The desire to have open access to specimen data and to conduct open science contrasts with issues associated with legal requirements such as intellectual property rights; regulatory constraints of specific national and international legislation; the need to prevent the exposure of sensitive information to unauthorised persons; the need of businesses to maintain data- and infrastructure-based business foundations; and the social goals of fairness and equity, which require mechanisms to prevent individuals and groups taking undue advantage, especially of large and information-rich datasets. Against the background of a general policy of being ‘as open as possible, as closed as legally and/or ethically necessary’, the goal of this topic is to identify and explore the mechanisms of the future to meet legal obligations, including national and international regulations, as well as ethical and sensitive data concerns associated with biodiversity collections and their use.
The paragraphs below develop the themes of this topic in greater depth to allow several questions to be considered.
We want to explore when extended data infrastructure(s) are accepted and embraced by the communities to which they can provide services. Which criteria and functions must be offered to support legal/regulatory and ethical/moral obligations and sensitive data concerns? Are there existing solutions that can provide blueprints or that can be adapted? Digital solutions must provide services and advantages welcomed by the [communities of collection professionals, bio/geodiversity scientists and bio/geodiversity informaticians](link to topic 9), who develop, manage and maintain the data infrastructure(s). At the same time, bio/geodiversity infrastructures radiate out into their surrounding societies and offer intersections with a wide range of affected or interested [stakeholders with potential applications](link to topic 11). Thus, extended infrastructures need to appeal to and provide the functionality required in interactions with specific partners. These partners are found, for example, with indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs), women and youth; with engaged citizens and environmental activists; in university, government and companies’ research and development departments; in businesses (e.g., providing environmental assessments or producing a wide range of commodities); as well as organizations maintaining certification systems. Furthermore, infrastructure partners are responsible for local, subnational to national administration and contribute to (sub-)national planning and reporting processes; are professionals in customs offices, in law enforcement and the legal system responsible for case decisions; and are involved in developing forward-looking policy-decisions. Considering these and other applications, one aspect of this topic is related more directly to technical functionality providing versatile and elegant effectiveness, and efficiency through user-friendly interfaces, powerful tools and integrated workflows, made possible by FAIR Digital Objects, [persistent identifiers](link to topic 7) and relational links governed by [transactional mechanisms and provenance](link to topic 10) A second aspect considers and develops the theoretical and procedural concepts implementing a layer of legal and regulatory obligations; considerations for sensitive data, information privacy, and business intelligence; as well as ethical and social frameworks based on the the Sustainable Development Goals for the use of traditional knowledge in fairness, equity and justice.
The collections community is one of the mediators of both, technical as well as socio-ethical aspects with regard to implementing and executing Access and Benefit-Sharing (ABS) regulations. In this context, a growing number of legal, regulatory, and ethical issues are confronting biodiversity collections. The Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing has notable implications, and although the aim is to create greater legal certainty and increase transparency for both providers and users of genetic resources, this agreement often poses a number of challenges for those collecting, managing, and using collections. Several issues remain unresolved, including the inclusion of digital sequence information (DSI) under the CBD and/or the Nagoya Protocol; the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ) with the consideration of the development of an international instrument under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea; and the interaction with traditional knowledge and data rights of indigenous people, local communities, women and youth (CARE principles for the governance of indigenous data).
Already for ABS, chains of custody must be documented. The technical implementation of and operational compliance with chains of custody have expanded requirements when specimens are used for specific purposes, such as certification or forensic casework. In a versatile conservation work environment, chains of custody span the path of a specimen and its associated metadata from the gathering event in the field, transport, accessioning, preparation and digitization to use (e.g., lab work, imaging, statistical analyses) and end products (e. g. reports, publications), including loan/gift-events in the context of biodiversity collections. Chain of custody-functionality and the information it provides must be available when required for official reporting (compliance) in conservation contexts, national planning, court evidence, and commercial and customs decisions. These represent some of the main use cases for which transactional mechanisms and provenance ([Topic 10](link to topic 10)) are needed and for which consensus on global implementation mechanisms is needed.
- Which models and frameworks already exist? Have they been implemented and how? Are they in use? What are the experiences with them?
- Who decides the specifics of what should be implemented?
