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Q&A: Why are data collections quite challenging?
18 March 2022

In the earlier Q&A news, Dick M.A. Schaap of Marine Information Service (MARIS), technical coordinator of EMODnet Chemistry, explained to us how SeaDataNet Common Data Index (CDI) Data Discovery and Access service works. We concluded the interview saying that, once gathered in the CDI service, the measurement data sets are regularly harvested for providing input to the EMODnet Chemistry Regional Coordinators. They coordinate the production of regional data collections, based on which maps for eutrophication, ocean acidification and contaminants are generated for: Arctic Ocean, Baltic Sea, Northeast Atlantic Ocean, North Sea, Black Sea, and Mediterranean Sea.

Let’s keep on talking about the EMODnet Chemistry data managing machine by interviewing Luminita Buga of the National Institute for Marine Research and Development “Grigore Antipa”, Regional coordinator of the Black Sea data collections.

Why is producing the data collections quite challenging?

Luminita says that:

Regional coordinators strive to aggregate, quality control, and regularly harmonise new datasets from dozens of data centres, which in turn collect data from hundreds of originators. Our work is made even more complicated by the fact that the impressive amount of measurements involves a kaleidoscope of very different parameters. Suffice it to say that data is collected in different matrices, by means of a series of platforms, devices and protocols, and analysed with a variety of tools and methodologies. Furthermore, the Coordinators constantly update and upgrade the data collections, improving the quality and quantity of the associated information, and help to verify the adequacy of the vocabularies used as well as of the standards and formats. In this way they also play a key role in developing or advancing tools and services aimed at generating data collections and related products.”

How does EMODnet Chemistry upgrade the quality of data collections?

Karin Wesslander of the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute, Regional coordinator of the Baltic Sea data collections, replies that:

A Quality Control loop is implemented to ensure that data are reliable, well described, in line with international requirements and fit for the purpose of end-users. The loop involves multiple validation steps. First, national collators check the data, their quality by using common protocols and flag scales, and complement them with metadata. Second, once data of a specific sea region is extracted, each coordinator aggregates the measurements by grouping different analytical terms used by data originators into a unique agreed term with a unique measurement unit. As said before by Luminita, the Coordinator further checks the data quality at regional level following a common approach. Lastly, the results of these controls are communicated to the data providers to correct errors or anomalies in the original data.”

We really thank you Luminita Buga and Karin Wesslander for this information. Our gratitude also goes to the other EMODnet Chemistry regional coordinators for the extraordinary work they have been doing since 2009: Martin M. Larsen of the University of Aarhus, Sissy Iona of the Hellenic Center for Marine Research, Julie Gatti of the French Marine Research Institute, and Ann Kristin Østrem of the Institute of Marine Research (Norway).

Fig.1 From left to right,
Above: Julie Gatti, French Marine Research Institute; Luminita Buga, National Institute for Marine Research and Development “Grigore Antipa”; Karin Wesslander, Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute.
Below: Martin M. Larsen, University of Aarhus; Ann Kristin Østrem, Institute of Marine Research (Norway); Sissy Iona, Hellenic Center for Marine Research.

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