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The end of 2012 brings us to the 5th ACEAS newsletter, and the end of a busy year of achievements.…

2012 saw the ACEAS portal launched, with two data deliveries available for view, and two more in the wings. In addition, we had the first DOI (Digital Object Identifier) minted for TERN with Richard Thackway’s data earning that accolade (check out Guru’s article in this newsletter on this topic).

The first ACEAS Final Reports have been produced, with five available at the time of writing this article, and another couple will be there by the end of the year. These formed a major part of the display at the Ecological Society of Australia conference at which ACEAS was a silver sponsor (on behalf of TERN). Check them out, and as papers are accepted they will be updated.

We now have had 27 Working Groups or Workshop teams funded through ACEAS. Some are finished their direct activity, but we continue to hassle them for ‘product’ and to hear news of their resulting achievements. ACEAS ‘products’, apart from data deposition and final reports, now includes one published letter and two papers accepted in a refereed journal. Two other papers are in review, and look very positive. One of these was the 29-author paper emerging from the Grand ACEAS Workshop in March. Many groups have presented their work at conferences, both in Australia and overseas, and we try to post as much as we can on the relevant ACEAS web page (with a link to the front page), and sponsor attendance.

Has ACEAS made a difference? Yes it has, at a personal level and also on a wider, collective scale, and Estelle has provided an article in this newsletter about this. It is only through such systematic review that we can demonstrate the transformative value of ACEAS.

We look forward to 2013 with a fascinating live-streamed discussion in conjunction with the TERN symposium at Questacon in Canberra on the 20th February on the broad topic of "Ecologically sustainable development in Australia's policies for the 21st Century: do we just pay lip service?", with Lord Robert May, the previous chief scientist of the United Kingdom, Dr David Schimel from NEON and the California Institute of Technology, and Prof. Lesley Hughes of Macquarie University and the Wentworth group. These three will be matched with three policy experts. Places are limited, so please register your interest by the 14th of January by emailing with the subject line "Questacon event" and we shall contact you in the new year to confirm details and your attendance.

But until then we hope you have a refreshing break over the festive season.


ACEAS 2012 in Pictures

ACEAS in Pictures

ACEAS is now on Facebook and Twitter!

Stay up to date with funding announcements, ACEAS research, final report launches and group meetings, on ACEAS's Facebook page and Twitter stream!

What people are saying about ACEAS

Every group that has participated in an ACEAS workshop has been asked for their feedback about your feelings about the ACEAS experience, how you have functioned as a group, and how we have gone (was the catering any good? Did you get lost on the way? etc.),. Your feedback up to the end of August 2012 has been analysed (by Estelle)—a total of 173 responses across 23 groups in five different locations (yes, it has been that many). The primary purpose of these surveys is for us to improve our practice, but we shall also be using it for a journal article we are planning to submit on ACEAS.

We would like to share a summary of what you all thought was different about ACEAS.

Question: What’s different about ACEAS [from other workshop experiences]?

Answer: ACEAS provides a one-stop-shop!

In response to this question, the top 4 words you spoke about were support, focus, group and work.

At number 4: SUPPORT

Support provided by ACEAS for your activities was greatly valued.

