Full title: Sharing the benefits arising from the use of Digital Sequence Information on genetic resources: EMBRC supports the DSI Scientific Network call for a decoupled and multilateral solution respectful of the Open Science policies and scientific practices

The United Nations Biodiversity Conference (Part 1), comprising the fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP15) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), concluded on Friday 15 October 2001, with the adoption of the Kunming Declaration 'Ecological Civilization: Building a Shared Future for All Life on Earth'. Part 2 will resume in April 2022 with the aim to agree on the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. 10 years after the adoption of the Nagoya Protocol, the CBD members are expected to resolve the status of Digital Sequence Information (DSI) from genetic resources with the objective of sustaining fair and equitable benefit-sharing out of the utilisation of genetic resources.

Modern practices in science are based on Open Science principles, characterised by the free movement of data and knowledge. The scientific community, which produces and exchanges streams of biological data through international scientific databases, has indicated its concerns about access and use of DSI being restricted by the COP15 decision, with a detrimental effect on the production of knowledge. Since no representative of said community has been appointed among the members of the recently established Informal Co-Chairs Advisory Group on DSI, Open Science considerations may not be fully taken into consideration.

The DSI negotiations at COP15 will place Open Science under the spotlight. Considering the antagonistic positions amongst the negotiating parties, recognising the positive impact of Open Science practices on the global conservation of biodiversity is crucial to reach an agreement. In this context, UNESCO will soon adopt recommendations recognising the transformative potential of Open Science and call for an international common understanding of its values and impacts. UNESCO recommendations are legal instruments by which its Member States are invited to take action to apply the adopted principles and norms.

The European Marine Biological Resource Centre (EMBRC), a research infrastructure with nine member countries, participates in the European Open Science Cloud through projects such as EOSC-Life, which supports progress and defence of the European Union Open Science policy. As a transnational research infrastructure, with open-access advanced facilities and technologies to study marine biological resources and ecosystems, as well as a long-term coastal genomic observatory producing open-access data (EMO-BON), EMBRC is a key player in fostering knowledge on marine biodiversity.

EMBRC has endorsed the 'Keep DSI a common good' position paper signed by more than 400 European researchers. It supports the call of international scientific users of genetic resources and derived digital sequence information conveyed in the DSI Scientific Network for a decoupled and multilateral solution for DSI. Any solution that would guarantee free and open access to DSI will sustain UN Sustainable Development Goals and the implementation of the Post-2020 Global Framework for Biodiversity, which are only achievable in an Open Science landscape.

Sabrina Gaber
Communication Officer

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