Programme seeks Biodiversity Open Data Ambassadors to expand best practices

Volunteer experts needed to advocate for access and use of free, FAIR and open data about life on Earth

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Dr Jean C. Ganglo of University of Abomey-Calavi and GBIF Benin, speaking in Cape Town, 13 April 2018. Photo via Flickr

The GBIF network has initiated a new programme aimed at supporting a corps of experts who promote free and open access to biodiversity data. During its initial quiet phase, the Biodiversity Open Data Ambassadors has already recruited 42 professionals from 19 countries representing each of GBIF’s six regions.

Apply to become a Biodiversity Open Data Ambassador

View current list of Biodiversity Open Data Ambassadors

The programme aims to expand and reinforce the GBIF network, with a particular interest in building relationships in scientific research and policy communities where GBIF has been poorly represented. By leveraging their speaking opportunities at relevant conferences, workshops and other networking events, Ambassadors can share their experience and express their own commitment to free, FAIR and open data.

“We’re confident that the Biodiversity Open Data Ambassadors programme can further expand the domains and geographies represented in the GBIF network,” said Joe Miller, GBIF executive secretary. “Ambassadors can contribute to a wider understanding and appreciation of GBIF, both as a research data infrastructure and a global community of practice. We hope the programme can support our champions while at the same time encouraging our network’s shared vision of a more open, transparent, reproducible and interoperable scientific culture.”

The programme is intended to recognize and support the active role that ambassadors have alongside the network’s node managers and staff, formal delegates, committee members and Secretariat staff. While these groups work tirelessly to promote GBIF’s mission and transform data culture towards more FAIR and open practice, it remains a comparatively small group that cannot reach all the relevant communities themselves.

The primary requirement for ambassadors is their commitment to advocate for open biodiversity data in at least one event, publication or process each year. The term of appointment is unlimited, though individuals may be required to reapply after any two-year period of inactivity.

In addition to serving as advocates in their own professional communities, Ambassadors are encouraged to help GBIF identify events and audiences where engagement can have an impact. They also provide a pool of experts who the GBIF Secretariat and GBIF nodes can tap to represent the network and promote open biodiversity data at specific events.

The GBIF Secretariat is developing dedicated resources to help ambassadors’ efforts, including presentation slides, talking points, posters, and support materials in both digital and print formats.

Those interested in applying to become a Biodiversity Open Data Ambassador can learn more on the ambassadors’ page, complete the application form or send inquiries, questions and suggestions to