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Virtual Network of Experts

Terms of Reference - Context

As proposed by the SLGO Board of Directors and accepted by active member organizations, a Virtual Network of Experts (VNE) was created at the beginning of SLGO operations in 2009.

Below is a diagram illustrating the VNE position within the SLGO structure and within an active member organization. Functional relationships (dotted line) indicate areas of interaction between both structures. The VNE role remains at the operational level as it allows experts to participate in data access collaborative projects with SLGO.

The principles and values driving VNE's activities are those defined in the SLGO Business Plan1 namely:

  • Collaborative governance mechanisms;
  • Respect of jurisdictions and intellectual property;
  • Use of recognized standards with respect to data access and security;
  • Networking and cooperation between parties.


The VNE contributes its expertise as part of collaborative projects submitted to SLGO, prioritized by the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) and accepted by SLGO's Board of Directors. VNE members are information technology, computer system development and data management experts who play an active role in such projects.

As an ongoing process, VNE members share information, tools and good practices and discuss the various issues related to data and information technologies including:

  • Databases
  • Data archiving
  • Data documentation and metadata standards
  • Data security
  • Infrastructures and computer networks
  • Data discovery and data exchange tools
  • Data management policies
  • Open source software

When appropriate, the VNE can make recommendations to SLGO management with respect to those topics.


The Virtual Network of Experts includes at least two (2) technical representatives with expertise in system analysis/programming and in data management/database administration from each active member organizations. These representatives act as official contacts within their organization and as operational liaison officers with the SLGO.

Each designated representative must have a good knowledge of the priorities, objectives and clienteles of its own organization.

He/she must understand SLGO's mission and the areas of interest of its members in order to efficiently participate in collaborative projects.

The SLGO Executive Director may participate in VNE meetings if necessary.

Annex: VNE members list.


  • At the beginning of the year, the Executive Director forwards the list of selected projects to the VNE and communicates SLGO's data access strategic orientations; Within each active member organization, VNE members are kept informed about SLGO project planning and issues by their respective Scientific Advisory Committee representative (internal communication);
  • The VNE is the key link facilitating interactions between each active member organization and the SLGO developers team (operational liaison);
  • On an ongoing basis, the VNE can use a virtual workspace (Ex: GoogleDocs or other) to share documents and/or teleconference (Ex: Webinar or other) for group discussions on specific topics. These tools enable the documentation of interactions and the reuse of information.
  • The VNE can meet when required (conference calls, face to face meetings) for project kick offs or for discussing specific issues.
  1.  Comité Directeur pour la mise en œuvre de l'OGSL. 2007. Plan d'affaires 2007-2011 – Observatoire global du Saint-Laurent (OGSL). 64 p. [French only]

Annex – Members of the SLGO Virtual Network of Experts ― VNE

St. Lawrence Global Observatory – SLGO
Germain Sauvé

Computer Development

Active Members

Fisheries and Oceans Canada – DFO
Sylvain Hurtubise

Data Management

Environment and Climate Change Canada – ECCC
To be confirmed

Université du Québec à Rimouski – UQAR/ISMER
James Caveen

IT Services

Agriculture, Pêcheries et Alimentation – MAPAQ
Joël Bonenfant

IT Services

Université Laval
Brigitte Robineau

Data Management
Richard Marquis
IT Services

Institut national de la recherche scientifique – INRS
Daniel St-Onge

IT Services