Understanding the stakeholder landscape

GBIC2 recognized the complexity of the existing landscape of institutions, organizations and projects that participate in management and use of biodiversity information. The number of initiatives involved and the overlaps between their various missions and work programmes make it difficult even to identify and understand all stakeholders with an interest in addressing any particular issue, let alone to develop a shared strategy to deliver benefit for all. Attendees at GBIC2 agreed that one of the initial steps toward establishing an alliance should be a survey of the landscape of existing stakeholders in biodiversity informatics to map roles, relationships and dependencies.

This activity needs to be defined closely to avoid spending effort on collection of information which will not be useful. Key questions include:

  • What stakeholders should be included in this review? It would not be possible to include all institutions, agencies and projects with an interest in biodiversity or biodiversity data.
  • What information can usefully be captured, and how should this be structured? Free text information will be difficult to use. As far as possible, the goal should be to collect structured information that supports analysis and reasoning. This probably will require standardized vocabularies to identify classes of data handled by each stakeholder, geographic and taxonomic scope, types of dependency between stakeholders, etc.
  • To what extent should the alliance seek to maintain a current and updated view of this information? A one-off survey will be significant work, but it is very hard to maintain a useful catalogue of institutions and projects.
  • What expertise is required for this survey? Social scientists have experience in developing representations of community structure and relationships. The alliance should seek assistance to carry out this work in the most effective way possible.

This thread is to discuss planning for this survey of biodiversity information stakeholders. Please discuss the questions listed above. Comments in questions other than English are welcome.

Several attendees at GBIC2 have already suggested research groups or individual social scientists with experience in mapping social networks. As we proceed, we should try to engage with some of these or with other such groups to plan a suitable level of detail for information capture and to consider how to model the relationships and dependencies.

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I’d be interested to know if anyone reading these threads has undertaken a specific collaboration with stakeholders or (especially) user groups to better understand “decision-making processes” involving biodiversity data. The Conservation Biology Institute and its partners are engaging governors’ policy advisors and agency senior staff not only on the kind of data products they need, but how in practice they actually take decisions. Evidence-based? Opportunistic? Whim or political decree? You may laugh, but I think the latter is a lot more common in many countries than we’d all like to admit. Understanding decision processes in practice (not just in theory) is something I’m trying to get a handle on for our Biodiversity Early Warning Systems.


Thx, Kyle, Phoebe, and Dhobern,

I’m working on such a project with some social scientists. we have a draft ontology and are looking for others to align with. we are having some key meetings in the next few days, and on a 2 month sprint. Any suggestions/leads here in thread (preferred) or in a direct message are much appreciated.



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