Fith Session of the IODE Steering Group for OBIS (SG-OBIS-V) 25-27 May 2016
The 5th session of the IODE Steering Group for the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS) was held 25-27 May 2016 at the IOC Project Office for IODE in Oostende, Belgium.
During the intersessional period, 4.5 million species occurrences were added to OBIS to a total of 46.5 million and 3 new OBIS nodes joined our network. The OBIS network of data providers now consists of 600 institutions linked to 27 national, regional or thematic OBIS nodes. The OBIS secretariat has been able to develop new online tools and applications including a new OBIS website driven by a robust Application Programming Interface (API) available for further development by OBIS Nodes. OBIS is increasingly being used for scientific studies and contributed to global assessments such as the first World Ocean Assessment. The 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly recognized the contribution of OBIS to marine scientific research.
The impact and expectations from OBIS to serve the community as a global data sharing and clearing house for marine biodiversity and ecosystem data are growing rapidly. OBIS becomes more and more involved with other IOC programmes, e.g. through the new panel on Biology and Ecosystems of the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) as well as the two new IOC Ocean Science working groups related to time series data. OBIS is also a key player in other international initiatives, such as the Marine Biodiversity Observation Network (MBON) of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO), and continues to support the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). In order to prepare OBIS for this increased role, the IODE pilot project: Expanding OBIS with environmental data (OBIS-ENV-DATA), has now developed a proposed data standard, which should enable OBIS to become the primary access point for combined biological and concurrent environmental data as well as supporting direct linkage between OBIS and other repositories for environmental data. This is an important enhancement to OBIS and will allow OBIS to support GOOS and GEO in the management of Essential Ocean/Biodiversity Variables.
The increasing importance OBIS gains on the international arena generates extra workload on the secretariat as well as on the national/regional OBIS nodes. Therefore, further developing the capacity on the ground, through training the OBIS network of data managers and scientists in data standards and best practices remains a top priority, in order to increase data quality and ensure equitable participation of all Member States in OBIS. Several training courses were organized, such as the Ocean Teacher OBIS course at the IOC Project Office for IODE and those organized by the OBIS network members as part of initiatives such as the IOC Harmful Algal Bloom programme and the Sustainable Ocean Initiative of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
The OBIS steering group elected Dr Sky Bristol (USGS/OBIS-USA) as the new SG-OBIS co-chair, co-chairing together with Prof Eduardo Klein (USB-Venezuela/OBIS Caribbean), and adopted 44 decisions and recommendations that will further guide the OBIS development.
Decisions and Recommendations
ELECTION NEW CO-CHAIR OBIS STEERING GROUP
- The SG-OBIS accepted the resignation of Dr Bruno Danis as SG-OBIS co-chair and thanked him for his contribution and dedication to OBIS for more than ten years.
- The SG-OBIS elected Mr Sky Bristol (USGS/OBIS-USA) to become the new SG-OBIS co-chair and thanked him for taking up this new role.
OBIS AND WORLD OCEAN DATABASE
OBIS AND GBIF
- The SG-OBIS requested the OBIS nodes to go to the GBIF data set directory provided in the https://github.com/iobis/gbif-marine page and make efforts to harvest the data from the providers IPT into their nodes or instruct the iOBIS to harvest directly upon agreement by the GBIF publisher.
- The SG-OBIS recommended the OBIS Secretariat to look into potential new OBIS nodes based on marine publishers in GBIF for areas where OBIS lacks coverage.
OBIS AND IPBES
- Related to IOC-XXVIII/Dec.6.1 (Encourages the increased participation of IOC in the work of the IPBES through OBIS and other relevant IOC programmes), SG-OBIS recommended IOC-UNESCO to sponsor a writing workshop of the IPBES global assessment, coordinated by OBIS and recommended to prepare a concept note for such an IPBES workshop, which could relate to an OBIS data analysis hackathon event.
OBIS AND BBNJ
- SG-OBIS recommended SG members to engage with their national delegations to the IOC to convey the strong position OBIS plays in relation to marine biodiversity data for decision analysis. Focus could be on the following:
- OBIS provides foundational technology and methodology for robust data integration, products, and services.
- OBIS is fundamentally a science mission and serves as a neutral party with regard to laws and regulations.
OBIS NODE REPORTS
- The SG-OBIS urged all nodes to review the dataset harvest and QC reports, prepared by the OBIS secretariat, and make corrections where necessary.
- The SG-OBIS requested the Asian OBIS nodes, led by SEAOBIS and OBIS Japan, to develop a strategy to strengthen the network of data providers and OBIS nodes in their region.
