Poland elevates commitment to GBIF by becoming Voting Participant

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Tatra Chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra tatrica)

Tatra Chamois, Kozica tatrzańska in Polish (Rupicapra rupicapra tatrica), Tatra mountains, Poland.

Poland has become GBIF’s 39th formal Voting Participant and the 19th full national member from Europe.

Łukasz Szumowski, Under-Secretary of State at the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) as a Voting Participant, adding Poland to the governments that contribute financially to GBIF’s core budget.

Poland’s representatives, led by Dr. Piotr Tykarski of the University of Warsaw, holding the positions of both Head of Delegation and Node Manager, can now also vote on collective decisions of the GBIF Governing Board.

Poland has been an active member as an Associate Participant since GBIF’s founding in 2001, and the Polish Biodiversity Information Network (PolBIN/KSIB), hosting the Polish Participant Node has been active since 2003.

This change in status marks an enhanced commitment by Poland to the shared global infrastructure that GBIF provides for the common good, enabling universal, free and open access to biodiversity data for research and policy.

PolBIN’s 22-member national network of data publishers already share 97 open-access occurrence datasets containing more than 1.6 million species occurrence records through GBIF.org. While nearly 90 per cent of data documents Poland’s own biodiversity, the remainder covers occurrences in more than 100 other countries, territories, and islands. Each month, users from around the world download an average of almost 26 million records provided by Polish institutions.

The country’s community of data users is also significant, with GBIF.org’s visitors from Poland ranking 19th among all countries. Polish-based researchers have also authored 28 peer-reviewed articles that use GBIF-mediated data since 2009. Many of the papers also acknowledge the support of the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education and National Science Centre.

Donald Hobern, Executive Secretary of GBIF, commented: “Poland’s decision to become a Voting Participant in GBIF is a great sign of the country’s commitment to open science and the benefits to all of sharing a common data infrastructure. We hope this will serve as an example to other countries in Europe and beyond as we seek the broadest-possible funding base to support the modest cost of GBIF’s core services.”

Polish Under-Secretary of State, Łukasz Szumowski said: “The Ministry recognises GBIF as an important initiative and international scientific project, bringing perspectives to enhance the availability of global biodiversity data. After the initial period of its activity, the Polish Participant Node and PolBIN/KSIB has proved their reliability and effectiveness in mobilising scientific data in our country. We hope that the full membership will enable Polish scientific institutions a significantly closer cooperation with GBIF, which would result in enhancing the usability and quality of biodiversity data available through the global network.”