"Support is almost 100% - arrangement of travel and transport, accommodation and meals is 1st-rate."
"So far there appears to be a strong collaborative spirit and mutual respect within the group which appears to engender trust and comfort in communicating within the group. The workshop has already exposed me to a unique range of committed professionals that I look forward to drawing on for their technical advice and personal support."
"Excellent organisation and SUPPORT enables participants and particularly the organisers to focus on the workshop content."
"Gives confidence that the outcomes/outputs of the project will be accessible to users, a step which often gets less priority when concentrating on delivering projects."
At number 3: FOCUS
"The organisation was seamless, so all I had to do was concentrate on the meeting."
"Good 'product' focus."
"Focussed, well organised, comfortable."
"Ability to focus entirely on tasks."
"...'science' purpose and a group focussed on 'measurements'."
At number 2: GROUP
"The common theme of the group and a common direction are good for getting things done."
"The working groups are not just about talking but for actually working. … working on datasets in the room allows immediate discussion with experts on issues that would otherwise be put aside."
"Depth of detail discussion can be held, and personal networks are now being used outside of the actual working group that has benefits with other projects."
"I think the structure and the group numbers means that people are engaged more of the time."
"I have rarely enjoyed a workshop as much as I have enjoyed this one. ACEAS made that possible by leaving us with few other distractions and giving us the broad parameters to self-organise."
At number 1: WORK
"Independent body sponsoring and facilitating the work."
"Australian-scale. Solving big issues. More stimulating than usual."
"ACEAS has provided a unique opportunity to bring together managers from disparate parts of northern Australia at the beginning of two important research projects."
"It has promoted a more integrated approach to collaborative work, including facilitating continuous communication, data and information exchange and follow-up group activities throughout the process."
"Unique, no other workplace offers what ACEAS offers."
"Our workshop was a relatively rare gathering - it’s not common to bring such a diverse, multi-disciplinary group together for nearly 5 days of focussed activity."
Your detailed and honest feedback is much appreciated and Estelle has used this analysis to inform our on-going surveys.

Thank you for helping ACEAS to improve its service to the Australian ecosystem science and management community.

Estelle and Alison

Citable ACEAS Data Products

ACEAS is pleased to announce that working group data products will be assigned Digital Object Identifiers (DOI). The DOI is an international ISO standard persistent identifier that provides a unique identity to digital or non-digital objects. This will enable datasets to have a unique identifier and make them first-class objects similar to journal articles.

Currently, DOIs have been assigned to the datasets published as part of the project 'Transformation of Australia's Vegetated Landscapes'.

Richard Thackway was the key researcher of this project, spending time in ACEAS as sabbatical fellow. As part of the project, synthesised data were developed on site-based vegetation transformation. The methodology and datasets developed are important information for understanding land use and land management practices.

A DOI has been assigned to these datasets to make them sharable and re-usable. Following is the citation information including DOI for a dataset for Goorooyarroo Nature Reserve site in the ACT:

Thackway, R (2012) Transformation of Australia's vegetated Landscapes, Goorooyarroo Nature Reserve site 3, ACT. ACEAS. doi:10.4227/05/508637F997933.

Details about the data products can be viewed on the ACEAS portal

The ACEAS portal

Siddeswara Guru, the ACEAS-TERN Data Integration and Synthesis Coordinator

ESA Workshop ‘Smarter Workflows for Ecologists’

As part of the Ecological Society of Australia’s annual conference in early December, a team from TERN presented a workshop on the lifecycle of data management and the new initiatives available through TERN that can assist ecologists (and others) manage their data better.

The workshop was the first time the TERN team had got together in this way. Nikki Thurgate (data collection), Alison Bradshaw (data ownership), David Turner (data storage and acquisition), Alison Specht (data analysis and synthesis) and Gabriel Abramowitz (modelling) presented, with Tim Clancy providing the overarching links and raison d'etre for an integrated approach.

The attendees, although few (it was the morning after the night before), were very engaged, most wanting more time than we were given, particularly for individual discussion, and pleased to learn "How to make data 'shareable' and the relative importance of bringing datasets together" as well as solutions to concerns around data ownership. The benefit and value for improving data management was clearly argued, and several horror stories emphasised the need to establish data ownership at the beginning of a project.

Data modelling

Data modelling: part of the data management approach presented by ACEAS.

TERN ESA Workshop 2012, 'Smarter Workflows for Ecologists'

Meeting Dates

meeting dates
NOTE: MBRS = University of Queensland Moreton Bay Research Station
ACEAS Santa-Ant

Contact: Alison Specht | ACEAS Program Manager |

TERN is supported by the Australian Government through the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy and the Super Science Initiative.


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