- The SG-OBIS requested the African OBIS nodes, in collaboration with the OBIS Secretariat, to write a letter to the African National Coordinating Bodies for Liaison with the IOC and IODE national coordinator for data management to encourage the sharing of the RV Nansen biogeographic data with the African OBIS nodes.
- The SG-OBIS recommended that node managers use the “Data Queue” GitHub repository (https://github.com/iobis/dataqueue) to document new datasets identified by OBIS Nodes for future integration as a mechanism for sharing planned and current activities and coordinating where necessary/possible.
- The SG-OBIS requested all OBIS nodes to provide regular reports about their activities and partnerships to feed a dedicated webpage that links activities to OBIS nodes and external partners.
- Considering that there are nodes that have not reported any activity nor communicated with the Secretariat, the SG-OBIS agreed to prepare a document on a node exit strategy and to seek guidance from IODE officers.
OBIS GOVERNANCE TASK TEAM (GovTT)
- The SG-OBIS agreed that the SG-OBIS Chair should also be the Chair of the GovTT, and appointed Prof Eduardo Klein.
- The SG-OBIS decided to expand the OBIS Executive Committee to include not only the SG-OBIS co-chairs, the OBIS project manager and the OBIS data manager, but also the Task Team chairs, and to meet (virtually) at least once per month to review progress of the work plan.
OBIS DATA TASK TEAM (DataTT)
- The SG-OBIS decided to adopt the list of 7 required terms from the Darwin Core, with more detailed specifications provided in the OBIS Darwin Core Manual.
- The 7 required terms are:
- The SG-OBIS recommended to increase interaction between OBIS and the GOOS BioEco panel to better understand developing concepts of Biological and Ecosystem Essential Ocean Variables (EOVs) and to investigate OBIS data capabilities in relation to EOVs.
- The SG-OBIS welcomed the progress made by the OBIS-ENV-DATA IODE pilot project, and recommended, upon submission of the final report to the 24th session of the IOC committee on IODE in March 2017, to ask the Committee for an extension of the 2-year pilot project and develop an implementation plan to operationalize OBIS-ENV-DATA.
- The SG-OBIS recommended that the OBIS-ENV-DATA IODE pilot project should investigate what would be required to design and verify compatibility with Climate and Forecast Conventions.
OBIS CAPACITY DEVELOPMENT TASK TEAM (TrainingTT)
- The SG-OBIS recommended to the TrainingTT to keep track of actual contributions and actions from the trainees (e.g. 6 months – 1 year after each training course) and encourage people afterwards to remain actively involved in OBIS.
- The SG-OBIS agreed there is a need to train at every level, from data collector to data publisher, on OBIS data standards and best practices and recommended that OBIS nodes offer or promote training opportunities to members of their communities (data managers, data providers, data custodians, volunteers and students).
- The SG-OBIS recommended providing specific training for Tier-2 node managers and Tier-3 nodes separately. The projected outcome is improved data content at source which should result in decrease in effort and time for an OBIS node to process and publish data to their IPT and share with OBIS.
- The SG-OBIS reiterated their recommendation at SG-OBIS-IV that OBIS Nodes are encouraged to share information about local training presentations with the OBIS secretariat and/or the OBIS CD task team. In addition, SG-OBIS encouraged the OBIS nodes to share links to their guidelines with the broader network of nodes as recommended procedures adopted by one node may be of interest to others and/or may be incorporated into the official OBIS manual.
- The SG-OBIS decided that all OBIS training course material is shared on the OceanTeacher website, any new guidelines to be posted on the OBIS manual and short “how-to” tutorial videos to be published on the OceanTeacher YouTube Channel. However, the OBIS Github (https://github.com/iobis) will the repository for all technical and training material, which can be used in the OBIS manual and Ocean Teacher website.
- The SG-OBIS recommended to update the OBIS manual with guidelines on OBIS-ENV-DATA standards and best practices as soon as these are available.
OBIS TAXONOMY TASK TEAM (TaxTT)
- Considering that there is a small percent of taxon names that do not match with a name in the World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS), the SG-OBIS recommended adding a QC flag to all records with non-matching names and notifying node managers of the issues. The node manager may contact the Tax-TT to get help in matching the names. The OBIS secretariat will keep the full set of records, but present only fully compliant data in the portal and core information products (maps, etc.) using the QC flag. The full dataset must be downloadable from the dataset page on the OBIS website.
