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Evolving and sustaining ocean best practices


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Gigabytes of data are generated through sensors on ships, submersibles, gliders, fixed moorings and other platforms and through this, research is done on ocean-climate interactions through to ecosystem change. These best practices are not always captured in a comprehensive manner.

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Over 40 representatives of major global ocean-observing networks and programmes attended the Evolving and Sustaining Ocean Best Practices workshop, which was held in Paris in November 2017.

As part of her role as the JCOMM OCG vice chair for standards and best practices of ocean observing systems, Professor Juliet Hermes, manager of SAEON’s Egagasini Node, participated in an international working group consisting of nine people from institutes across the globe (AtlantOS, ODIP, IODE, IOC, JCOMM, AWI, IEEE, SOCIB, IOOS).

During 2017 the group succeeded in gathering considerable momentum and interest in their work and the time was right to have a workshop on ocean best practices.

The workshop was held in November 2017 at the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO’s offices in Paris.

High-quality ocean observations are the culmination of years of methodological development and many billions of dollars. Gigabytes of data are generated through sensors on ships, submersibles, gliders, fixed moorings and other platforms and through this, research is done on ocean-climate interactions through to ecosystem change. Models also use this data to predict change and inform society.

These best practices are not always captured in a comprehensive manner. Some are not available online or else very difficult to find. The group is working to consolidate and improve discovery and access to these best practices.

Ocean best practices workshop

During the Evolving and Sustaining Ocean Best Practices workshop, over 40 representatives of major global ocean observing networks and programmes defined what form a sustainable repository of best practices should take. The presentations of the first day addressed community needs and actions for the development and documentation of best practices.

The second day focused on smaller group discussions addressing key questions and offering recommendations. The third and final day considered strategy and approaches for sustainability.

A summary of the meeting and updated plans for moving forward were presented at the end of the meeting by the Best Practices Working Group. 

The UNESCO International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange (IODE) Ocean Best Practices (OBP) repository1 was adopted as a sustained, open-access and internationally recognised store of standard operating procedures, manuals, operating guidelines and similar documentation of methods. Participants at the Paris meeting endorsed proposals to upgrade the system’s indexing and search technology. 

A combination of Digital Object Identifier (DOI)-based document identification, natural language processing, and semantic indexing technologies constitute the first step towards an advanced archiving system aligned to the FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) principles. Such a system will greatly support the dissemination of high-quality methods, particularly to early-career ocean observers and researchers in developing countries.

The benefits for ocean observation and use of ocean information include improved consistency and interoperability among measurements on a local to global scale, increased dialogue and cooperation among experts, and a reliable base to make comparisons addressing evolution of the ocean ecosystem.

Best practices benefit day-to-day operations by reducing duplication of efforts and unneeded repetition of learning processes. They create a knowledge base to speed development and improve efficiency. By improving operational consistency and documenting measurement procedures, they provide a better foundation for reaching back to historical data.

New research topic

At the workshop a new research topic focused on best practices in ocean observation in Frontiers in Marine Science2 was launched (of which Juliet is an editor). This will be a great way for people to publish, through peer review, their contributions to the ocean best practices repository. The journal also welcomes commentaries and reviews on best practices to stimulate cooperation among expert communities.

Majorca meeting

The core Best Practices working group met again in Palma, Majorca in January to update activities, finalise the outcomes from Paris, create a project plan and assign tasks. For two and a half days they were intensively engaged in activities ranging from finalising logos and brochures, through abstracts and Ocean Science Town Hall planning, as well as community outreach, journal article submissions and further discussions around the repository.

They were also given a tour of SOCIB (Balearic Islands Coastal and Ocean Forecasting System).

Acknowledgements

The Best Practice Working Group and workshop attendees, AtlantOS, ODIP, IODE, IOC, JCOMM, AWI, IEEE and SOCIB.

1 www.oceanbestpractices.net

2 https://www.frontiersin.org/research-topics/7173/best-practices-in-ocean-observing

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The Best Practice Working Group and workshop attendees.

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