Open Data Ambassadors update May 2021

Dear Biodiversity Open Data Ambassadors,

Thank you for being part of a volunteer community to advocate for open data principles in biodiversity research and practice. The Open Data Ambassador programme has been running since 2018 and, through your volunteer efforts, has resulted in open data presentations at tens of international conferences and events.

On 25 May 2021 we held an informal webinar (watch the recording here) in which we reviewed the progress and experiences to date, reminded you about the available information and communication resources and tools for your outreach actions, and discussed opportunities in the new reality of e-conferencing. Mélianie Raymond, Annie Ørum-Kristensen and Dmitry Schigel moderated the event and it was great to see about 25 ambassadors joining online.


The two interactive sessions were very rich with observations and proposals. Key suggestions and action points included a call for closer interactions with GO FAIR and especially their training programme and national level activities (Brasil, France). E-conferencing does not make the task of building regional connections much easier (Asia), but a mix of pre-recorded and live sessions, as well as informal interaction, can work (Argentina). There is a trade-off between the benefits of broader reach vs. connectivity and multichannel communication issues. Concrete practical solutions, such as image uploading platforms, may be missing or need explanation (Nigeria). GBIF experiences in data management including data citation can be of broader interest for the open data and RDA community (Finland). Audience specific messaging is very important incl. museum based research, ecology, citizen science (Netherlands, Belgium). We recognise that ambassadors are likely to face a number of tough topics / questions again and again, including benefits of openness, financial side of data sharing, links between open data and biodiversity management.

A number of very good slide suggestions were made including i) how is GBIF FAIR? ii) link between GBIF and EBVs, iii) DOI and citation iv) why should we share data (for free), benefits

v) biodiversity management. The good news is that many of such slides exist at GBIF, and we will work towards improved access for ambassadors to these materials.

We closed the hour discussing the best interaction and resources mode, including possible continuation of Ambassadors webinars with internal or invited speakers, on topics such as how to handle common challenges and audiences, and so on. If you think that more of Ambassador webinars is a good idea and you have particular topics in mind, please drop a line to

Several of you requested a reminder on key webpages and other resources. Information about the Biodiversity Open Data Ambassadors programme, the list of Ambassadors and other useful resources are available on

You are welcome to request GBIF slides, suggest events to attend, and ask any questions regarding Biodiversity Open Data Ambassadors programme via

Best regards,

Dmitry Schigel & colleagues