Socio-technical adoption

This topic was opened in response to broad concerns communicated by @jhpoelen.

A major guiding principle in Diversifying the GBIF Data Model is to provide practical solutions to current obstacles in data-sharing and use. Solutions to current obstacles are proposed in use cases. Mitigation plans for technical and related social adoption risks are an important part of the project as a whole, not just with respect to specific use cases.

We recognize that for every use case there are many stakeholders, without whom trying to develop sufficient common solutions would not be terribly meaningful, nor have much chance for positive impact. For that reason, commentaries on use cases that are under review is essential. We are also keen to see other use case narratives that present challenges not already covered elsewhere. Without this directed input we do not have the resources to thoroughly investigate all possible solutions. We rely on community feedback to point us in relevant directions.

Existing data publishing models will continue to be supported. For those who do not need new capabilities, this should be sufficient.

New models that solve challenges that can’t be addressed with current data publishing models may be more complex than existing solutions. The intention is to keep this complexity to a minimum. The primary way of doing this will be to have distinct data publishing models as simplified subsets of the unified common model, each of which targets a specific type of data (a family of use cases that all have the same model as a solution). A prospective data publisher would only need to be proficient with the model that is relevant. Concomitant with the new data publishing models will be documented examples and technical support.

The major purpose of the unified common model is to support aggregation of all types of data (via the various publishing models, new and old) and to enable searches via subset views of that aggregation to explore specific questions.


Robust participation from the community is necessary - but I also know from experience that adding something to everyone’s to-do list is becoming untenable. I wish I had answers for increasing participation, but I think what we really need are a bunch of Time-Turners…

Seriously though, can we identify stakeholders for the various use cases and attempt to get them directly involved? Can we identify how the new model might benefit data providers? Can we figure out ways to compensate people for participation?

From a collection manager perspective, it probably looks like a new model just means new unpaid tasks and unfunded investments in data infrastructure that may not be appreciated by my employer. I may see how it will benefit end users (and eventually me as my specimens get used in research), but I need to be able to convey that to those holding the purse strings.