BCoN to Convene Discussions on Building an Integrated, Open, FAIR Data Network

The Biodiversity Collections Network (BCoN), in collaboration with the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) and with support from the National Science Foundation (Award No. 2303588), will be organizing a series of stakeholder discussions on enabling interdisciplinary and collaborative science through the integration of biological and environmental data.  

The BCoN Steering Committee plans to hold a set of six domain-focused virtual listening sessions and a subsequent interdisciplinary workshop to engage an expansive set of stakeholders towards Building an Integrated, Open, Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable (BIOFAIR) Data Network. 

During the last two decades, a wealth of data on biodiversity and associated environments has been mobilized in digital form. Collectively, these data provide a powerful resource that when curated and integrated with intention can provide critical information to address emerging complex global biological, environmental, and public health challenges. Tapping into the vast potential of specimen, observation and environmental data requires us to integrate diverse and complex datasets, connect domain-specific communities, and bridge discipline-specific social norms and data infrastructures. Linking data and their respective communities is a critical next step to creating the accessible and enriched data source needed to empower broad integrative biological research and education.

The BIOFAIR Data Network project will convene stakeholders from across the spectrum of biodiversity, ecological, and environmental data providers, curators, and users, with the goal of initiating a collaborative and accessible partnership towards an integrative and expanded data network. Virtual discussions will focus on advancing data culture and infrastructure that meets emerging needs in research, education, conservation, biosecurity, and the bioeconomy. Discussions will build on and bridge the Extended Specimen Network (ESN) vision with other existing conceptual frameworks for data integration and application. This project will inform the next steps of data integration with attention to supporting formal and informal education, including engagement through outreach and community science, and providing new opportunities and access for individuals from historically underrepresented groups to engage in biodiversity research and education.

Interested individuals can sign up on the project website to receive the latest information and updates as we plan these events.