First Session of the IODE Steering Group for OBIS, 8-9 December 2011
The First Session of the IODE Steering Group for OBIS took place at the IOC Project Office for IODE, Oostende, Belgium on 8 and 9 December 2011. During this first Session, the primary emphasis for the meeting was the role for OBIS within IOC/IODE and the development of a sustainable business strategy for OBIS into the future. Specific goals were discussed within the UNESCO Mid-Term Strategy (2008-2013) and IOC/IODE program priorities. Short to long-term objectives were discussed, including linking with other biodiversity databases, relationships with new data providers, a metadata policy, multi-language platforms, and outreach and collaboration with other international programmes and initiatives. In addition, closer linkages to IODE programmes such as the Ocean Data Portal (ODP) and OceanTeacher will be established. A plausible approach for sustained operations of the Project Office will be included in the business plan to be completed by May.
Operational procedures and technical issues were also addressed as a part of the development of the 2012 work plan. Steering Group members presented node achievements, challenges and aims for 2012. The collaboration has achieved much, altogether, OBIS contains over 30 million records, from 1,000 datasets. In addition, the current resources available for the project office are not sufficient to continue operations as in the past. To help address this limitation, OBIS will operate as a distributed infrastructure of nodes with project office emphasis on leadership and coordination. A team-based approach to achieving network tasks was adopted to better engage the expertise of the nodes. The progress made by the technical working group to establish and maintain a distributed OBIS portal has been significant and steering group members were pleased at the progress made to date.
Recommendations and Decisions
- The SG-OBIS agreed that, regarding uptake in the scientific community, there should be a clear demonstration of the scientific value of OBIS; and that, if OBIS wants to maintain credibility within the scientific community, it needs a minimum participation in that community.
- The SG-OBIS recommended that OBIS nodes should promote OBIS, through e.g. participation in conferences, presenting posters, etc and to facilitate/enable the user community to use the data for publications and resource management.
- The SG-OBIS recommended that OBIS nodes should encourage users to provide feedback, and/or directly contact the Project Office with problems so that they can be quickly resolved.
- The SG-OBIS recommended to create a private section for SG-OBIS to list FAQs and also compile feedback, document issues and compile user requests related to enhancements.
- The SG-OBIS agreed on the OBIS Terms of Reference for various organizational elements, as drafted during the Ad Hoc OBIS SG meeting.
- The SG-OBIS recommended that in some cases where no relevant OBIS nodes exist, and in the view of the current OBIS funding situation, attempts should be made by the Project Office to defer datasets as much as possible to nodes and not take responsibility to load data directly into the OBIS holdings
- The SG-OBIS agreed to revise the document ‘Roles and Responsibilities of Regional OBIS Nodes’, which contains expectations from nodes under the Census of Marine Life, and to address the responsibilities within IOC/IODE. On the basis of the revised document, it will be possible to formalize the current list of OBIS Nodes.
- The SG-OBIS officially elected Dr Mark Fornwall as the SG-OBIS chair.
- The SG-OBIS recommended that the term of the chair not exceed 4-6 years but the position description for the chair was not defined.
- The SG-OBIS recommended to elect an SG-OBIS co-chair to represent the chair when unavailable and to launch a nomination and election process in 2012.
- The SG-OBIS agreed to informally establish an executive committee composed of members of the SG-OBIS, to follow up on issues on behalf of the Steering Group. Issues discussed by the executive committee should be shared with the SG-OBIS and the SG-OBIS will review the establishment of this committee at the next session
- The SG-OBIS agreed to establish informal technical groups for large tasks, someone would agree to serve as champion for the task would become the facilitator for the work and coordinate with the Project Office.
- The SG-OBIS recommended to develop a business plan to establish priorities, develop a strategy to address the priorities and a mechanism to keep the network sustainable.
- The SG-OBIS recommended to develop and implement a strategy for the establishment of Global Partners
- The SG-OBIS agreed to that OBIS needs a mechanism to address confidential fisheries data & and a policy for its later release.
- The SG-OBIS recommended to analyse the overall data resource and determine strengths and weakness/gaps anddevelop an action to exploit strengths and correct weakness/gaps.
- The SG-OBIS agreed that a mechanism is needed to collect, coordinate and act on customer feedback throughout the entire network.
- The SG-OBIS recommended to investigate better ways of cleaning data and assure better quality data is submitted to iOBIS. Currently data cleaning is a major effort at the Project Office.
- The SG-OBIS agreed to organize data according to Node IDs so that each dataset has a data steward (Node). An overall plan is needed to include older data sets, data submitted by CoML projects etc.
- The SG-OBIS recommended to make metadata multilingual
- The SG-OBIS recommended multiple credits for a single dataset (creator, aggregator, others?)
- The SG-OBIS recommended a consolidated approach to metadata; use live links, crosswalks between different metadata types.
- The SG-OBIS recommended to develop a mechanism to receive, evaluate, prioritize, and respond to technical requests from the nodes.
- The SG-OBIS agreed that OBIS needs to explore the opportunities to employ social media
- The SG-OBIS recommended to develop a mechanism to extract/provide data from OBIS for use by members and developing nations
- The SG-OBIS recommended to develop a Node Tool Kit, including a ticketing system for requests, a document sharing functionality, a place to share announcements for funding opportunities or share proposals, share customer feedback, etc.
- The SG-OBIS recommended the following issues for the GE-OBIS:
- Develop a strategy to optimize RON2OBIS2RON data flow. Specific goals should include: enhance quality, minimize delays, improve functionality
- OBIS 2 GIBF data flow, and OBIS 2 GEOBON data flow, evaluate current status and plans and provide advice on how to position OBIS in relation to these broader communities
- Develop a RON handbook that includes suggestions on improving data quality.
- Develop recommendations on the automation of data assembly from RON 2 iOBIS.
- Evaluate current status and plans for the move of the data systems to Oostende & Hyderabad servers provide recommendations on future direction for OBIS operations based on the evolving architecture.