2016 GBIF Ebbe Nielsen Challenge targets data gaps and biases

This year's annual incentive competition asks entrants to focus gaps and biases in open-access biodiversity data from the GBIF network.

With the launch of its dedicated site at http://gbif2016.devpost.com, the 2016 Ebbe Nielsen Challenge is officially open for submissions.

Individuals and teams now have two months to produce submissions and compete in this annual incentive competition. Closing date for submissions is 29 September 2016. GBIF will announce first- and second-prize winners—who will receive €20,000 and €5,000, respectively—at its annual Governing Board meeting in Brasília on 26 October 2016.

This year, the Ebbe Nielsen Challenge focuses attention on understanding, examining and addressing gaps and biases in open-access biodiversity data from the GBIF network. The topic is one of five priorities outlined in the GBIF 2017-2021 strategic plan, which acknowledges both the need and the potential for improving the completeness and coverage of GBIF-mediated data.

Targeting geographic, taxonomic, temporal, environmental and other gaps and biases in the available data can help meet user needs while prioritizing mobilization and digitization efforts. As a result, any Challenge entry, not just the winning ones, have the potential to play a significant role in improving the biodiversity data available for scientific research and policy.

This year’s emphasis also builds on a growing body of scientific research that details various geographic, taxonomic, temporal, habitat and other gaps and biases in GBIF-mediated data.

This year's expert 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 period for submissions will run between 29 July and 29 September. Complete rules, instructions and other materials are available on the 2016 Ebbe Nielsen Challenge site.

The Challenge honours the legacy of Ebbe Nielsen, a principal founder of GBIF who died unexpectedly while en route to the inaugural governing board session in 2001.

2016 GBIF Ebbe Nielsen Challenge: Mind the gaps

Detail (center) from neighbor-joining tree of barcode sequences, CC BY 2014 PLoS ONE Phylogeny