According to a recent economic report published in the journal Research Ideas and Outcomes, digitizing London’s Natural History Museum’s entire collection could contribute over £2 billion over 30 years to the global economy.
The Natural History Museum, London, has been creating digital data about collections through its Digital Collections Programme since 2014. The Museum has 80 million items in its collection and has so far made over 4.9 million digitized specimens available freely online. More than 28 billion records have been downloaded over the past six years.
To explore the economic impacts of collections data, the Museum commissioned Frontier Economics to undertake modelling, which resulted in this report. The report entitled, “The Value of Digitising Natural History Collections,” predicts that investing in digitization of natural history museum collections could result in a seven to ten times return on investment. Specifically, investing around £200 million in digitization can result in benefits in the region of £1.4 billion–£2.2 billion.