Sixth Session of the IODE Steering Group for OBIS (SG-OBIS-VI) 1-3 February 2017, Okinawa, Japan
The 6th session of the IODE Steering Group for OBIS took place on 1-3 February 2017 and was kindly hosted by the Japanese OBIS node based at JAMSTEC’s Global Oceanographic Data Center (GODAC) in Nago, Okinawa (Japan). The meeting was attended by 31 participants from 17 countries representing 17 OBIS nodes.
The OBIS steering group welcomed the proposed OBIS-ENV-DATA standard for combined biological, environmental, and sampling methodology (documented in https://doi.org/10.3897/BDJ.5.e10989). However, the full and timely implementation of the OBIS-ENV-DATA standard will require additional resources at IODE-OBIS to develop the infrastructure to fully exploit and expose OBIS-ENV-DATA as well as develop the necessary documentation and training so all the OBIS nodes can take advantage of the new practice.
The OBIS capacity development strategy 2017-2021 was welcomed which proposes to adapt future training courses according to the needs of different target groups, in which the OBIS nodes and OBIS trainers are currently a priority. With support from IOC’s OceanTeacher Global Academy (OTGA) and its regional training centres, at least 7 OBIS training courses will be organized in 2017. All the training material is freely available through the OceanTeacher e-learning platform. Of interest is the decision from the CBD/COP13 (decision 12, December 2016), which requests the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to establish a partnership with OBIS to develop training opportunities to support the future description of Ecologically or Biologically Significant Areas and to link the EBSA repository with OBIS.
The success of OBIS depends on the active role of the OBIS nodes. A dedicated webpage will characterize the data contributions (from data provider to OBIS node) as well as technical, data product development and funding contributions of each OBIS node to the OBIS enterprise. Some OBIS nodes, however, have become inactive and the OBIS Steering Group adopted the OBIS node health status check and transition strategy as a process to follow up on those nodes and support them to find a solution. In addition, the Asian OBIS nodes have developed a strategy in which the development of a regional network will strengthen the local OBIS nodes.
Important technical developments will take place during the next intersessional period, in which a complete new OBIS infrastructure and technology stack (OBIS2.0) will be developed. This will enable OBIS to: (i) achieve near real-time data integration from OBIS Nodes, (ii) the ability to upscale the system, (iii) support data types beyond species occurrences (OBIS-ENV-DATA), (iv) improve on the real-time analytics capability for research and online applications, (v) allow limited embargo on data release and (vi) improve data traceability and provenance. The OBIS2.0 reengineering will require active contributions from technical partners in the OBIS network.
A powerful OBIS system is critical to stimulate research and development in which OBIS data services are used in developing new products that inform biodiversity status and trends, conservation status, and other metrics needed for CBD (specifically Aichi Targets), GOOS, GEO BON MBON, IPBES, SDG14 and other international initiatives. OBIS can still rely on active engagement and investment from its members in the OBIS network. However, there is a need to better balance project-based funding, which has the benefit of keeping the system moving in new and fresh ways, with the need for structural funding to ensure long-term stability.
Decisions and Recommendations
OPENING OF THE SESSION AND ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA
- The SG-OBIS adopted the agenda and time table with the inclusion of the proposal from EurOBIS to discuss branding of partner contributions.
- The SG-OBIS thanked JAMSTEC/GODAC for hosting and sponsoring the SG-OBIS-6 session.
OBIS NODE REPORTING
- SG-OBIS agreed to develop and maintain a partner web page (labelled: who we are) describing the technology partners, the sponsors, with a paragraph what each institution is contributing. And to add this to the menu as well as a link to this page in the footer.
- SG-OBIS requested IODE-OBIS to further develop the concept and specifications for OBIS node pages.
- SG-OBIS recommended that IODE-OBIS proceeds with the research and development of a graph representation of the OBIS network with the initial focus on characterizing data contributions (Data Provider to OBIS Node) and technical, data product development and funding contributions (OBIS Node to IODE-OBIS).
- The SG-OBIS recommended to use the data queue GitHub repository (https://github.com/iobis/dataqueue) to keep track of activities associated with (i) orphaned datasets (no OBIS node assigned: http://iobis.org/explore/#/node/0), (ii) new data set assignments to OBIS nodes and (iii) marine datasets in GBIF.
