To members of the biocollections community,

The 2015 AIBS Council Meeting, “Addressing Biological Informatics Workforce Needs,” will convene on December 8th. The Council Meeting will consider the role of scientific societies and their journals in establishing training capacity and practice guidelines aimed at preparing the next generation of the scientific workforce to excel in the era of “big and open data.”

I have been asked to participate on behalf of the Biodiversity Collections Network (BCoN) in a panel “Lessons from National Data Initiatives on How to Drive Data Integration Forward.” I will report on, “Biological informatics training needs for systematics and digitization.” I want my comments to reflect the community’s needs and am asking for your input. Please consider taking a few minutes to give me some feedback. All contributors will, of course, be credited. Below are the questions I hope can be addressed in the presentation:

  1. What do we need to incorporate in our undergraduate training to prepare undergraduates for graduate work in systematics and biological informatics?
  2. What do we want all biology undergraduates to know about documenting and digitizing biodiversity, biological informatics and big data when they enter the workforce?
  3. What do we need to incorporate in our graduate training to prepare graduate students for careers in systematics and biological informatics?
  4. What is needed to provide career systematists with training in digitization and biological informatics?
  5. How do we educate the existing scientific workforce about documenting and digitizing biodiversity, biodiversity science, data access, centralizing data and relational data sets?

This is an opportunity for the community to ensure that the biological informatics and digitization training continue to thrive in the new data publication environment. Your comments and suggestions have the potential to be incorporated into a consensus statement clarifying the actions needed of federal research agencies and universities, and specifying a role for scientific societies in promoting training and best data practices. Such a document can influence and strengthen the case for new investments in biological informatics training by universities and other bodies at both undergraduate and graduate levels. It could also catalyze the adoption of stronger career incentives for biodiversity and biological informatics specialists.

Please consider sending you thoughts regarding the questions above to monfi1ak@cmich.edu. I hope to compile all contributions by December 4th, 2015. Thank you for your time.

On behalf of the Biodiversity Collections Network,

Anna K. Monfils