL) project. The successful implementation of this research-based educational model was significantly aided by the creation of the BOLD Student Data Portal (BOLDSDP), an open-access interface to the Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD) platform utilized by iBOL practitioners to create a digital genetic registry of Earth’s plants with DNA barcodes. By eliminating barriers associated with class management, data record assembly, data validation, and data publication, BOLD-SDP has created a remarkably effective pathway for secondary and postsecondary students to not only contribute to the landmark iBOL effort, but to engage in a constellation of 21st century science practices centered on data literacy and big data science.