In one of our last sessions in this course we were joined by orcid:0000-0002-2352-5497, also known as Dag Endresen. Dag is the manager of the Norwegian GBIF node, and has years of experience in the technical, political and social aspects of data sharing through the network on various local scales as well as the global perspective as a GBIF HQ employee.
To set the stage, we started with an outline of what GBIF is, what its goals are, and how this is achieved. In the broadest sense, the GBIF network consists of nationally funded nodes, that aim to provide standardized and open access to biodiversity data from around the globe. In terms of citizen science, the primary data type is the occurrence record, which are standardized in the Darwin Core standard, and shared (through instances of the GBIF Internet Publishing Toolkit) in the form of Darwin Core Archives. Recent years have seen some changes in data availability and geographic spread. There are data repatriation efforts going on where data from former colonies are prioritized at museums and institutions. Licenses have been standardized to a subset of open Creative Commons licenses, making the data shared far more usable for the community. Data from Russia, until recently almost non-existent, is surging, slowly but surely filling out the blanks. Meanwhile, there is always a challenge of countries not fulfilling their monetary obligations to the network when new governments cut funding.
With now more than 1,5 billion (!) occurrence records and a pivotal role in the biodiversity informatics field it is easy to forget making these data available requires a continued effort, as does keeping it available in the future. It is vital to demonstrate the widespread use and immense value of the facility. We should all be aware to #CiteTheDOI at all times. In the field of citizen science, this has the added benefit of providing a pathway for direct feedback to citizen scientists, who can be made aware of instances where their observations were used and to what end.