The Ebbe Nielsen Challenge, GBIF’s annual incentive prize, will build on efforts to understand, examine and address gaps and biases in open-access biodiversity data from the GBIF network.
When the Challenge offically opens on 29 July 2016, individuals and teams can submit their innovative concepts and compete for first- and second-prizes of €20,000 and €5,000, respectively, with the winners annnounced at GB23, GBIF’s annual Governing Board meeting, in Brasília on 26 October 2016.
This year’s emphasis on data gaps and biases builds in part on the growing body of scientific research that draws attention to various geographic, taxonomic, temporal, habitat and other gaps and biases in GBIF-mediated data. Two recent GBIF publications—the first on best practices for data gap analysis, the second on a task group report on fitness for use in distribution modelling—have highlighted many of these investigations.
“We expect that data users and data holders will all benefit from emphasizing the topic of gaps in this year’s Ebbe Nielsen Challenge,” said GBIF executive secretary Donald Hobern. “Data users need help in gauging whether data are suitable and sufficiently fit for use for their particular research questions. Meanwhile data holders—and funders—can gain from knowing critical temporal, spatial and other gaps so they can prioritize mobilization and digitization efforts.”
The distinguished jury for this year’s Challenge includes:
- Lars George, software engineer of open-source big-data technologies and cofounder of the consultancy OpenCore
- Sandra Knapp, head of plants division at the Natural History Museum, London
- Nicolas Noé, IT expert at the Belgian Biodiversity Platform and cofounder of Datafable, winners of the 2015 Ebbe Nielsen Challenge
- Rod Page, taxonomist at University of Glasgow’s Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine and chair of GBIF Science Committee
The period for submissions will run between 29 July and 29 September. Entrants will have to register all individual team members on DevPost, which will host all Challenge submissions and official rules. In the meantime, entrants may use the draft materials below to begin planning their submissions.
Preliminary overview: 2016 Ebbe Nielsen Challenge
The Challenge will ask entrants to explore and demonstrate how the approach used in their tools, methods and mechanisms apply to one or more of the following cases:
- Determining the completeness and consistency of data coverage for any taxonomic group at continental or global levels
- Providing a national view of the coverage and detail of available data for all taxa or particular taxonomic groups throughout the country.
- Providing a view of coverage and detail for other area types, such as environments (e.g., marine) or geographies (e.g., protected areas)
- Evaluating the data for an individual species to assess confidence in the completeness of coverage for that species
To be competitive, submissions should aim to include:
- Definition and analysis of a geographic, taxonomic, temporal or other gap in GBIF-mediated data
- Identification of the audience(s) affected by this gap and how addressing it will improve their use of or access to GBIF-mediated data
- One or more ways that the identified gaps can be used to identify data prioritization priorities or enhancements to GBIF solutions
- Potential for integration into the display of data on GBIF.org
Submissions will consist of three main elements:
- Entry details, including the names of all team members; identification of a lead team representative; the taxonomic, temporary, geographic and other ‘dimensions’ of gap(s) considered; key audience(s) and user groups served, and the objective of the entry.
- Narrative description, which defines the gap(s); justifies or provides evidence of its relevance; describes the tool, method or mechanism for addressing it; and the solution’s relevance to GBIF and/or GBIF.org
- Results, in the form of a prototype, demo, video or slides, along with any relevant technical requirements or implementation details.
The jury will evaluate eligible submissions on three criteria:
- Applicability: how relevant is the submission for addressing particular gaps or measures of completeness?
- Innovation: how creative and effective is the proposed tool, method or mechanism?
- Functionality: how well does the proposed solution work? How easily and reliably can it be integrated or linked with tools, services and/or workflows connected to GBIF.org and GBIF API?
The Challenge will be open to:
- Individuals who are at least the age of majority in the jurisdiction in which they reside as of the time of entry. Entries from individuals under the age of 18 require a letter of approval from a parent or guardian to be provided as part of the entry.
- Teams of eligible individuals (with no limit on the number of eligible individuals that may be included in a team)
- Organizations (including corporations, not-for-profit corporations and other nonprofit organizations, limited liability companies, partnerships, and other legal entities) that exist and have been organized or incorporated at the time of entry (“Organizations”)
The Challenge will NOT be open to:
- Members of the GBIF Secretariat
- Individuals currently under an external contract issued by the GBIF Secretariat
- Members of the GBIF Science Committee
- Heads of Delegation to GBIF
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