2015 GRIIDC Advisory Committee Meeting a Success

A productive and successful annual meeting of the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative Information & Data Cooperative (GRIIDC) Advisory Committee (AC) was held August 17th - August 18th in melodious Austin, Texas. The meeting provided an opportunity for GRIIDC to present program updates and discuss challenges and issues with the GRIIDC AC. The purpose of the GRIIDC AC is to provide advice and feedback to GRIIDC on the development and implementation of the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) Scientific Database. GRIIDC staff members, GRIIDC Research Board members, GoMRI Consortia members, as well as representatives from British Petroleum (BP), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and American Institute of Biological Sciences were in attendance.

On the first night, participants gathered around delicious local food to meet new members of the GoMRI team and socialize with colleagues. Afterwards, many took a walk to the Congress Avenue Bridge in downtown Austin to view the mass emergence of Mexican free-tailed bats, a great way to get the meeting started. On day one, the GRIIDC AC meeting officially commenced with opening remarks from GoMRI Research Board Chair, Dr. Rita Colwell, via teleconference. She welcomed attendees and inspirationally emphasized the importance of data management and data sharing to the GoMRI legacy. Following the meeting introduction, Research Consortium (RC) data managers, or data team members, provided updates on data management activities within their consortium.

The afternoon sessions included presentations from GRIIDC staff about Dataset Information Forms (DIFs), GoMRI Data Management Plans (DMPs), data acquisition and data management, and the GoMRI data sharing policy. Discussion focused on data sharing compliance, publications, archives, and suggested improvements to the GRIIDC system. A session focusing on special data types was led by Dr. Jim Gibeaut (GRIIDC Director), Dr. Ken Halanych (GoMRI Research Board Data Committee member), and Dr. Matt Howard (GRIIDC Subject Matter Expert – Oceanography). The submission of passive acoustic data, genetics data, standard oceanographic data, and modeling data were discussed. Day one concluded with an overview of GRIIDC metadata standards and Digital Object Identifiers.

Day two of the meeting began with a description of the GRIIDC Data Package Review process. After discussion, the process of long-term data archival was described along with a report on GRIIDC’s progress. A new GRIIDC tool was explained that has the ability to link datasets to publications. Finally an overview of the GRIIDC software development process and improvements to the GRIIDC data management software system were presented.

Overall, the meeting provided plenty of opportunities for open discussion and questions. Suggested improvements to the GRIIDC system and data submission process were noted as well as bigger picture items to move GRIIDC into the future. As the GoMRI enterprise is half way through, goals continue to focus on improving the system and considering how to continue beyond GoMRI. Dr. Jim Gibeaut explained at the meeting that the “c” in GRIIDC stands for cooperative, which was the overall spirit of the meeting.