- Will this need to be an international, legal and multi-stakeholder top-down model or will it be a per-specimen/per-information and per-provider bottom-up model?
- What happens if for one specimen or information different potential rights-holders exist? E.g., an indigenous people and local community (IPLC), a researcher who produced derived results, a collections institution, a company holding a patent, etc.
- Applicability of subnational and national regulations and international treaties might depend on use and outcomes: e.g., if information is “exported”, i.e., used in a different country/administrative unit; if it is used for non-commercial or commercial purposes; if it results in a commercial product years later; …
- Who should be responsible for setting rights and maintaining them, e.g., for biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ)? Who has the legal and/or ethical responsibility? How can this be recorded in Digital Extended Specimens?
- What is the power and potential of supporting these obligations and considerations in a Digital Extended Specimen infrastructure? How can they inspire, even “demand” the use of DES infrastructures and spin-off applications?
- Are there stakeholders that have not yet been identified that might play an important role in aspects of implementation or compliance?
A wide range of background information resources are relevant, including those of a general nature and those related to the biodiversity and natural sciences domain more specifically.
On intellectual property rights
- Carroll, M. W. (2006) Creative commons and the new intermediaries. Michigan State Law Review 45, 45–65. https://digitalcommons.wcl.american.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1039&context=facsch_lawrev.
On open science
- Bowser, A., Wiggins, A. & Stevenson, R. (2013) Data Policies for Public Participation in Scientific Research: A Primer. DataONE, Albuquerque. http://cdn1.safmc.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/28101058/Bowseretal2013_DataPolicyPrimer.pdf
- RDA-CODATA Legal Interoperability Interest Group (2016) Legal Interoperability of Research Data: Principles and Implementation guidelines. https://doi.org/10.5281/ZENODO.162241.
- Alonso García, E. (2018) GLOBIS-B Position Paper for Policymakers on the Potential Solutions to Scientific, Technical and Legal Interoperability Issues. DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.1323495.
On collections-based experiences and points of view
- BCoN (2019) Extending U.S. Biodiversity Collections to Promote Research and Education. A report by the Biodiversity Collections Network 2019 URL: https://www.aibs.org/home/assets/BCoN_March2019_FINAL.pdf.
- Blasiak, R., R. Wynberg, K. Grorud-Colvert, S. Thambisetty, N.M. Bandarra, A.V.M. Canário, J. da Silva, C.M. Duarte, M. Jaspars, A. Rogers, K. Sink, and C.C.C. Wabnitz. (2020) The ocean genome and future prospects for conservation and equity. Nature Sustainability 3: 588–596. doi:10.1038/s41893-020-0522-9.
- Colella, J.P., R.B. Stephens, M.L. Campbell, B.A. Kohli, D.J. Parsons, and B.S. Mclean. (2020) The Open-Specimen Movement. BioScience biaa146: 1–10. doi:10.1093/biosci/biaa146.
- Fukushima, C., R. West, T. Pape, L. Penev, L. Schulman, and P. Cardoso (2020) Wildlife collection for scientific purposes. Conservation Biology. https://doi.org/10.1111/cobi.13572.
- National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (2020) Biological Collections: Ensuring Critical Research and Education for the 21st Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25592. - Page 28 specifically.
- Thiers, B., J. Bates, A.C. Bentley, L.S. Ford, D. Jennings, A.K. Monfils, J.M. Zaspel, J.P. Collins, M.H. Hazbón, and J. L. Pandey (2021) Viewpoint: Implementing a community vision for the future of biodiversity collections. BioScience biab036, 1–3. https://doi.org/10.1093/biosci/biab036
- Zimkus, B.M., L.S. Ford, and P.M. Morris (2021) The need for permit management within biodiversity collection management systems to digitally track permits and other legal compliance documentation and increase transparency about origins and uses. Collection Forum. Accepted.
On experiences made in/by human genomics and medicine
- Phillips M, etal. (2020) Genomics: data sharing needs an international code of conduct https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-020-00082-9
- Maxem A (2021) Why some researchers oppose unrestricted sharing of coronavirus genome data. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-01194-6.
- Van Noorden R (2021) Scientists call for fully open sharing of coronavirus genome data https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-00305-7.
