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      Facing e-Biodiversity Challenges Together: GBIO framework-based synergies between DiSSCo and LifeWatch ERIC

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          Abstract

          The collaboration between LifeWatch ERIC and DiSSCo (Distributed System of Scientific Collections), both pan-European research infrastructures focusing on biodiversity, can be achieved in a number of ways. The direct initiation of this collaboration can be carried out through their joint support to GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility). This approach will facilitate meeting GBIF’s overall objective stated as: “Connecting data and expertise: a new alliance for biodiversity knowledge” (Hobern and Miller 2019). LifeWatch ERIC supports GBIF in a collaborative way by integrating and providing e-Services according to Global Biodiversity Informatics Outlook (GBIO) Framework objectives (Fig. 1), particularly suitable for the Understanding focus area. This concentrates on building modeled representations of biodiversity patterns and properties, based on any possible evidence, using the following components: Multiscale species modelling; Trends and predictions; Modelling biological systems; Visualization and dissemination; Prioritizing new data capture. In this regard, and during the 2nd Global Biodiversity Information Conference, LifeWatch ERIC actively participated in one of the four parallel working groups reviewing different components from the GBIO framework. Each component was selected to capture information on a broad range of different challenges and opportunities. At the same event, DiSSCo mainly focused on the Data layer, as the main provider of data and other types of collections resources in Europe. The Evidence layer is the fertile interface to develop sound synergies for collaboration by both research infrastructures in order to support GBIF through the development of 3 concrete activities: Participation in the co-design, development and deployment of a multi-purpose Virtual Research Environment (VRE) to support DiSSCo, specifically by integrating the collections e-Services and by engaging the various communities of practice; Participation in the co-design and co-implementation of relevant e-Services in LifeBlock (LifeWatch ERIC blockchain-based technology platform); The active participation of DiSSCo for integrating collections data: DiSSCo is one of the main resources needed for the integration of GLOBIS-B GLOBal Infrastructures for Supporting Biodiversity work on Essential Biodiversity Variables (EBVs) (Kissling et al. 2018). Thus, EBVs together with species traits will be integrated into LifeBlock platform in order to feed Ecosystem Services needed to further support Biodiversity Ecosystem Services VRE provided by LifeWatch ERIC distributed e-Infrastructure.

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          Towards global data products of Essential Biodiversity Variables on species traits

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            Global Biodiversity Informatics Outlook: Delivering biodiversity knowledge in the information age

            The Global Biodiversity Informatics Outlook helps to focus effort and investment towards better understanding of life on Earth and our impacts upon it. It proposes a framework that will help harness the immense power of information technology and an open data culture, to gather unprecedented evidence about biodiversity and to inform better decisions. Much progress has been made in the past ten years to fulfil the potential of biodiversity informatics. However, it is dwarfed by the scale of what is still required. The Global Biodiversity Informatics Outlook (GBIO) offers a framework for reaching a much deeper understanding of the world’s biodiversity, and through that understanding the means to conserve it better and to use it more sustainably. The GBIO identifies four major focal areas, each with a number of core components, to help coordinate efforts and funding. The co-authors, from a wide range of disciplines, agree these are the essential elements of a global strategy to harness biodiversity data for the common good.
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              An alliance for biodiversity knowledge: Rethinking international collaboration in biodiversity informatics

              There has been major progress over the last two decades in digitising historical knowledge of biodiversity and in making biodiversity data freely and openly accessible. Interlocking efforts bring together international partnerships and networks, national, regional and institutional projects and investments and countless individual contributors, spanning diverse biological and environmental research domains, government agencies and non-governmental organisations, citizen science and commercial enterprise. However, current efforts remain inefficient and inadequate to address the global need for accurate data on the world's species and on changing patterns and trends in biodiversity. Significant challenges include imbalances in regional engagement in biodiversity informatics activity, uneven progress in data mobilisation and sharing, the lack of stable persistent identifiers for data records, redundant and incompatible processes for cleaning and interpreting data and the absence of functional mechanisms for knowledgeable experts to curate and improve data. The first Global Biodiversity Informatics Conference (GBIC) in 2012 delivered the Global Biodiversity Informatics Outlook (GBIO, Hobern et al. 2012), an architectural vision for the major components of a distributed global infrastructure for biodiiversity information, but realigning the work of existing organisations and projects to achieve this vision remains challenging. Recognising the need for greater alignment between efforts at all scales, the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) convened the second Global Biodiversity Informatics Conference (GBIC2) in July 2018 to propose a coordination mechanism for developing shared roadmaps for biodiversity informatics. GBIC2 attendees reached consensus on the need for a global alliance for biodiversity knowledge, learning from examples such as the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH) and the open software communities under the Apache Software Foundation. These initiatives provide models for multiple stakeholders with decentralised funding and independent governance to combine resources and develop sustainable solutions that address common needs. GBIF was asked to coordinate next steps following GBIC2, including publication of a paper, Connecting data and expertise: a new alliance for biodiversity knowledge (Hobern et al. 2019). The supplementary materials for the paper include PDF brochures explaining the concept in eleven languages. During 2019, GBIF is coordinating further consultations to establish an optimal model for the governance and operations of the alliance and to advance collaboration around some of the major building blocks of the GBIO. Collaboration at this scale, and across all aspects of biodiversity information, is essential for effective delivery of important information products such as the Essential Biodiversity Variables and the planned pan-European natural history collections infrastructure, DiSSCo. This presentation explains the goals for this alliance and updates on progress during 2019 in operationalising the concept.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Biodiversity Information Science and Standards
                BISS
                Pensoft Publishers
                2535-0897
                August 08 2019
                August 08 2019
                : 3
                Article
                10.3897/biss.3.38554
                © 2019

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