iDigBio will be participating in a workshop to consider future research opportunities arising from current national initiatives to digitize and mobilize images and associated data from U.S. biodiversity collections. The meeting will be held in Washington, DC, on January 5-6, 2017, and is being sponsored by the Biodiversity Collections Network (BCoN) Research Coordination Network. Participation in this workshop is by invitation only.
The Biodiversity Collections Network is a five-year national initiative funded by the National Science Foundation to support the development of a sustainable community of practice that will ensure that all U.S. biodiversity collections are digitally available for research, education, informed decision-making, and other scholarly and creative activities. The current national campaign to digitize specimens and associated data has been significantly informed by the research community’s past efforts to articulate and implement a multi-year strategic plan – the Network Integrated Biocollecitons Alliance (see plan at https://bcon.aibs.org/resources/). Indeed, one outcome of the NIBA strategic plan has been the establishment of the Advancing Digitization of Biodiversity Collections (ADBC) program by the National Science Foundation. This initiative is a 10-year, $100 million program. At the same time, various federal agencies have been endeavoring to secure necessary resources for their collections and to digitize their collections.
Significant progress has been made. In addition to these efforts, we have experienced significant changes in the nation’s research infrastructure, the development of new data analysis tools, the implementation of new open data policies, among many other substantial developments that will inform the future of research, education, and the use of biodiversity collections data to inform decision-making.
As we are rapidly approaching the end of the initial 10-year plan, it is time for the biodiversity collections community to consider next steps. Have the goals of the NIBA plan been fully accomplished? If not, what remains to be done and what is required to ultimately achieve these goals? What tools are needed to fully use the data that have been captured? Are these data being used to answer grand research questions? Are community standards or practices needed to successfully address novel research questions? These are some of the questions that will be considered during this two-day workshop.
A summary report will be prepared and shared with the broader community, who will be invited to comment. A goal of the workshop is to initiate a conversation that informs future actions by funders, the biodiversity collections community, and other stakeholders.