- The SG-OBIS agreed on the OBIS Node health status check and transition strategy for inactive OBIS Nodes (SG REPORT, ANNEX 2) and requested the following OBIS nodes: ESPOBIS, FishBase OBIS, KOBIS, MicrOBIS, OBIS China, PEGO-OBIS and WSAOBIS to submit an action plan within 3 months of notification by the OBIS Secretariat.
- The SG-OBIS welcomed the 4-point action plan put forward for coordinating and strengthening OBIS in Asia and recommended J-OBIS, OBIS China and SEAOBIS to proceed with this regional activity and report on the status at the next SG-OBIS session.
- The SG-OBIS recommended that guidance be issued advising OBIS Nodes of their ability to request endorsement by IODE-OBIS as GBIF Publishing Organisation. This would enable a clearer connection of the OBIS nodes within GBIF to OBIS.
- The SG-OBIS recommended OBIS Nodes who participate directly in GBIF governance to lend support to the following request for GBIF to implement: (i) A method to allow publishers to be endorsed or tagged by multiple entities including OBIS and (ii) a programmatic method for OBIS to connect the OBIS datasets found in GBIF to the “OBIS Network” in GBIF, providing another method to show and interface with the OBIS data network within GBIF.
- The SG-OBIS recommended that OBIS nodes already involved with GBIF create a task team that can take the lead in implementing the specifications of the Letter of Agreement between IOC/OBIS and the GBIF Secretariat.
- The SG-OBIS encouraged OBIS nodes to collaborate locally with GBIF nodes, publishers and data providers (to get marine data from GBIF in OBIS).
OBIS TASK TEAM REPORTING
OBIS governance task team
- The SG-OBIS decided to abolish the Governance Task Team to be replaced by the OBIS Executive Committee.
- The SG-OBIS requested the OBIS Executive Committee to present the results of the OBIS business model canvas exercise before or at the next SG-OBIS session.
OBIS data task team
- The SG-OBIS welcomed the proposed OBIS-ENV-DATA standard for combined biological, environmental, and sampling methodology (documented in https://doi.org/10.3897/BDJ.5.e10989) and thanked the OBIS-ENV-DATA consortium for their excellent work done.
- The SG-OBIS recommended OBIS Nodes to apply the OBIS-ENV-DATA standard in those cases that environmental and/or biological measurements and/or sampling event methodology information are available. The IODE-OBIS will maintain compatibility with Occurrence Core encoded data.
- The SG-OBIS stressed that adoption of OBIS-ENV-DATA includes discontinuing use of dynamicProperties, samplingProtocol and other DarwinCore terms that can otherwise be encoded in the extended MeasurementorFact (eMoF) instead.
- The SG-OBIS recommended that the OBIS Secretariat should create a GitHub repository to track and resolve issues related to OBIS-ENV-DATA, and that goals of this repository will include providing examples of datasets and practices and assisting nodes with using the OBIS-ENV-DATA standard.
- The SG-OBIS recommended continued development for the IODE-OBIS infrastructure to fully exploit and expose OBIS-ENV-DATA, including identifying and resolving design issues as needed to support valid Event Core datasets.
- The SG-OBIS recommended that full and timely implementation of the OBIS-ENV-DATA standard requires additional resources at IODE-OBIS that are dedicated to this purpose. The resources should be sought through the SG-OBIS.
- The SG-OBIS agreed with the inclusion of occurrenceID as the 8th required DwC term for OBIS data, but noted that there are significant design issues remaining, such as persistence of the ID, level of uniqueness (from dataset to global) and the precise algorithm and format for generating the ID. It was also noted that the inclusion of occurrenceID will be a necessary aspect of OBIS-ENV-DATA.
- SG-OBIS welcomed the OBIS Event Data for Scientific Applications IODE pilot project proposal, and SG-OBIS recommended to focus on science questions not just a data question and requested the OBIS nodes to express interest in joining this pilot project before end of February 2017.
