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Nico Franz <[log in to unmask]>
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Nico Franz <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 29 Nov 2018 20:48:06 -0600
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Hi Mike:

   Again, my preference is to role some of this out through more open, widely shareable webpages, posts, and actual data portals. But, assuming this is relevant enough, and because it is a little different in nature, here goes. Note: all this reflects my current understanding as opposed to being somehow vetted and sanctioned (which isn't planned either, just saying).

   The funding structure of this Biorepository is such that Battelle contracts with NSF to maintain the NEON sampling infrastructure, and ASU subcontracts with Battelle to provide the Biorepository services. There are external working groups or committees that provide oversight (at some rate, to some degree). Renewed support will come in time-specified portions and subject to common conditions.

   Generally speaking, ASU assumes ownership of samples when they are accessioned. Exception: National Park samples and such. Much of this is rather dryly specified in a "Concept of Operations" document that is still available here: We have a statement of work that binds us and reflects much of the ConOps, updated and more fleshed out.

   There is an advanced 12-page draft "Sample Use Policy" document that was set up by key NEON members in close consultation with the collections community, prior to ASU coming in. We've made some comments since but are awaiting maybe 1-2 more rounds of those before putting it out there as a public version 1 to be revised when needed. I'm ok with sharing the draft via e-mail though in the meantime, and using it as the basis for the first transactions. Naturally, the document tries to strike the right balance between encouraging abundant use now and still having samples to work with down the road. We're making sure that it is not over-specified and indeed appropriately vague to max out on benefits for science.

   In summary: for most intents and purposes this will not look all that different from regular inter-collection loan transactions. Likely with somewhat stronger emphasis on outcomes reporting but also with resources through upfront portal services and funding to make that feasible. And hopefully enough flexibility to understand initial shortcomings in practices and policies and remedy them to enhance use and impact. 

   Right now most NEON samples look like this: These are pictures from one of the ~ 20 NEON domain facilities (the one in Tucson), and they are each like source mini-biorepositories (which retain some training collections) for the ASU sink (so to speak). They are cleaned and are "specimens only" but not sorted except for carabids and I think also ticks being handled separately. The associated digitized data, as far as I can tell, are very exhaustive and accurate (down to things like this: We're working on reconfiguring them from multiple fragments into the Darwin Core records that collections folks tend to be familiar with.

   With "El Verde" you mean this? No, for by-catch that one hasn't been "turned on" yet. It's happening in some sequence; we have maybe 5-8 of 20 domains so far.

   Hope this was helpful.