OBIS TECHNICAL TASK TEAM (TechTT)
- The SG-OBIS agreed on the following recommendations from the OBIS Technical Task Team: (i) Need for an architecture upgrade for better performance: clustering geo/db/web servers and adding cache, (ii) Upgrade PostgreSQL and Geoserver software, (iii) Organize a Technical Task Team meeting to provide a timeline for the developments, (iv) Provide the tools for developing regional views of OBIS, hosted at iOBIS. (v) Update the iOBIS database structure to be able to handle eMoF and species traits/attributes to support the continued research and development for OBIS-ENV-DATA.
- The SG-OBIS requested the TechTT to provide advice related to the establishment of a mirror at INCOIS by the sixth session of SG-OBIS.
OBIS SCIENCE ADVISORY TASK TEAM (SATT)
- The SG-OBIS recommended to plan an OBIS-Science Advisory Task Team (SATT) meeting back to back with the GOOS BioEco panel meeting, and tasked the SATT to form an ad-hoc expert team to make sure OBIS and GOOS Biology and Ecosystems developments stay aligned and OBIS is used to the extent possible for product and development based on the GOOS Essential Ocean Variables (EOVs).
OBIS COMMUNICATION AND OUTREACH TASK TEAM (OutreachTT)
- The SG-OBIS recommended to work with the past Census of Marine Life outreach team to develop guidelines on communication and outreach.
OBIS TRANSLATION TASK TEAM (TranslationTT)
- The SG-OBIS reiterated the necessity of having a multilingual website and requested the OBIS data manager to develop a mechanism for translating the content of the new website.
- The SG-OBIS recommended to translate the OBIS Manual into multiple languages (e.g. Spanish, French, Japanese, etc).
POTENTIAL NEW ACTIVITIES
DATA REPOSITORY FOR JOURNAL PUBLICATIONS
- The SG-OBIS recommended the OBIS secretariat to contact journal editors to request consideration in using OBIS standards and best practices in instructions to authors and cooperating with OBIS nodes in publishing biogeographic data.
OCEAN SAMPLING DAY 2015
- The SG-OBIS welcomed the suggestion from OBIS Canada and OBIS-SWP to document their work with iNaturalist to provide a guideline document for citizen science data by the end of 2016 and to prepare a recommendation for SG-OBIS-VI.
DATA RESCUE ACTIVITIES
- The SG-OBIS recommended OBIS nodes to share their guidelines on data archaeology projects with Nicolas Bailly (MedOBIS) and Mary Kennedy (OBIS Canada) who will provide a best-practices document by SG-OBIS-VI.
- The SG-OBIS recommended that the reference of the paper upon which a dataset is based is added to the metadata and that the OBIS secretariat provides an online list of those paper references with links to the datasets.
- The SG-OBIS agreed to use the GitHub data rescue repository (https://github.com/iobis/datarescue/issues) to record information about specific datasets identified for data rescue operations.
OBIS COMMUNITY LANDSCAPE MAPPING
- The SG-OBIS reiterated their recommendation of OBIS-IV (OBIS nodes should complete the contact information (addresses) of all data providers) and asked the OBIS Secretariat to provide a status report.
IDENTIFICATION OF KEY CLIENTS (AND THEIR NEEDS) FOR OBIS PRODUCTS
- The SG-OBIS recommended the SG-OBIS Co-chairs and TT-chairs to develop a draft business model canvas, to be presented for input of the SG at a webinar (November 2016).
- The SG-OBIS recommended OBIS nodes to share information on key clients and their needs for knowledge products, which can feed into the recommended business model canvas.
- The SG-OBIS recommended to link together the bibliography (Library tab in the new web site) into an annotated resource and tying it together with the use case gallery idea from the front page. Use GitHub to maintain the annotation content, opening it up to the OBIS nodes and broader community to contribute short “micro-articles” on the significant use of OBIS for particular publications. This would also offer a nice opportunity for community members to contribute multiple translations of the small articles.
- The SG-OBIS recommended the TT chairs and OBIS nodes managers to develop short concept notes of project proposals to be published at iobis.org/about/sponsor/.
- The SG-OBIS stressed the need for a permanent data manager for OBIS. Regular data harvesting, quality control, final data dissemination, and regular technology updates are full-time tasks and critical to the operation of the OBIS enterprise.
- The SG-OBIS expressed their appreciation to the Flanders Government (Kingdom of Belgium) and the Great Explorers (Canada) for their financial contributions made to IOC to support the international OBIS activities and reiterates IOC Decision XXVII/Dec.188.8.131.52 (OBIS) in which Member States are urged to provide cash contributions to the IOC Special Account for OBIS, to continue the two OBIS professional staff positions at the IODE Project Office, secondments to the IODE Project Office earmarked for OBIS, in-kind support such as hosting meetings or workshops with participant funding, or other means as agreed by the SG-OBIS.