Ocean Best Practices OBPS Success Story – GOOS-Endorsed Best Practices

EarthzineEarth Observation, Ocean Decade, Oceans


During the last year, Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS), working with the OBPS, have developed a process to enable GOOS community best practices to be identified and made available via a search function in the OBPS.

12 December, 2020

by Juliet Hermes

(This article has been reproduced from 'Good, Better, Best', a newsletter on Ocean Best Practises. You can view the original article and newsletter issue here)

The use of the term "Best Practice" raises many questions. People may have a good method, but they don’t know if it is ”best”, or if there are multiple methods that try to do the same thing. How do they know which one to use? There are many different types of best practices available, from manuals to publications and workshop reports. But which have been through a community review? A peer review does not necessarily constitute a community review, how do you know which one is recommended by the expert community related to your field?

The Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) and its components actively encourage their communities to develop best practices across the lifecycle of ocean observation, from mission design through to delayed mode quality control. Collectively these can be viewed as recognised GOOS community best practices, that have undergone a rigorous process of community review and consensus building for the specified application, Essential Ocean Variable, Essential Biodiversity Variable, Essential Climate Variable, observing platform, or sensor. These broadly and often globally-adopted community best practices are tried and tested methods that are fit for the purpose defined and fully satisfy the definition of a best practice. However, there needs to be a clear means of identifying these key best practices within fora such as the Ocean Best Practice System (OBPS). In fact, this is a feature has been repeatedly requested by the ocean community during the Best Practice workshops.

During the last year GOOS, working with the OBPS, have developed a process to do exactly this, to enable GOOS community best practices to be identified and made available via a search function in the OBPS. This process enables key GOOS community best practices to be endorsed as a ‘GOOS’ best practice for a specific function. In the process this has improved the metadata for OBPS submission and will provide new search parameters around community endorsed best practices in the OBPS.

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GOOSIn order to be a GOOS endorsed best practice, a number of steps must be followed:

  1. A rigorous community review process whereby comments are publicly invited,  adjudicated and actioned by the author;
  2. After the review, approval by the leadership of the relevant Observation Coordination Group network, expert team or other community leaders; 
  3. It is fit for the purpose and fully satisfies the definition of a best practice on the OBPS;
  4. It has been recognised through the relevant GOOS body;
  5. It is available and identifiable within the OBPS repository, or will be submitted as soon as endorsement is received; and
  6. It is updated at relevant timeframes.

This GOOS endorsement process was approved by the GOOS steering committee in September 2020, and the process is currently being piloted (more details here). Two documents have been successfully endorsed and are currently in open access journals with a GOOS-endorsed acknowledgement:

We will update in April as to the tagging system within the OBPS and any newly endorsed best practices.