Missouri Botanical Garden Open Conference Systems, TDWG 2016 ANNUAL CONFERENCE

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Improving quality while preserving quantity using OBIS automated QA/QC procedures
Abby Benson, Ward Appeltans, Pieter Provoost, Sky Bristol

Building: CTEC
Room: Auditorium
Date: 2016-12-05 05:15 PM – 05:30 PM
Last modified: 2016-10-15


The Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS) was established as the data repository and data dissemination system for the Census of Marine Life and now OBIS is building on that success by working to include marine observations from other projects around the world. OBIS uses Darwin Core to integrate species occurrence records from across the world so that marine biogeographic data are freely available to address today’s global concerns for coastal areas and oceans. OBIS is a distributed data system and consists of member nodes with each node having a regional or thematic focus. Data are assembled for OBIS through the OBIS nodes, with each node performing the initial quality check of incoming data. Once data make their way to OBIS, two sets of automated quality control and quality assurance procedures are run to verify that incoming data include the seven required Darwin Core fields, and are taxonomically and geographically rigorous. The first product of these QA/QC procedures is presented back to the OBIS Nodes using an html data harvest report, allowing each node to see the results of the procedures and devise remedies for errors. The second product, which is not available in the standard OBIS data download but can be accessed via R or the API, generates QA/QC flags on the data at the record level. OBIS uses a subset of those QA/QC flags on the dataset pages (http://www.iobis.org/explore/#/dataset/3963), making it easier for users to determine the level of quality of the data they are accessing. When users have access to information about data quality, they are able to assess the fitness for use of the data for their projects and analyses. Over time OBIS expects this will lead to a sense of trust about the data, increased usage of the data, and the conversion of data to knowledge. Overall, the OBIS quality assurance and control procedures help to ensure the data in OBIS are robust, accurate, and trustworthy.