GBIF to target data quality and fitness-for-use in 2014

The new GBIF work programme sets out plans to help users assess which data shared through the network are best suited for particular research and policy needs.

GBIF will directly address long-standing concerns about the quality of biodiversity data published through the network, in its work programme for the coming year.

Data quality and persistence, as well as priorities for mobilizing new data, and improved information resources, are among the major themes of the programme approved by the GBIF Governing Board, and now available as a public document.

The activities defined for 2014 are part of a three-year work programme following the main imperatives of the GBIF Strategic Plan 2012-16: advancing the content, informatics and engagement underpinning GBIF’s services to science and society.

Deliverables planned for 2014 include:

  • Processes to allow all datasets and records to have stable identifiers;

  • Tools to support data citation needs for publishers and users;

  • Machine-readable licenses and guidelines on data usage;

  • Engagement of expert communities and portal upgrades to assess and report data quality and fitness-for-use for data shared through GBIF;

  • Identification of content mobilization priorities, through collaboration with partners, including the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem services (IPBES);

  • Evaluation of models to identify and curate reference datasets within the GBIF network for particular research and assessment needs;

  • Demonstration of mobilization of sample-based data, for example data on the abundance of species from standard survey methods and protocols;

  • A comprehensive communication strategy and set of essential documents and information resources for GBIF stakeholders;

  • Guidance and planning for national biodiversity information facilities.

The executive secretary of GBIF, Donald Hobern, commented: “GBIF has proved itself as a well-functioning infrastructure making significant volumes of biodiversity data accessible to a growing body of users in research and policy – now through a much-improved portal.

“Now we are in a good position to tackle the issues rightly highlighted by many users about the quality, completeness and fitness-for-use of the data shared through our global community of publishers. These are constant challenges for a network based on open access and sharing of data from very diverse sources.

“I believe the measures set out in the coming work programme, combined with continuing services for GBIF Participants and users, will take us forward significantly to improve our effectiveness in serving data relevant to the needs of scientists and decision makers as they address the big questions relating to the diversity of life on the planet.”