OBIS capacity development task team
- The SG-OBIS welcomed the OBIS Training Strategy document provided by the CD-TT and accepted it as a dynamic document to be posted to the OBIS web site, and recommended the CD-TT to (i) increase the use of the OceanTeacher e-learning platform, and develop short guides and video tutorials particularly for future training development including OBIS-ENV-DATA methodology, and (ii) form alliances with other training programmes (e.g., J. Nicholls’ simplified qualitative approaches (http://port.sas.ac.uk/course/view.php?id=73), POGO, ERASMUS programme (Former EMBC+ - International Master of Science, Marine Biodiversity and Conservation - http://www.embcplus.org/, to become in September 2017 IMBRSea - International Master in Marine Biological Resources), Data Carpentry Foundation, etc.) to explore areas where efforts on OBIS training can be magnified.
OBIS taxonomy task team
- The SG-OBIS reiterated (i) the decision that scientificNameID is a mandatory term in OBIS; (ii) the recommendation that node managers can contact the Taxonomy TT (by email to firstname.lastname@example.org) to get help in matching the taxon names and (iii) that it is the task of the OBIS nodes to perform the taxon matching through WoRMS and - if possible - extended by the LifeWatch Taxon Matching.
- The SG-OBIS recommended the OBIS technical TT to check for options of keeping track of annotations to problematic taxonomic names.
- The SG-OBIS thanked the WoRMS Data Management Team for providing support on resolving taxonomic name matching issues.
OBIS technical task team
- The SG-OBIS recommended that the OBIS TechTT develop and implement an engineering plan that builds on the high-level objectives of OBIS2.0 for the next generation of OBIS.
- The SG-OBIS thanked INCOIS for their willingness to host a mirror of the OBIS technology stack. However, the SG-OBIS recommended that the OBIS TechTT should look at hosting solutions for the OBIS technology stack as part of the OBIS 2.0 reengineering effort.
OBIS science advisory task team
- The SG-OBIS strongly encouraged IOC Member States to continue supporting the national, regional and thematic OBIS Nodes, which they host, that contribute data, technical infrastructure and scientific expertise that could support the BBNJ and other relevant international processes.
- The SG-OBIS recommended that the architectural design for OBIS 2.0 developed by the OBIS Technical Task Team considers known dynamics for how IODE-OBIS needs to operate in a legal context as part of the foundation for a legal instrument on BBNJ. For instance, this may include methodology for designating fitness for use/limitations of use, uncertainty metrics, and other value-added attribution.
- The SG-OBIS welcomed the decision of the 193 Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (Decision COPXIII/12) which requested the CBD to (i) establish a partnership with OBIS to facilitate training opportunities for incorporating new information and new consideration of existing information in future description of areas meeting the EBSA criteria, including both scientific and traditional knowledge and (ii) provide links from the EBSA repository to the data and information from EBSA areas in OBIS.
- The SG-OBIS recommended that IODE-OBIS prioritize summarization of OBIS data to Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).
- The SG-OBIS recommended that IODE-OBIS stimulate research and development through the OBIS network to use OBIS data services directly in developing products that inform biodiversity status and trends, conservation status, and other metrics needed for CBD (specifically Aichi Targets), GOOS, GEO BON MBON, IPBES, SDG14 and other international initiatives.
OBIS communication and outreach task team
- SG-OBIS recommended the selection and promotion of the “dataset of the month” as a way to expose interesting/new datasets and requested the OBIS Secretariat to provide a template for OBIS nodes to provide this information on a regular/rotating basis.
- SG-OBIS recommended to accept the denomination of “OBIS explorer” for particular research projects or programmes that wish to contribute data and promote OBIS. For that, they are required to become an IODE Associated Data Unit (ADU) and be linked with a tier-2 OBIS node.
OBIS PROGRESS STRATEGY
SG-OBIS recommended that the OBIS Secretariat provides an online catalogue of datasets that are in progress based on metadata published through the IPT.
Related to IOC-XXVIII/Dec.6.1 (Encourages the increased participation of IOC in the work of the IPBES through OBIS and other relevant IOC programmes), SG-OBIS recommended IOC-UNESCO to sponsor a writing workshop of the IPBES global assessment, coordinated by OBIS and recommended to prepare a concept note for such an IPBES workshop, which could relate to an OBIS data analysis hackathon event.
ADOPTION OF RECOMMENDATIONS, WORK PLAN AND REPORT
- The SG-OBIS adopted all the decisions and recommendations and action items (see work plan, chapter 4 of the report).
The 7th session of the IODE Steering Group for OBIS will be held on 12-16 March 2017 in Argentina.