Choice of structure
There are two main reasons for choosing a non-profit foundation as structure for this project:
- There is a lot of high quality data in large, both public and private, organizations (such as gene banks and the like). Much of this is developed for non-profit purposes and is financed by public funds. A non-profit foundation with a non-profit purpose to make such data available would be the right platform to create exchange solutions with these institutions.
- It would be a great value for such a system if users could contribute their own data, such as images, observations, and autogenerated user data to enrich the data for common benefit. In other words, a form of wikipedia model (although with a higher degree of standardization of data). Here, too, an independent foundation is considered the optimal guarantor and manager.
- The project will do a very specific job that will support the work of member organizations, but would probably not benefit from itself being a member organization with all the activities and administrative processes that entails. Foundations may have member bodies as part of their formal organization, but this project should in principle have as slim and efficient an organization as possible, and therefore choose a model with the board as the sole decision-making body, however with an advisory reference group as a support function.
The foundation must
- Be a globally available nonprofit service provider.
- Own and maintain an openly accessible core database of useful species for this purpose
- Ensure that the data is structured and can be used in other systems in a predictable way
- Develop and manage data collection guidelines to ensure data quality
- Develop and implement personnel certification systems
- Enter into agreements with data providers and provide good exchange systems
- Enter into agreements with system vendors for the development and operation of technical infrastructure for the cloud-based service
- Initiate and oversee the development of systems for the best possible interaction with the system’s target audience to capture users’ wants and needs
We are aiming at finding minimum 3 motivated members to get started, but it should probably consist of at least 5 within a couple of years. Candidates so far:
- Lone Dybdal, who is board leader of KVANN, philosopher and working as a secretary for the Council of Ethics
A reference group is important as a platform for informal networking and consulting. Participants so far:
- Morten Rasmussen. Background in plant breeding and plant genetic resource management, and through many years worked in conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources in the Nordic region, and until today as senior advisor for the norwegian national program. Carried out the formal preparations for the establishment of KVANN together with Bi-Os Karl Aakerro, and has since been an important independent advisor to Bi-Os work on the plant database solution for kvann.no, and furthermore for the concepts and structure for this foundation. More info
- Stephen Barstow. Plant scientific leader in KVANN, and one of the initiators of the forerunner “Planteklubbene” in assosiation with the Norwegian Genetic Resource Center. More info
- Dag Endresen. Plant scientist. University of Oslo, Natural History Museum. GBIF Node Manager for Norway. Previously worked at Nordisk Genbank (Nordgen). More info
- Rukaya Sarah Johaadien. Developer, technical contact for GBIF Norway. University of Oslo, Natural History Museum. Works with data, development and maintenance. More info
- Kjell-Åke Lundblad. Computer scientist and biological systematics enthusiast, who currently works at NordGen – Nordic Gene Resource Center, as IT and Documentation Manager. Mer info
Partners for access to bio-scientific data
Partners for first use cases
- KVANN is a natural member here, because of the history: they have already invested in a plant database system made by Bi-O, a system that will benefit from this initiative
- We have begun inviting other partners
Partners concerning technical solutions
Bi-O AS will take responsibility for the development and operation of the technical aspects, and this will be regulated through a separate agreement between Bi-O and the foundation that ensures the foundation’s needs in this area, and Bi-O’s need for earning opportunities as a certain compensation for the initiation work and the idea. This means that Bi-O is responsible for
- the cloud-based core database
- a cloud-based user solution where everyone can register a profile with their species and varieties
- the systems for installation on the users’ own self hosted web solutions
Bi-O AS will not interfere with the inner life of the foundation, but it is important that there is ongoing contact with the board and the reference group with regard to scientific and technical information.
Other technology partners will be invited in an organic process as the project develops, and this has begun, and as a part of the agreement Bi-O will help facilitate that process.
Partners concerning administration
The main economic activity within the foundation will be centered around the technical aspects, at least the first years. And since this is going to be outsourced, there is very little internal economic activity. The goal is to keep things as simple as possible so that the board can govern the activies with just a few meetings per year, and with little need for ongoing administrative work.
Secretary and public contact
The board appoints a formal secretary and public contact. Since the activies of the foundation is more of a background facilitator, this activity should not need to involve much work and can be replaced largely by automated systems, in line with the focus and goal of the project it self.
Bi-O is using Tripletex accounting system, and will provide initial help with setting this up and do the actual work together with the secretary for as long it is needed. When funding allowes for it, it is recommened that this work is outsourced entirely. There are many accountants using Tripletex.
Partner Revisjon AS. Foundations are obliged to use an auditor registered with the Financial Supervisory Authority of Norway (Finanstilsynet): a registered or state-authorized public accountant. Partner Revisjon is ready to take this responsibility for a reasonable price, as a contribution to the ideal cause of this initiative. We are greatful for this. They are also familiar with Tripletex.