We are doing science for policy
The Joint Research Centre (JRC) is the European Commission's science and knowledge service which employs scientists to carry out research in order to provide independent scientific advice and support to EU policy.
Global biodiversity - the variety of plant and animal life on Earth - is a hot topic lately. As we face into the sixth mass extinction in Earth's history, scientists and concerned members of the public look for ways to help preserve and enhance biodiversity, in order to maintain human well-being and a healthy planet.
To efficiently manage global biodiversity, we need some way of recording and measuring biodiversity and how it is changing.
Essential Biodiversity Variables (EBVs), first proposed in 2013, are measurements that can be used to study, report on, and assess and manage changes in biodiversity over time. While they have been operationalised significantly over the past few years, EBV data products have yet to be built at a global scale due a lack of sufficient technical, semantic and legal interoperability.
The Bari Manifesto, recently published by an international group of biodiversity researchers (including the JRC), outlines ten principles for best practices in EBV-focused biodiversity informatics. Named after the town in southern Italy where they were specified, these principles give implementation guidelines for producing reliable and comparable global EBVs across different countries and science disciplines.
The ten principles outline scientific workflows for developing reproducible and transparent EBV data products in areas where data and informatics interoperability among infrastructures can be improved. These include: data management planning; data structure; metadata; services; data quality; workflows; provenance; ontologies/vocabularies; data preservation; and accessibility.
The Bari Manifesto also highlights specific actions to support the success of a global EBV framework by improving data interoperability. The recommendations are formulated separately for different stakeholders, including data standards bodies, research data infrastructures, the pertinent research communities, and funders.
According to Alex Hardisty, lead author of the paper, "the interoperability framework will also contribute towards a stronger infrastructural basis for biodiversity and ecological informatics more generally".