1 Roles and Importance of GBIF Participant Nodes Juan C. BELLO Senior Programme Officer for Nodes GBIF Secretariat II Course on GBIF Node Management Arusha, Tanzania 31 st October and 1 st November 2008
2 SUMMARY 1. Introduction. 2. What is a GBIF Node 3. Establishing a functional Participant Node 4. Factors influencing the development of Nodes 5. Participant Nodes across borders: Regional and thematic collaborations 6. Teaming up with the GBIF Secretariat and the GBIF community 7. Evaluation and follow-up 8. Conclusions.
3 INTRODUCTION Understanding the role and scope of Nodes Evolving concept multiple interpretations and approaches Need for clarity across the GBIF membership Nodes are the cogs to make GBIF as successful global network What is required to implement a functional GBIF Node? Conclusions group discussion and final remarks The GBIF Secretariat, Denmark
4 INTRODUCTION At present, GBIF is facilitating access to more than 150 million biodiversity records is that enough?
5 INTRODUCTION Biodiversity data and information are scattered, heterogeneous resources difficult to access & use
6 INTRODUCTION Land-use planning Biosafety Traditional knowledge & Cultural diversity Conservation strategies Habitat restoration Access to genetic resources Biodiversity data and information Resource management (fisheries, forestry, etc.) Ecosystem goods and services Environmental impact assessment Sustainable development programmes Invasive species Research permits / planning
7 INTRODUCTION Complex institutional landscape Biodiversity-related... People and institutions that produce, use or need biodiversity data are numerous and very varied in terms of type, expectations, interests, capacity Research Institutes Universities Biological collections Conservation NGOs Environmental Authorities Private sector Practitiones Rural communities Policy & decision makers
8 INTRODUCTION Policy development and decision making Data and information Monitoring of status and trends of biodiversity Conservation and sustainable use
9 INTRODUCTION There is an enormous need for data and information to advance science and effectively support policy and decision making at various scales Coverage (taxonomic, geospatial, temporal, thematic) Quality (documentation level, completeness, verification) Quantity (enough to perform meaningful analyses) Accessibility Interoperability (across disciplines, platforms, environments) Relevance end user needs
10 INTRODUCTION Governments and biodiversity INGOs are increasingly recognising the importance of Implementing strategies to ensure effective access to and availability of biodiversity data Ensuring coordination among data holders, mostly in relation to research and data sharing activities Using data to guide critical decisions and actions in areas of social, political, economic, or environmental relevance Using information networks to bridge gaps between science, policy, and society
11 INTRODUCTION What is needed, then? Coordinating mechanism to appropriately deal with and engage all the relevant actors Technical assistance to expedite the publication of biodiversity data in the Internet make the data publication process easy and costeffective Demonstrate benefits from data publication to both data holders and users - case studies Framework for collaboration: institutional (e.g. policies, agreements) and technological (e.g. infrastructure)
12 HOW GBIF PARTICIPANT NODES FIT IN THIS CONTEXT?
13 What is a GBIF Node? As stated in the GBIF MoU, it is expected from GBIF Participants to establish a Node
14 What is a GBIF Node? But, what is a Participant Node? 1st GBIF MoU ( ): A stable computing gateway (...) or a single, web-accesible computer containing one or more significant maintained biodiversity databases 2nd GBIF MoU ( ): A mechanism by which a Participant coordinates and supports GBIF datasharing activities (...) includes both physical infrastructure and human resources
15 What is a GBIF Node? These definitions are somehow problematic... Main barriers to data sharing are sociological, rather than technological The term GBIF Node normally don t help building ownership, even less when combined with Data Provider Idea of a top-down model designed to provide data to GBIF Overemphasis in the mobilisation of data use & users of biodiversity data remain the dark side Need for a new, more encompassing concept...
