A new paper published in the journal Ecological Informatics outlines an interoperability framework for Essential Biodiversity Variable (EBV) data products.
Since EBVs were first proposed (Pereira et al. 2013, Science), a key question has been how to prepare data products for EBVs on a global scale. How can comprehensive EBV data products be compiled for any geographical area, over any required time period, for any species, assemblage, ecosystem, or biome of interest, and with data that may be held by any (or across multiple) data repositories?
A key step to answer those questions includes the improvement of cooperation and interoperability among multiple stakeholders, including data and research infrastructure providers around the world such as GBIF, Atlas of Living Australia, DataONE, NEON, SAEON, SANBI, CRIA, the Biodiversity Committee of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and many others. Building on discussions of informatics experts and representatives of such infrastructures during four workshops of the Horizon 2020 project GLOBIS-B funded by the European Commission https://web.archive.org/web/20201102082845/https://www.globis-b.eu/), the published paper provides implementation guidelines of the emerging EBV operational framework. The publication suggests ten areas where data and informatics interoperability among infrastructures can be improved in support of EBVs. The ten areas cover data management planning, data structure, metadata, services, data quality, scientific workflows, provenance ontologies/vocabularies, data preservation and accessibility.
For each area, a core interoperability principle is described and desired outcomes as well as short- and long-term goals are provided. Collectively, these ten principles aim to improve trans-national and cross-infrastructure workflows for EBV production. The implementation guidelines are presented as the ‘Bari Manifesto’, named after the town in southern Italy where they were specified. ‘The Bari Manifesto provides a strong basis for supporting EBVs and the success of a global EBV framework’, says Alex Hardisty, the lead author of the paper. ‘The interoperability framework will also contribute towards a stronger infrastructural basis for biodiversity and ecological informatics more generally’, continues Hardisty.
The article also highlights specific actions to improve data interoperability. The recommendations are formulated separately for different stakeholders, including data standards bodies, research data infrastructures, the pertinent research communities, and funders. ‘While considerable progress has been made in understanding the operationalization of EBVs, we are still lacking sufficient technical, semantic and legal interoperability to actually build multiple EBV data products at a global scale’, explains W. Daniel Kissling, the scientific coordinator of the GLOBIS-B project. ‘With the Bari Manifesto we have been able to bring many informatics experts and infrastructure operators together and we hope that our suggested implementation guidelines will allow to build scientific workflows for making reproducible and transparent EBV data products’, says Kissling.
Hardisty, A. R., Michener, W. K., Agosti, D., Alonso García, E., Bastin, L., Belbin, L., Bowser, A., Buttigieg, P. L., Canhos, D. A. L., Egloff, W., De Giovanni, R., Figueira, R., Groom, Q., Guralnick, R. P., Hobern, D., Hugo, W., Koureas, D., Ji, L., Los, W., Manuel, J., Manset, D., Poelen, J., Saarenmaa, H., Schigel, D., Uhlir, P. F. & Kissling, W. D. (2019). The Bari Manifesto: An interoperability framework for essential biodiversity variables. Ecological Informatics, 49, 22-31. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoinf.2018.11.003
Alex Hardisty, School of Computer Science & Informatics, Cardiff University, Queens Buildings, 5 The Parade, Cardiff, CF24 3AA, United Kingdom.
W. Daniel Kissling, Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED), University of Amsterdam, P.O. Box 94248, 1090 GE Amsterdam, The Netherlands.