Addressing data property rights concerns and providing incentives for collaborative data pooling: the West African Vegetation Database approach

Authors

  • Thomas Janßen,

    1. National Botanic Garden of Belgium, Domein van Bouchout, 1860 Meise, Belgium
    2. Department of Botany and Molecular Evolution, Research Institute Senckenberg, Senckenberganlage 25, 60325 Frankfurt, Germany
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  • Marco Schmidt,

    1. Goethe University, Institute for Ecology, Evolution and Diversity, Siesmayerstr. 70, 60323 Frankfurt, Germany
    2. Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (BiK-F), Senckenberganlage 25, 60325 Frankfurt, Germany
    3. Department of Botany and Molecular Evolution, Research Institute Senckenberg, Senckenberganlage 25, 60325 Frankfurt, Germany
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  • Stefan Dressler,

    1. Goethe University, Institute for Ecology, Evolution and Diversity, Siesmayerstr. 70, 60323 Frankfurt, Germany
    2. Department of Botany and Molecular Evolution, Research Institute Senckenberg, Senckenberganlage 25, 60325 Frankfurt, Germany
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  • Karen Hahn,

    1. Goethe University, Institute for Ecology, Evolution and Diversity, Siesmayerstr. 70, 60323 Frankfurt, Germany
    2. Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (BiK-F), Senckenberganlage 25, 60325 Frankfurt, Germany
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  • Mipro Hien,

    1. Department of Water and Forest, Polytechnical University of Bobo-Dioulasso, 01 BP 1091, Bobo-Dioulasso 01, Burkina Faso
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  • Souleymane Konaté,

    1. Université de Abobo-Adjamé, Station d' Ecologie Tropicale de LAMTO, BP 28 N' Douci, Abidjan, Ivory Coast
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  • Anne Mette Lykke,

    1. Department of Terrestrial Ecology, NERI National Environmental Research Institute, Aarhus University, Vejlsøvej 25, 8600 Silkeborg, Denmark
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  • Ali Mahamane,

    1. Laboratory Garba Mounkaila of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, University Abdou Moumouni of Niamey, BP 10662, Niamey, Niger
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  • Bienvenu Sambou,

    1. Institute of Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Sciences and Technology, University Cheikh Anta Diop of Dakar, BP 5005, Dakar, Senegal
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  • Brice Sinsin,

    1. Laboratory of Applied Ecology, University of Abomey-Calavi, 03 BP 1974 Cotonou, Benin
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  • Adjima Thiombiano,

    1. Laboratory of Plant Biology and Ecology, University of Ouagadougou, UFR Life and Earth Sciences, 03 BP 848, Ouagadougou 03, Burkina Faso
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  • Rüdiger Wittig,

    1. Goethe University, Institute for Ecology, Evolution and Diversity, Siesmayerstr. 70, 60323 Frankfurt, Germany
    2. Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (BiK-F), Senckenberganlage 25, 60325 Frankfurt, Germany
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  • Georg Zizka

    1. Goethe University, Institute for Ecology, Evolution and Diversity, Siesmayerstr. 70, 60323 Frankfurt, Germany
    2. Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (BiK-F), Senckenberganlage 25, 60325 Frankfurt, Germany
    3. Department of Botany and Molecular Evolution, Research Institute Senckenberg, Senckenberganlage 25, 60325 Frankfurt, Germany
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  • Schmidt, M. (corresponding author, marco.schmidt@senckenberg.de), Dressler, S. (sdressle@senckenberg.de), Hahn, K. (karen.hahn@bio.uni-frankfurt.de), Wittig, R. (r.wittig@em.uni-frankfurt.de) & Zizka, G. (gzizka@senckenberg.de): Goethe University, Institute for Ecology, Evolution and Diversity, Siesmayerstr. 70, 60323 Frankfurt, Germany
    Schmidt, M., Hahn, K., Wittig, R. & Zizka, G.: Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (BiK-F), Senckenberganlage 25, 60325 Frankfurt, Germany
    Janßen, T. (thomas.janssen@br.fgov.be): National Botanic Garden of Belgium, Domein van Bouchout, 1860 Meise, Belgium
    Dressler, S., Janßen, T., Schmidt, M. & Zizka, G.: Department of Botany and Molecular Evolution, Research Institute Senckenberg, Senckenberganlage 25, 60325 Frankfurt, Germany
    Hien, M. (mipro_hien@univ-ouaga.bf): Department of Water and Forest, Polytechnical University of Bobo-Dioulasso, 01 BP 1091, Bobo-Dioulasso 01, Burkina Faso
    Konaté, S. (konate@biozentrum.uni-wuerzburg.de): Université de Abobo-Adjamé, Station d' Ecologie Tropicale de LAMTO, BP 28 N' Douci, Abidjan, Ivory Coast
    Lykke, A.M. (aml@dmu.dk): Department of Terrestrial Ecology, NERI National Environmental Research Institute, Aarhus University, Vejlsøvej 25, 8600 Silkeborg, Denmark
    Mahamane, A. (ali_mahamane@yahoo.fr): Laboratory Garba Mounkaila of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, University Abdou Moumouni of Niamey, BP 10662, Niamey, Niger
    Sambou, B. (bienvenu.sambou@ucad.edu.sn): Institute of Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Sciences and Technology, University Cheikh Anta Diop of Dakar, BP 5005, Dakar, Senegal
    Sinsin, B. (bsinsin@gmail.com): Laboratory of Applied Ecology, University of Abomey-Calavi, 03 BP 1974 Cotonou, Benin
    Thiombiano, A. (adjima_thiombiano@yahoo.fr): Laboratory of Plant Biology and Ecology, University of Ouagadougou, UFR Life and Earth Sciences, 03 BP 848, Ouagadougou 03, Burkina Faso.

  • Co-ordinating Editor: Robert Peet

Abstract

Question: How can quantitative data from vegetation surveys best be assembled in a large regional vegetation database? What effects have intellectual property rights concerns of individual and institutional data holders on data contribution and how can incentives to contribute data be generated?

Location: West Africa, with discussion of a possible approach to dealing with property rights concerns being of wider interest.

Methods: The management of data property rights in the West African Vegetation Database was developed based on consultations with institutions and scientists in five West African countries over 2 years. It was agreed in two successive Memoranda of Understanding.

Results: The West African Vegetation Database addresses property rights concerns by leaving the control over data access with the data owners, and provides incentives to build a distributed research community by fostering data sharing.

Conclusion: We present a potential solution to the problem of intellectual property rights issues being an impediment to data sharing and the compilation of large regional vegetation databases. The data property rights management approach implemented in the West African Vegetation Database provided incentives for the contribution of recently acquired and unpublished data. Numerous phytosociological and dendrometric vegetation surveys have been made available by institutions and individual researchers for regional-scale analyses. The structures developed may serve as a model for regional-scale vegetation databases in collaborative settings involving multiple data owners.

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