16 In the GBIF WP09-10, a GBIF Participant Node has been defined as: An agency, unit or institution designated by a GBIF Participant to coordinate the development and activities of a biodiversity information facility or network at the Participant level (e.g. national, regional, or thematic)
17 A Biodiversity Information Facility (BIF) at the Participant level what s that?... A partnership primarily established to ensure effective access and availability of biodiversity data to address the information needs and priorities of the Participant (whether it is a country or an international organisation) Thus, a BIF should be functional and relevant to the participant (including the relevant people and organisations within its domain) It is not a GBIF office or branch it is established from bottomup, with a long term perspective, and using GBIF as the global framework
18 What is a GBIF Node? What are the main components of a Participant BIF? Data holders / originators / custodians Products & services Interactions Data users Collaborative framework & infrastructure Governance structure Coordinating unit
19 What is a GBIF Node? A Participant Node as the coordinating unit of a Biodiversity Information Facility (BIF)... The main role of a Participant Node is to promote, coordinate, and facilitate the mobilisation and use of biodiversity data among all the relevant stakeholders within the Participant s domain
20 A well established, functional Node helps the GBIF Participant to significantly increase the benefits from past, current, and future investments in biodiversity research and data collection
21 Establishing a functional Node When can we say that a Participant Node is functional (I)? a) helps the GBIF Participant to assess and address its own biodiversity information needs, b)actively engages data holders and users within the Participant s domain, c) assists the data holders to share and publish biodiversity data, d)helps building biodiversity informatics capacity at the Participant level,
22 Establishing a functional Node When can we say that a Participant Node is functional (II)? e) promotes and facilitates the development of applications to serve enduser needs, f) shares its capacity and experience with other Participant Nodes, particularly those in early stages of development, g) helps to implement and deploy the GBIF informatics infrastructure, and h) actively contributes to achieve GBIF s mission, targets, and goals.
23 Establishing a functional Node What do Nodes need to become functional (I)? a) A clear mandate (e.g. official or institutional) b) A well defined framework for collaboration, including policies, inter-institutional agreements, etc c) A team + infrastructure d) A well structured work plan, agreed with the relevant partners and funded
24 Establishing a functional Node What do Nodes need to become functional (II)? e) Adequate level of institutional and financial support f) Fluent communication between the Node s team and the members of the governance structure g) Access to the right set of tools, best practices, learning opportunities, and documentation
25 Establishing a functional Node Which features help Participant Nodes to become successful? a) Neutrality b) Service oriented c) Capacity problem solving skills d) Leadership and initiative
26 Who signed the GBIF MoU? Why? What are the main priorities of your participant? What are its motivations? Who pays for the maintenance of the Node? Who hosts the Node? KEY FACTORS SHAPING THE DEVELOPMENT OF PARTICIPANT NODES...
27 Node development factors Producing highly processed information Few partner types Very technical oriented Narrow scope in terms of data types PRIORITIES Publishing primary data c Data quantity = measure of success Little attention to potential uses or users Science (Research infrastructure) Environment (Policy & decision making) DRIVERS
28 Node development factors Producing highly processed information PRIORITIES Publishing primary data a Developed in the context of a research project or programme Very technical oriented Narrow scope in terms of data types Attention to data quality fitnes for analysis & modelling Scientific publication = main measure of success Science (Research infrastructure) Environment (Policy & decision making) DRIVERS
29 Node development factors Response to a mandate Wide range of partners Broad scope Producing highly processed information Provide technical support to decision making National / institional databases Publication of raw data Monitoring of status & trends of biodiversity Data completness thematic areas = main measure of success PRIORITIES Publishing primary data Science (Research infrastructure) d Environment (Policy & decision making) DRIVERS
30 Node development factors Producing highly processed information b PRIORITIES Response to a mandate, Wide range of partners Broad scope Linked to policy or official publications and reports Publishing primary data Biodiversity / environmental indicators Information products and services = main measure of success Science (Research infrastructure) Environment (Policy & decision making) DRIVERS
31 Node development factors Producing highly processed information a b PRIORITIES Is this the ideal for a fully functional Participant Node? Publishing primary data c d Finding a balance between drivers & priorities Science (Research infrastructure) DRIVERS Environment (Policy & decision making)
32 GBIF AS A NETWORK OF NETWORKS: REGIONAL & THEMATIC COLLABORATION
33 Regional & thematic collaboration Facilitating participation in multiple networks Inputs on contents, infrastructure and capacity building Political representation and management (v.g. HoD) Coordination and rechnical representation (v.g. Node Manager)
34 Regional & thematic collaboration Added Value at regional (ReBIFs) or thematic level (ThemeBIFs) Basic Unit= National networks Organisations can participate individually = coordination with national networks
35 Added value at the regional (ReBIFs) or thematic level (ThemeBIFs) Regional & thematic collaboration Contents: Common proposals development of specific contents framework for data mobilisation quality Combination of aggregated data + context information (e.g., display, analysis) Information products and services with a thematic/regional approach (targeted) Infrastructure Shared development/implementation of infrastructure Software tools adaptation Portals with added value at other levels (e.g., national or global) Participation Capacity Building (training, technical support, expertise and knowledge sharing, documentation, etc.) Regional networks: support the establishment and consolidation of national networks
36 WORKING WITH THE SECRETARIAT AND THE GBIF COMMUNITY: A FAST-TRACK FOR NODE DEVELOPMENT
37 Working with the Secretariat Implementation of a Participant BIF in the context of GBIF Collaborative framework & infrastructure Quick, easy, cost-efficient implementation and operation Recommendations on open access policies, standards, protocols, tools, etc. Tools, documentation, best practices, guidance, etc The GBIF Solution
38 Working with the Secretariat The GBIF Secretariat is there to help you! Technical guidance and advice One-line resource centre for Nodes Training Node2Node collaboration - Nodes community CEPDEC Distributed helpdesk
39 Working with the Secretariat The GBIF Secretariat is there to help you! Technical guidance and advice One-line resource centre for Nodes Training Node2Node collaboration - Nodes community CEPDEC Distributed helpdesk
40 Working with the Secretariat Are you making use of these opportunities? Active participation in the Nodes Committee Response to GBIF calls Interact with your pairs Check the GBIF portal for new information Get more into biodiversity informatics: become an expert! Leadership is the key!
