Towards openness and transparency in applied ecology

– Living Norway Colloquium 2020

Dates: October 12th – 13th 2020

Venue: The colloquium and workshops will be located at NINA in Trondheim.

Because of the corona situation, we welcome participants that can not come to Trondheim for the event to join us remotely. We are currently looking into solutions to make sure all participants (whether they are on-site or join via video) feel they are part of the same event.

All decisions about how the event will be organized, including distancing rules and number of participant on-site will follow recommendations from Norwegian health authorities.

Registration: You can register to the seminar, the lunches and the conference dinner here. Registration deadline September 10th 2020.

Registration fee: There is no fee to join the event.

Program outline: Day one will be dedicated to public lectures from national and international invited speakers. On day two, Living Norway, Centre for Biodiversity Dynamics (CBD) at NTNU and bioCEED at UiB will co-host two workshops, focusing on tools for integrated modelling of open data sources and increased teaching FAIR data management and open science, respectively.


Background for the conference theme

The world is currently facing a global biodiversity crisis, as documented and described in e.g. the report from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) last year. Because ecology and the other environmental sciences are inherently empirical, they rely extensively on observational and experimental data collected in the field. An improved data management system and culture that spans both research- and monitoring data is a key condition if we want to facilitate the ability of the many strong Norwegian research groups within the field provide the scientific knowledge that can be used to mitigate and potentially reverse the situation. 

Currently, much of the data needed for transparent large scale assessment are stored locally at institutions or with individual researchers, are not well documented, and are not standardized following community standards. Given the complexity of the task described above it is absolutely pivotal to unlock these data sources, making it possible to integrate data from several sources in the quest for deeper insight into the natural world and the human pressure on biodiversity. FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) management of data from research and monitoring would be a leap forward in terms of releasing the high potential held by the Norwegian research community. 

Concurrent with the rise in large-scale data driven synthesis projects (such as those carried out by IPBES, or in Norwegian systems such as “Naturindeks for Norge” and “Fagsystem for økologisk tilstand”), there has been a rise in the awareness around open science methods and tools. Open science is a fundamental way of thinking about the scientific enterprise. Open data, open access and open code (which is often required when publishing in scientific journals) are very visible elements of the open science culture. But open science is much more than this. Open science also include ideas about which part of the scientific process and products should be open to the public, and how science should relate to the larger society. It potentially affects all parts of the research life cycle, even the question setting and planning stage. The rise of the open science movement is sometimes seen as a response to the so called “reproducibility crisis”, as discussed here. Despite growing awareness about the concept of open science, so far the focus has not been particularly high in applied ecology and associated field.

The time is ripe to raise awareness and to harvest the benefits from the open science era in applied ecology!