OBIS Nodes are either national projects, programmes, institutes or organizations, National Ocean Data Centers or regional or international projects, programmes and institutions or organization that carry out data management functions. OBIS nodes are responsible for representing all aspects of OBIS within a particular region or taxonomic domain. The node is intended to establish relationships with key data providers within their geographical (or taxonomic) area of responsibility and bring data and corresponding meta data into the global database to be shared with the OBIS community. Nodes are responsible for all aspects of the data from gaining permission to provide access to the data, to ensuring a certain level of data quality and for the transfer of these datasets to the global OBIS database. In addition, Nodes provide support for the full implementation of OBIS worldwide by serving on the IODE Steering Group for OBIS and any relevant Task Teams. Each node may also maintain a data presence on the Internet representing their specific area of responsibility.
The OBIS system architecture is structured on the basis of three tiers of OBIS nodes. At tier I is the aggregate global database and is managed by the project office in Ostend (Belgium). Tier I is also responsible for providing data access, web services, statistics and data products. Tier II nodes are responsible for many of the quality control and other data management tasks that were originally born by the global database. This helps to reduce the cost born by the Project Office and build a stronger network capacity. An added benefit of this structure is the ability to accept tier III nodes. These tier III nodes are willing participants in adding data to the OBIS network, but may not have the expertise or resource base to meet all of the responsibilities of a tier II node. The addition of tier III nodes provides two added benefits to the network. First, expanded capacity for reaching out to the science community and second an opportunity for larger tier II nodes to mentor smaller or new member nodes. Tier II and III nodes will coordinate outreach to respective data providers. Only Tier II and global thematic taxonomic Nodes would feed the global dataset directly.
Terms of Reference of OBIS nodes
- Receiving or harvesting marine biodiversity data (and metadata) from national, regional and international programs, and the scientific community at large, and from tier III nodes by tier II nodes, and from tier II nodes by tier I nodes
- Perform data validation (using standards, tools and best practices), as described in the OBIS manual (Tier II)
- Reporting the results of quality control directly to data collectors/originator (or tier III node) as part of the quality assurance activity
- Making data (and metadata) available to OBIS using agreed upon standards and formats which are described in the OBIS Manual (Tier II), making data available to tier II nodes (Tier III)
- Become a member of the IODE steering group for OBIS, attend the SG-OBIS annual meeting and report on node activities
- Provide indicators on up-time, responsiveness and data processed by nodes and present a report to SG-OBIS
- Customer support (data queries, analyses, feedback).
- Outreach and Capacity Building (i.e., providing expertise, training and support in data management, technologies, standards and best practices).
- Comply with the IOC/OBIS data policy for using and sharing OBIS data
- Build customized data portals (optional)
- Engage in stakeholder groups (recommended)
- Contribute to the development of standards and best practices in OBIS (recommended)
- Contribute to the development of open-source tools in OBIS (recommended)
- Ensuring the long-term preservation of the data, metadata and associated information required for correct interpretation of the data (including version-control) (recommended)
How to become an OBIS node
OBIS nodes now operate under the IODE network as either National Oceanographic Data Centres (NODCs) or Associate Data Unites (ADUs). Prospective nodes are required to apply to the IODE for membership.
The procedure to become an OBIS node is as follows:
- If you are an existing NODC (within the IODE network) and the OBIS node activities fall under the activities of the NODC:
- Send a letter expressing your interest to become an OBIS node (including contact information of the OBIS node manager, and geographical/thematic scope of your OBIS node)
- If you are not an existing NODC:
- Email your application form to become an IODE Associate Data Unit (ADU), with a specific role as OBIS node. Applications for ADU membership in OBIS shall be reviewed by the IODE Officers in consultation with the IODE Steering Group for OBIS.