A GBIF Participant node is a team designated by a Participant to coordinate a network of people and institutions that produce, manage and use biodiversity, collectively building an infrastructure for delivering biodiversity information. They are supported by organizational arrangements and informatics solutions, working to improve the availability and usefulness of biodiversity data for research, policy and decision-making. For countries, these networks aresometimes referred to as a biodiversity information facility.
—GBIF Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
As a formal member of GBIF, signatory countries and organizations agree to establish a coordinated effort that supports open access and use of biodiversity data, advances scientific research and promotes technological and sustainable development. These coordination points, or nodes, are typically placed within existing biodiversity-related institutions in a country or organization.
Nodes have four primary functions:
- Coordinating a community of initiatives relating to biodiversity, including connections across GBIF’s international network
- Promoting and supporting the mobilization of biodiversity data from the country’s institutions or the organization’s geographic, thematic or other interests
- Encouraging the reuse of the available data to support biodiversity-related science and support decision-making for sustainable development
- Providing expertise on biodiversity data management and improving data quality to support users’ needs
Nodes are thus knowledge hubs for both biodiversity data and broader GBIF-related activities. They not only guide stakeholders to relevant sources of biodiversity information but also to such things as:
- Policies relating to biodiversity and open access
- Expertise on how to run digitization programmes, to organize data management and to implement data quality practices
- Individual experts in different aspects of biodiversity
- Broader information about the landscape of biodiversity initiatives
Most nodes also develop a collaborative framework of policies, agreements, community norms and standards, which are adopted by their stakeholders to guide the publication, management and use of biodiversity data.
Details, including contact information, for the nodes maintained by each of our national organizational members are listed on the country page’s ‘Participation’ tab (e.g. Spain) and on main organizational participant pages (e.g. Plazi).
People make nodes work
When a member joins GBIF, the signatory designates a node manager to lead its operations and activities to coordinate mobilization and use of open-access biodiversity data. The node manager also represents the member on the GBIF Participant Node Managers Committee. Nodes have varying numbers of staff who contribute to fulfilling these efforts. The availability and performance of the technical infrastructure maintained by any node relies on its people.
The governance structure of each Participant node varies but often takes the form of a board or steering committee. This configuration enables data holders, users and other stakeholders to take collective decisions concerning the publishing and reuse of biodiversity data while providing the node with priorities and guidance on the implementation of its work.
Participant Nodes have the role of connecting the needs and interests of stakeholders like data holders, biodiversity knowledge experts, data users, and decision-makers, enabling them to contribute to and benefit from participation in the GBIF network.