Ecosystem Approach Community of Practice: iMarine Guidelines and Best Practices

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For an effective exploitation of the e-Infrastructure, EA-CoP users must familiarize with the options. They also need to be made aware of the limits and potential risks of exploiting the e-Infrastructure. This requires that data access and sharing policies as well as software policies are in place. These define the terms and conditions under which the e-Infrastructure services are made available and can be exploited. The actual implementation of these policies require more practical and user oriented description (the “how to”), turned into a set of guidelines where they are compulsory and best practices where they are voluntary rules.

During the first iMarine Board meeting in Rome, March 20-22, the iMarine Board initiated the definition of comprehensive data access and software policies.

Development of Guidelines and Best Practices

The development of the Guidelines and Best Practices will proceed through several interacting work streams:

  • Implement existing EA-CoP Guidelines and Best practices. The EA-CoP already has developed many Guidelines and Best Practices, ranging from complete policy frameworks such as the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries, to very detailed metadata management or dissemination requirements. These are best aligned with project outputs when respective VRE or other e-Infrastructure resources supporting EA-CoP needs are in the development pipeline.
  • Adapt resources to meet EA-CoP desiderata. Throughout the entire project life cycle, the development of guidelines and best practices will have to consider the requirements put forward by the EA-CoP, but also of the project partners.
  • Research and reflexion on applicable guidelines and best practices outside the project context but in the wider EA-CoP operational framework. This may include guidelines and best practices for:
  1. new models that should be further defined;
  2. existing models that require elaboration;
  3. stakeholders, their contributions, role and responsibilities;
  4. the identification of EA-CoP support needs;
  5. the decision making process after the defining phase and Board involvement.

iMarine Best Practices Development

The Best Practices for the iMarine communities of Practice will evolve around a set of guiding principles agreed upon by the iMarine Board. In order to facilitate the process, first a set of high level and key domain of best practices are identified, each equipped with specific best practices.

The following topical areas describe these focused best practices. The live document, for the time being compiled as a GoogleDoc, contains the latest improvements and can be accessed upon request.

1. Introduction
1.1 Commitment to Open Data strategy
1.2 Commitment to Open Access strategy
2. Metadata
2.1 Business metadata policy
2.2 Formats and standards policy
3. Best use of Creative Commons (CC) licenses
4. Option for exposing content: Sharing and Publishing
5. Derivative product - Secondary use
6. Data collection policy
7. Citation policy
8. Acknowledgment to iMarine
9. Data usage metrics
10. Preservation policy
11. Submit an infringement notification
12. Definitions
13. Links to Guidelines


  • June 2014, a third version of the document is presented to the iMarine Board members; it also includes new sections (e.g. data usage metrics, preservation policy, infringement notification, definitions and links to guidelines).
  • October 2013, a second version of the document is presented to the iMarine Board members.
  • A first draft was prepared for discussion at the 4th iMarine Board Meeting (iMB4), 17-18 October 2013, Rome. It is available in the iMarine WS

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