Mandy Rudd, GiGL Chief Executive
Encouraging use of our data holdings whilst ensuring sustainable funding to manage and improve the resources available is quite a balancing act. Over the last nine years, we have developed a suite of data use licences that offer free access for academic research, defined access for third parties working on behalf of our partners, and funded access for organisations who require access to the data and services we provide to inform local and national decisions about London’s environment.
GiGL partnership datasets have been used for a broad range of research by students and other academics in London and further afield, including from the Ohio State University in the USA. The time the GiGL team spend supplying that data is provided free of charge, in keeping with national guidance from the National Biodiversity Network. All we ask is that any new data and other research outputs are supplied to us at the end of a project to benefit the partnership. This condition is specified in the data use licence for research.
For partner organisations who deliver work through contractors, we developed the contractor data licence which sets out what the third party can and can’t do with the data supplied. These conditions are a reiteration of our access to data policy. It is the responsibility of the partner organisation to ensure the terms of supply are adhered to by their contractor. These include the supply of data for internal use only, and assurances that the contractor is not delivering services similar to GiGL. Contractors’ licences are offered at our discretion and can and have been terminated where conditions of supply have been breached. In the majority of cases, the licence ensures that our partners get the best value from their service level agreement with us and from the working relationship with their contractors. Everyone benefits.
Our partner licences provide access to all the key GiGL datasets under a current service level agreement, and expire at the end of March unless the partner has committed to another year’s agreement. The licence restricts access to the partnership’s data to the partner organisation’s employees, but we are always working with our partners on innovative ways to publish elements of the data for use by a broader audience. This includes the publically accessible elements of iGiGL as well as restricted access areas of centralised information on London-wide initiatives to deliver London’s biodiversity action commitments, green infrastructure initiatives and local and landscape-scale planning. Several partners regularly use this service and save funding and other resources in doing so.
One of the many benefits of our licencing is that organisations that need access to the data and related services must come to us, which in turn helps us to keep down the costs of service level agreements. It also means at any given time that we know who holds a valid copy of our partners’ data, something that is reassuring for the many experts who supply their data for use by the partnership, and is increasingly important for demonstrating access to a current and up to date evidence base.