This is a list of ongoing and past consultations carried out within the GBIF network and wider community. You'll find instructions on how to take part, read the submitted responses and look at how these consultations have been followed up and acted upon.

Following the closing date for each consultation, the GBIF Secretariat will review responses and develop a report and recommendations for next steps within four weeks of the response deadline.

Development of GBIF Strategic Plan 2017-2021

Text of approved GBIF Strategic Plan, 30 Nov 2016 

During 2015, GBIF is consulting with its Participants and other stakeholders to review and assess draft priorities for a GBIF Strategic Plan 2017-2021.

The GBIF Science Committee and the GBIF Nodes Steering Group have assisted the Secretariat in developing the current draft, which sketches out the structure and outline of a clear, concise strategic plan intended for presentation to the GBIF Governing Board for review and approval in October 2015.

The following draft priorities (of equal importance) aim to build on GBIF’s progress to date and target the most important areas for the network to consolidate its activity and enhance the value of its products and services:

  • Deliver relevant data: ensure that GBIF delivers data in the form and completeness required to meet the highest-priority needs of science and, through science, society
  • Improve data quality: ensure that all data within the GBIF network are of the highest-possible quality and associated with clear indicators enabling users to assess their origin, relevance and usefulness for any application
  • Fill data gaps: prioritize and promote mobilization of new data resources that combine with existing resources to maximize the coverage, completeness and resolution of data accessible through GBIF, particularly with respect to taxonomy, geography and time
  • Organize biodiversity knowledge: provide leadership, expertise and tools to support the integration of all biodiversity information as an interconnected digital knowledgebase
  • Empower global network: ensure that governments, researchers and other stakeholders are equipped and supported to share, improve and use data through the GBIF network, regardless of geography, language or institutional affiliation

The emerging plan will include assessment of the resource levels required to address the priorities, and the Secretariat will use it develop work programmes for individual years within the upcoming five-year period.

The Secretariat will lead the further development of text, based in part on stakeholder feedback, as well as additional refinement and design of figures like the introductory diagram, which is best interpreted as indicating the interlocking nature of the five proposed priorities and the need for GBIF to address and reinforce each of them simultaneously.

Endorsement and evaluation of datasets within GBIF

This consultation is now closed. You can read a news item on the GBIF Governing Board's decision on the way forward for data licensing and endorsement in the GBIF community, based partly on the outcomes of this consultation. 

A report summarizing and analysing the responses is available here

This consultation between April and June 2014 gathered input on proposed changes to the processes for adding data publishers to the GBIF network and for assessing the fitness for use of datasets.

It fulfilled a commitment in the 2014 Work Programme to expand the model for endorsement of datasets, and to engage with expert communities in order to provide a richer assessment of the value of each dataset to potential users. 

In brief, the proposed changes were:

  • Any potential data publisher should be able to register with GBIF and submit datasets without the need for prior endorsement - such datasets would initially be 'unevaluated'.
  • GBIF Secretariat staff would monitor new datasets to detect attempts to abuse the infrastructure.
  • As datasets are indexed, they would undergo automated checks for standards compliance and data consistency, and the results would be included on dataset pages in the GBIF portal.
  • Relevant GBIF Participants, based on location and indications by the publisher, would be invited to review the dataset and provide an endorsement, if appropriate.
  • GBIF portal country pages would include a list of all datasets endorsed by a national Participant, as at present.
  • Additional pages would be developed to list all datasets endorsed by organisational Participants and affiliates, encouraging curation of data within areas of expertise.
  • Datasets may receive multiple endorsements from any number of Participants, and these would all be displayed on a dataset page, helping to evaluate fitness for use.
  • Further elements to assist such evaluation will be explored, including user comments and annotations on individual records, and use of datasets or records in research activities.
  • Filters would be developed to help users select or exclude datasets carrying different levels of endorsement, including unevaluated data.


Licensing of data within GBIF

This consultation is now closed. You can read a news item on the GBIF Governing Board's decision on the way forward for data licensing and endorsement in the GBIF community, based partly on the outcomes of this consultation. 

A report summarizing and analysing the responses is available here. You can view all responses here.

Addressing the issue of data licensing, in a way that makes data as free from restrictions as possible, is essential to GBIF's mission of promoting free and open access to biodiversity data. In August 2013, the GBIF Secretariat conducted an initial consultation on options for change, proposing a more standardized approach to ensure that data users are aware of the terms under which datasets are published, and any restrictions that data holders may wish to apply to their re-use.

Between April and June 2014, the Secretariat requested feedback on a proposal with the following elements:

  • All data publishers through GBIF would be asked to agree to waive rights when publishing their data (through a Creative Commons CCO license or equivalent);
  • All data publishers and users would agree to follow 'publishing and usage norms', to be drawn up collaboratively with the GBIF community, for example following standard guidelines for data citation and defining what constitutes commercial use;
  • The GBIF data publishing process would be modified to allow data publishers to flag datasets they wish to restrict from commercial use, as defined in the norms.

The consultation invited views on whether respondents felt this was the right way to proceed, whether they foresaw substantial risks, and whether they would like to be involved in drawing up the documentation for this new approach to open data publishing through GBIF.