41 HOW TO MEASURE PROGRESS IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF A NODE?
42 Evaluation & follow - up Why, how, and what to evaluate? Identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities & risks Nodes reports help with such evaluation Simple measures of status development Essential for strategies / work plans Is the Node overcoming barriers? Is developing in the right direction? It should be a collective exercise at the Participant level it should have an impact: real solutions
43 Evaluation & follow - up Nodes Status Index: An emerging idea MEMBERSHIP TIME % TOTAL RECORDS LEVEL OF DEVELOPMENT NODE PARTNERSHIP SPREAD SUCCESS OVERCOMING MAJOR BARRIERS CONTENT MOBILISATION TREND MANDATE ACTIVITY COVERAGE 2008 FUNDING 2008 NODE STAFF CAPACITY FUNDING 2009 TEAM COMPLETENESS TOTAL TEAM SIZE FULL TIME POSITIONS
44 Evaluation & follow - up Example of the Nodes Status Index - Latin America MEMBERSHIP TIME % TOTAL RECORDS LEVEL OF DEVELOPMENT NODE PARTNERSHIP SPREAD SUCCESS OVERCOMING MAJOR BARRIERS CONTENT MOBILISATION TREND MANDATE ACTIVITY COVERAGE 2008 FUNDING 2008 NODE STAFF CAPACITY FUNDING 2009 TEAM COMPLETENESS TOTAL TEAM SIZE FULL TIME POSITIONS Average calculated on data from 5 Nodes
45 Evaluation & follow - up Example of the Nodes Status Index Spain MEMBERSHIP TIME % TOTAL RECORDS LEVEL OF DEVELOPMENT NODE PARTNERSHIP SPREAD SUCCESS OVERCOMING MAJOR BARRIERS CONTENT MOBILISATION TREND MANDATE ACTIVITY COVERAGE 2008 FUNDING 2008 NODE STAFF CAPACITY FUNDING 2009 TEAM COMPLETENESS TOTAL TEAM SIZE FULL TIME POSITIONS Blue represents the average for Europe
46 Evaluation & follow - up Example of the Nodes Status Index - Ghana MEMBERSHIP TIME % TOTAL RECORDS LEVEL OF DEVELOPMENT NODE PARTNERSHIP SPREAD SUCCESS OVERCOMING MAJOR BARRIERS CONTENT MOBILISATION TREND MANDATE ACTIVITY COVERAGE 2008 FUNDING 2008 NODE STAFF CAPACITY FUNDING 2009 TEAM COMPLETENESS TOTAL TEAM SIZE FULL TIME POSITIONS Blue represents the average for Africa
47 Moving GBIF from prototype to full operation can be achieved only if most GBIF Participants are actively involved, which means, among other things, establishing and maintaining functional Nodes with a long term perspective.
48 Conclusions a) Participant Nodes can be very useful and relevant for GBIF Members can help addressing key needs b) As such, Nodes should be established in response to the Participant priorities and expectations c) The role of a Node makes more sense when it is set in the context of a biodiversity information facility or network d) Main barriers to data sharing are sociological, rather than technological: A node should be well equipped to sort this barriers out e) To be functional, a Node needs not only a mandate, but also capacity and support f) Neutrality, service-oriented, leadership, and excellent communication are the key!
49 As a way of conclusion... it is essential that all GBIF members will see this [GBIF] as a partnership. So the Secretariat Staff has to be very conscious about this: that they are not the top of an hierarchical system but are servants to the partnership The next problem is to make sure that national agencies, who are nodes, should also see themselves as servants to a national partnership. Jon Fjeldså Copenhagen Zoological Museum GBIF Outreach & Capacity Building Subcommittee
50 Roles and Importance of Nodes in GBIF Juan C. BELLO Senior Programme Officer for NODES GBIF Secretariat Universitetsparken 15 DK-2100 Copenhagen, Denmark Tel: Fax: Web: II Course on GBIF Node Management Arusha, Tanzania 31 st October and 1 st November 2008