On Access and Benefit-Sharing
- Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity. 2020. The Access and Benefit Sharing Clearing House (version 2020.03.17). https://absch.cbd.int/
- Smyth, S.J. and T.C. Charles. 2020. Impacts on International Research Collaborations from DSI/ABS Uncertainty. Trends in Biotechnology. doi:10.1016/j.tibtech.2020.10.011.
- Gaffney J., R. Tibebu, R. Bart, G. Beyene, D. Girma, N.A. Kane, E.S. Mace, T. Mockler, E.E. Nickson, N. Taylor, and G. Zastrow-Hayes (2020) Open access to genetic sequence data maximizes value to scientists, farmers, and society. Global Food Security. 26: 100411. doi:10.1016/j.gfs.2020.100411.
- Elsa Tsioumani (2021) Fair and Equitable Benefit-Sharing in Agriculture https://www.routledge.com/Fair-and-Equitable-Benefit-Sharing-in-Agriculture-Open-Access-Reinventing/Tsioumani/p/book/9780367181864#sup
On rights-based governance of data, access and use
- Local Contexts - Grounding Indigenous Rights: Traditional Knowledge and BioCultural Labels. https://localcontexts.org/.
- Mukurtu Platform: https://mukurtu.org/.
- Carroll SR, et al (2020). The CARE Principles for Indigenous Data Governance. Data Science Journal, 19: 43, pp. 1–12. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5334/dsj-2020-043.
- Carroll, S.R., Herczog, E., Hudson, M. et al. Operationalizing the CARE and FAIR Principles for Indigenous data futures. Sci Data 8, 108 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41597-021-00892-0.
- GIDA - Global Indigenous Data Alliance, Promoting Indigenous Control of Indigenous Data. https://www.gida-global.org/
- Bernstein J, Heinz V, Schouwink R, Meunier M, Holland E, Roe D (2021). Strengthening equity in the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. IIED, London. https://pubs.iied.org/20156IIED. See also blog post by Holland E & Roe D 2021 Practical guide helps negotiators put equity at the heart of the new global biodiversity framework | International Institute for Environment and Development.
On environmental ethics
- Van Dooren T, Kirksey E and Münster U (2016) “Multispecies Studies: Cultivating Arts of Attentiveness,” Environmental Humanities 8(1): 1-22.
On sensitive data
- Chapman AD (2020) Current Best Practices for Generalizing Sensitive Species Occurrence Data. Copenhagen: GBIF Secretariat. https://doi.org/10.15468/doc-5jp4-5g10 .
- Figueira R, Beja P, Villaverde C, Vega M, Cezón K, Messina T, Archambeau A, Johaadien R, Endresen D & Escobar D (2020) Guidance for private companies to become data publishers through GBIF: Template document to support the internal authorization process to become a GBIF publisher. Copenhagen: GBIF Secretariat. https://doi.org/10.35035/doc-b8hq-me03.
- GBIF Secretariat & IAIA (2020) Best Practices for Publishing Biodiversity Data from Environmental Impact Assessments. Copenhagen: GBIF Secretariat. https://doi.org/10.35035/doc-5xdm-8762.
On chains of custody
- for multi-stakeholder approaches to global value chains (see also rights-based approaches)
- Kalyanee Paranjape K,Agarwal N (2021) Guest Article: Transforming Private Sector Contributions to the Decade of Action: Evolving North-South Partnerships | SDG Knowledge Hub | IISD
- for forensics to combat forestry, fisheries and wildlife crime, for example:
- UNODC Wildlife and Forest Crime Wildlife and Forest Crime
- CITES: Tools, Services and Resources available through ICCWC https://cites.org/eng/prog/iccwc/tools.php
- Wildlife and Forest Crime Forensic Guidelines (Ivory & Timber) https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/wildlife-and-forest-crime/forensic-guidelines.ht
- Law Enforcement Best Practice Flow Diagram for Timber https://www.unodc.org/documents/Wildlife/Timber_Flow_Diagram.pdf
- for certification
- FSC standards and guidelines, Chain of Custody Certification | Forest Stewardship Council
- World Forest ID project infrastructure https://worldforestid.org/