Governance

Introduction

In 2007 the Encyclopedia of Life (EOL) team began its work with a vision of providing global access to knowledge about life on Earth. As a project dedicated to serve all the people of Earth, it was sensible for EOL to embrace a governance model that would include the participation of people and organizations around the world that embrace EOL’s vision and share a desire to contribute to its mission.

To develop a model for the global governance of EOL, a group of biodiversity leaders met in Leiden, the Netherlands, in January 2010. The Leiden Group proposed a model of governance which was refined over the year. On January 6, 2011, a new governance model was ratified. Migration towards this new model began immediately with the formation of the initial EOL Executive Committee leadership group. It is expected that the new structure will be fully operational by July 2012.

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EOL Executive Committee

The Executive Committee operates as EOL’s “board”, focusing on the long-term sustainability and success of the EOL. Members provide governance and decision-making at the policy level. Committee members are senior figures from the cornerstone institutions; regional, national and thematic EOLs; and other major financial or in-kind partners.

Executive Committee 

Graham Higley (EOL Executive Chair)
London, UK

Jesse H. Ausubel (Observer)
Science Advisor 
Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
New York, NY, USA
Director, Program for the Human Environment
Rockefeller University
New York, NY, USA

Jonathan Coddington
Associate Director for Science
National Museum of Natural History
Smithsonian Institution
Washington, DC USA

Joanne Daly
Strategic Advisor
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)
Dickson, Australia

Nancy E. Gwinn
Chair
Biodiversity Heritage Library Steering Committee
Smithsonian Institution
Washington, DC USA

James Hanken  
Director
Museum of Comparative Zoology
Harvard University
Cambridge, MA, USA

Donald Hobern (Chairman, EOL Council)
Executive Secretary

Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF)
Copenhagen, Denmark

Peter Wyse Jackson
President
Missouri Botanical Garden
St. Louis, MO, USA

Li-Qiang Ji
Professor
Institute of Zoology
Chinese Academy of Sciences
Beijing, China

Joan Ruderman
President and Director
Marine Biological Laboratory
Woods Hole, MA, USA


Cristián Samper
President and CEO

Wildlife Conservation Society
New York, NY, USA

José Sarukhán
National Coordinator
The National Commission for Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity (CONABIO)
Mexico City, Mexico

Ismail Serageldin
Director
Library of Alexandria
Alexandria, Egypt

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EOL COUNCIL

The EOL Council is responsible for ensuring the alignment of goals among the contributors to EOL and among its major Partners. It provides oversight and alignment for the whole EOL project and is responsible for ensuring cohesion among the major groups of EOL stakeholders. Members are engaged at a vision, mission and goals level. The group is composed of senior individuals who represent the diversity of EOL Partners including cornerstone institutions, natural history institutions, biodiversity and bioinformatics leaders, leaders in key geographies and leaders representing key user communities. (Individuals marked with an asterisk are also members of the EOL Executive Committee.)

Ward Appeltans
UNESCO-IOC/IODE - Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS)

Gary Borisy*
Marine Biological Laboratory

Jonathan Coddington*
NMNH, Smithsonian Institution

David Cooper
Convention on Biological Diversity

Joanne Daly*
Atlas of Living Australia

Richard Edwards
ARKive

John Fahey
National Geographic Society

Nancy E. Gwinn*
Biodiversity Heritage Library

James Hanken*
Harvard University, Museum of Comparative Zoology

Carlos Hernandez
Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad (INBio)

Graham Higley*
EOL Executive Chair

Donald Hobern*
Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF)

Peter Wyse Jackson*
Missouri Botanical Garden 

Li-Qiang Ji*
Chinese Academy of Sciences

Scott Loarie
iNaturalist

Erik Moeller
Wikimedia Foundation

Ian Owens
Natural History Museum, London 

José Sarkuhán*
The National Commission for Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity (CONABIO)

David Schindel
Consortium for the Barcode of Life/
International Barcode of Life 

Ismail Serageldin*
Library of Alexandria

Simon Stuart
International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

Jan van Tol
NCB Naturalis

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EOL SECRETARIAT

The EOL Secretariat is responsible for the day-to-day operational management, coordination, planning and product management of the EOL and its working groups. The leader of the EOL Secretariat is the EOL Director of Operations, who reports to the EOL Executive Chair. Staff include executive and operations managers as well as administrative, financial and marketing personnel.

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EOL Working Groups

Working groups are responsible for the day-to-day management and delivery of EOL component efforts. The four groups include the Content Working Group, the Biodiversity Informatics Working Group, the Scanning and Digitization Working Group, and the Learning and Education Working Group.

The Content Working Group collaborates with the scientific community and other contributors to bring together the content needed for the species pages and to authenticate it. The information on the species pages is derived from a large number of different data providers around the globe. The group recruits diverse data providers and works with the scientific community to engage experts who act as “curators” to ensure information on the species pages is correct and current. In addition, the group is implementing a robust intellectual property regime that ensures open access to Encyclopedia materials. Finally, the team is working to develop specialized portals for different audiences.

The Biodiversity Informatics Working Group is creating the software to establish a single portal to reach information on all 1.9 million known species scattered in diverse websites all over the world. The infrastructure is seamlessly aggregating data from thousands of sites into species pages in the Encyclopedia using novel informatics tools to capture, organize, and reshape knowledge about biodiversity. The group collaborates with data providers, and then the information is indexed and recombined for expert and non-expert users alike using aggregation technology to bring together different data elements from remote sites.

The Scanning and Digitization Group is led by the Biodiversity Heritage Library, a consortium of 10 natural history and botanical libraries, who are digitizing the published literature of biodiversity held in their respective collections and making it available as part of an open biodiversity commons. This digitized literature is of value to a wide range of scientists as well as many others. For example, individuals in developing countries and citizen scientists who lack affiliation with major research institutions will now be able to search, read, download, and print literature that was previously unavailable to them. Artists can use the detailed illustrations in many taxonomic works as motifs or design concepts in their work, whether on canvas, paper, or digitally. Educators guiding students in how to do biological research will have a wealth of examples to incorporate into lesson plans and assignments. The BHL Portal, which is linked to the EOL species pages, is available at http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/ .

The overall goals of the Learning and Education Group are to ensure widespread awareness of the EOL and to explore and promote new and exciting uses of this extraordinary resource in diverse settings globally. To achieve this goal, the Learning and Education Group strives to make EOL relevant, usable and interesting to a broad range of international audiences. In addition to EOL being a useful resource about biodiversity for educators, citizen scientists and others, the Learning and Education Group encourages participation by building tools and applications to help organize and serve species observations, media, and data from contributors around the world.

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