Standards Track

The premise

The significant progress in developing robust software tools and infrastructures services for discovery, access and analysis of biodiversity and geodiversity data, provides scientists and other end-users (incl. Policy makers and the public) with a plethora of options to use in their professional practices. In the past decade big steps were made to deliver biodiversity and geodiversity data in a more standard way. The global network of biodiversity data, GBIF provides over 40,000 datasets in the DarwinCore standard format developed in TDWG which builds on other standards like Dublin Core. However, data interoperability is still lacking and standards are often inconsistently implemented, incomplete and in some areas underdeveloped. With the growth of the data volume, standards become more and more important. Data heterogeneity hampers data exchange and reuse. Surveys show that 80% of researchers time in data-intensive projects is currently wasted with data wrangling. Also, data needs in research are changing and require more complex data structures and interdisciplinary datasets. Current standards need to evolve to grow with these developing needs. While domain specific standards remain important, global interdisciplinary developments to enhance data exchange and reuse are changing the landscape and provide new opportunities. The DONA foundation now provides a global domain of resolvable Persistent Identifiers (Handles, DOIs), FAIR principles provide globally agreed guidance for proper data management/stewardship and various Research Data Alliance (RDA) recommendations are under development towards a vision of a ‘data fabric’ of standardised Digital Objects (DO). Significant investments in standards are needed to provide a more harmonised ecosystem of data providers and this is getting more and more urgent with increasing data volume and growing data needs.

The goals

Plenary sessions, symposia and workshops in this track will provide the opportunity to the conference delegates to:

  1. Discover the work already been done in developing standards and become part of the global community working on this;
  2. Learn how to benefit from existing standards in interactive workshops;
  3. Discuss current and emerging domain standards and their role in the global landscape under the umbrella of TDWG interest groups and task groups;
  4. Address challenges in implementation, interpretation and maintenance of data standards and vocabularies;
  5. Identify priority areas and gaps where new standards or additions to existing standards are needed and join with experts to participate in active groups that will the pioneer work in taking the identified tasks forward;
  6. Share expertise in domain standards development and discuss how to align these with the global interdisciplinary developments towards standardisation and emerging global and regional infrastructures like iDigBio and DiSSCo.