Our Programs / Strategy / Open Data

Principle

The JRS Biodiversity Foundation believes that open access to biodiversity information and knowledge by all stakeholders is essential to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. The Foundation is committed to the principle of free and open access to the results of its grant-funded projects for the benefit of biodiversity conservation, science and society. This principle, held by numerous international bodies, applies to the management of and provision of access to project data, metadata, tools, and the resulting datasets, analyses and publications in digital and print media (“Data”). The Foundation supports fair and equitable sharing of benefits from the utilization of biodiversity Data, but may approve as an exception to its general policy the patenting of grant-funded discoveries when intellectual property protection facilitates the development of products that benefit biodiversity conservation and society, and supports the access to discoveries by people who need them the most. The Foundation requires that the biodiversity informatics output of its grants such as datasets, decision tools, and software is openly and freely available in formats that promote maximum re-use.

Short Statement of Policy

Projects funded by the JRS, or project products made possible by JRS funding will:

 

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Access

Provide maximally unrestricted public access to and use of all project products

 

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Timeliness

Provide timely access during the grant period or, maximally, within one year of its termination.

 

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License

Employ, as a default, the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license that permits copy and reuse.

 

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Standards

Standards: Employ established software, community standards, and repositories.

 

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Compliance

Acknowledge data sources and abide by their terms.

 

Therefore, Proposals to JRS will provide:

  • Description of a data sharing and access plan that addresses how the project will meet policy requirements 1-5.
  • Evidence that sub-grantees or subcontractors will comply with the data sharing plan.
  • Goals, milestones and indicators that provide quantitative and qualitative measures of compliance with the five policy requirements as well as of progress and success.

Data Sharing Policy

The JRS Biodiversity Foundation mission is to increase access to and use of information that will lead to greater biodiversity conservation and more sustainable development in sub-Saharan Africa. JRS achieves that mission through the dedication and creativity of our grant recipients. Since 2007, we have embarked on a journey with our grantees to learn how best to foster data access. The journey will continue as our data access policy evolves with the changes in related fields, public and institutional policy, new applications, new technology, and input from our community. In sharing our Data Sharing Policy and its implementation, JRS invites you to share your experience and views on how we can best serve humanity through free and open access to biodiversity knowledge.

The JRS Biodiversity Foundation implements our Data Sharing Policy through specific tools that are part of our regular-grant making and grant-monitoring processes. Our current policy is made public on our website (below) and referenced in all calls for proposals. We strongly encourage all grant applicants to ensure that they will comply with our policy in advance of applying for funding. Our grant application includes templates that ask grant applicants to fully disclose the project outputs that may fall within the proposal and other outputs that may merit exclusion for specified reasons. Our grant-selection process will preference projects with clear and measurable data access plans that comply with the JRS policy.

Download PdfJRS Data Sharing Policy 4 Jan 2016

Upon approval of a grant, JRS awardees will be asked to sign a legally-binding Grant Agreement that includes the data policy as well as the conditions under which the foundation may terminate funding or request return of funds for failure to comply with the Grant Agreement. During the grant performance period, interim and final progress reports include reporting on data access and we require grantees to cooperate with post-project evaluation of grant outcomes including the access to and use of data. For any questions regarding our data access policy or how it applies to your funding interests, please write to info@jrsbiodiversity.org. An example of the generic template of our Grant Agreement that is customized for every grant may be downloaded in the JRS Grant Agreement Template 28 July 2015. Please note that this template is subject to change.

Our Approach

The need to conserve biodiversity is urgent. At the same time, at JRS we recognize the complexity of the work and are committed to long-term investments. We invest in creating the skills, knowledge and tools, and developing the relationships that will help our grantee partners succeed. We view our grantees as partners and, as challenges and opportunities arise over the course of a project, we work together to adapt to new circumstances.

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Where We Work

The JRS Biodiversity Foundation has geographic focus on sub-Saharan Africa. Sub-Saharan Africa is rich in biodiversity, but has very limited capacity to conserve and manage it sustainably. By focusing our resources geographically, we believe we can gather place-based knowledge and form partnerships that will significantly increase the effectiveness of our efforts.

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