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Biodata Management Guide

A project is currently under way to develop a Biodata Management Framework that will make it easier to assess and plan improvements to biodata management systems.

The project is funded by TFBIS (Project 263).

Participate in the project:

Below is an overview of the project.

Facilitating Investment in Biodata Systems

Local Government, the Department of Conservation, and some CRIs, NGOs and private sector organisations are involved in efforts to manage biosecurity and protect biodiversity in New Zealand. In all these organisations, those efforts depend on data about species and ecosystems. Data is required for policy, planning and management within organisations. And it is required for coordinating activities between organisations.

Biodiversity and biosecurity data, however, is complex and messy. There are many different aspects of managing it effectively to consider. When planning improvements in a specific area, it is hard to know what to focus on. When assessing and planning system-wide improvements, it is hard to know where to start. It is hard to know where to invest in improving systems to get the maximum benefit in terms of better data to support biodiversity and biosecurity management.

A Framework that defined steps for assessing and improving biodata systems in specific areas could be used to improve the return on investments in those systems.

Consistent Biodata Management will Facilitate Data-Sharing

Adoption of the Framework is intended to driven by improving the return on investment in biodata systems. By promoting and facilitating the adoption of standards and common approaches, use of the Framework will also improve the potential for data-sharing between organisations.

A Project to Deliver a Useful Framework that is Widely Used

This project will deliver a Framework that is actively used to increase the return on biodiversity and biosecurity information system investments in Local Government, the Department of Conservation, CRIs, NGOs and the private sector.

The Framework will consist of tools that facilitate the assessment, improvement, procurement and development of biodata systems. By working closely with the user community, the project will deliver a Framework that is proven to be useful and has established uptake.

The Framework

Intended Uses of the Framework

Biodata Managers will use the framework to:

  • assess biodata systems,
  • prioritise improvements to biodata systems,
  • plan improvements to biodata systems,
  • evaluate biodata systems prior to acquisition, and
  • measure the success of investment in biodata system improvements.

Other potential uses include the following.

  • Biodiversity Managers could use the Framework to assess the usefulness of datasets held internally or externally.
  • Biodata System Providers could use the Framework to verify the maturity of their system.
  • A catalogue of biodata systems could rate systems using the Framework, to make it easy for an organisation to find a system to meet its needs.
  • In future, the Framework could be developed into a validated tool that can be used as part of the contractual basis for biodata system development and science delivery projects.

Components of the Framework

The Biodata Management Framework will have three components1.

  • A Maturity Matrix showing five maturity levels of biodata systems in a set of discrete areas.
  • A System Assessment Form that enables a user to use the Maturity Matrix to assess and set goals for improving a biodata system.
  • A set of Guides providing detailed information to facilitate accurate assessment of system maturity and detailed planning of improvements to a system.

Maturity Matrix

The Maturity Matrix will provide the foundation for the Framework. It will also serve as a summary of the Framework. It will be possible to use the Maturity Matrix by itself to make a quick assessment of and plan for a system.

The Maturity Matrix will consist of the following.

  • A set of defined and distinct biodata management Areas.
  • Five defined Maturity Levels that can be consistently applied across all the areas.
  • A defined Maturity Criterion for each of the five Maturity Levels in each Area.

System Assessment Form

The System Assessment Form will enable a user to carry out and document a system assessment based on the Maturity Matrix.


The Guides will enable a user to carry out a detailed system assessment and to make a plan for improving a system in one or more Areas.

The Framework will include one Guide for each biodata management Area. Each Guide will consist of the following for its Area.

  • A Definition of the Area.
  • User Stories that explain why the biodata management Area is important.
  • An Owner who is responsible for the Guide.
  • A link to an online discussion topic on the Area.
  • How-Tos containing content and references that can be used to improve biodata management in the applicable Area.

Each Guide will also contain the following for each of the five Maturity Criteria defined for its Area.

  • A Check-list of sub-criteria that a system must satisfy to reach the Maturity Criterion.
  • A description of the costs and benefits of maintaining systems to the applicable maturity level.


The prototype framework developed during the scoping stage of the project will be removed from the Dataversity website and replaced with approved versions of the framework as they are developed.

The completed Framework will be presented in a form that allows users to use it to carry out and document their own system assessments and system improvement plans.

It is likely that the Framework will simply be published as one or more PDF documents.

The Framework will be released on the Dataversity website under a Creative Commons By Attribution licence. It will contain acknowledgement of the support received by TFBIS.


The Framework will be promoted via Dataversity, by engaging sector representatives to promote the Framework in their organisations and by conducting training workshops to raise awareness of the Framework and its applications.


The ongoing custodianship of the Framework will be managed by the Dataversity Steering Team.