Invasive species are a global problem, with no respect for national boundaries. Their spread has been exacerbated by increased global trade and the disappearance of natural barriers to dispersal.
Solutions to the problem include preventing their spread, controlling their populations and where possible eradication. However, to have any chance of success we need a lot of information. We need knowledge on which organisms are spreading, where they live, how they spread and how to control them. Furthermore, this information should be disseminated quickly, to allow for rapid action.
Open knowledge is about ensuring the availability and access to data and information. Everyone should be able to reuse and redistribute these data and everyone can contribute to them. Open knowledge relies upon common standards for data exchange and agreed meanings for terms. These common standards include the licences under which information is shared, so that users have complete clarity about what permissions they have.
Open knowledge stems from open science, which aims to make science more transparent, with greater repeatability and more reliability. Particularly where science is funded by the public, its output should be available to the public and funds should be used efficiently to reduce costs and duplication of effort. Furthermore, Open Science is about ensuring the proper attribution and credit of work.
A completely seamless flow of invasive species data is probably impossible, but there is much that can be improved. Through working with organizations that generate and aggregate data we can improve data sharing. Also, by working with the organizations that maintain the standards of biodiversity data, we can improve interoperability. There are an enormous number of organizations involved and not all of them are aware that their work is of interest to invasion biologists.