The third session of the IODE Steering Group for OBIS (SG-OBIS-III) took place on 4-6 December 2013 at the Project Office in Oostende (Belgium). The meeting was well attended with 27 participants. The meeting started with a pre-session day to allow the OBIS task teams to present their ideas and recommendations to prepare the steering group for the more formal session. This format turned out successful and the meeting ended with the adoption of a long list of decisions and recommendations. An important decision was to establish a multidisciplinary scientific advisory task team to steer OBIS into future directions. This new group will meet annually prior to the SG-OBIS meeting. The OBIS steering group also decided on a number of quality control checks for geographical position, dates and taxonomic names, to be implemented by the OBIS nodes before they send data to OBIS. In addition, the Integrated Publishing Toolkit (IPT), developed by the Global Biodiversity Information Facility, will become the standard protocol for exchange of data and metadata between OBIS nodes and the central iOBIS node. Regarding metadata, the Integrated Marine Information System (IMIS) developed by the Flanders Marine Institute, will be used as a central metadata repository. An online project management and issue tracking system will be developed to guide proposals for portal enhancements and new OBIS data content types. The OBIS governance team is tasked to draft an OBIS data policy, and develop a plan to evaluate OBIS nodes and prepare a succession plan in case OBIS nodes become inactive. Two OBIS technical training courses will be organized in 2014 to train data providers and OBIS node managers to access and provide best-quality data to OBIS. In addition, several documents will be published in 2014, such as the OBIS strategic business plan, some outreach material and an OBIS manual for nodes and data providers.
With the recruitment of the OBIS data manager in May 2013, the OBIS international secretariat is now fully operational again. The data from the OBIS nodes are harvested on a regular basis (every 3 months) and the secretariat can fulfill its central role, such as providing training and technical assistance, guiding new data standards and technical developments, and encouraging international cooperation to foster the group benefits of the global network. The OBIS secretariat will also be involved in projects to develop information products and services to support global assessments such as the World Ocean Assessment of the UN Regular Process and the recently established Intergovernmental Science-Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.
The full report can be downloaded HERE.