CETAF Bodies

CETAF bodies have been established to promote collaboration on issues or questions that are of interest to CETAF and its members.

The bodies under CETAF (Working Commissions, Sub-committees, Special Interest Groups) focus on a range of different topics, questions, themes or activities that are of key interest to CETAF and its membership. They are mandated by the general meeting or Executive Committee and report regularly to the general meeting on their progress and achievements.

Below you can find the description of activities of all the active CETAF bodies. If you are part of the CETAF Community, you can access them through the "Community" tab on the Main Menu.

Working Commissions

Working Commissions are groups that focus on addressing particular topical issues.

Digitisation Group

The CETAF Digitisation Group will collaborate on digitisation issues and work together to share their experiences of digitisation, to increase our capacity to carry out the digitisation of collections in the widest sense, including archives, libraries and natural history collections. In addition to acting as a place to share information on digitisation, it will also discuss and promote potential projects between CETAF members who will be invited to join in funding bids. The working group is set up to run longer than the usual 3 to 5 year projects and will act as a bridge between CETAF bodies and initiatives as well as any concurrently running projects.

Research Assessment Group

The CETAF Research Assessment Group will undertake the task of evaluating the criteria proposed for the evalutation of researchers, as outlined in the EDIT MoU on Evaluation criteria, and developing concrete measures for the evaluation process (CETAF guidelines of the assessment of taxonomists and taxonomic outputs) as well as on the citation of taxonomic work. The objective of the group is to produce a series of guidelines that can be adopted by CETAF and put into practice by its members as well as funding agencies, academic institutions or other entities when evaluating taxonomists and their outputs. This working group is currently dormant and will pick up its activities again when possible.

Training and e-Learning Group

The CETAF Training and E-Learning in Taxonomy Group will work together to exchange experiences and good practices in internet-based education, to develop a vision for e-learning within CETAF and to provide a Virtual Learning Environment in Taxonomy. It will also investigate the possibilities for developing a system of recognized training certificates and recognition at EU level for the educational activities of the CETAF members.


Sub-committees are advisory groups or panels that are set up for a specific purpose.

CETAF Strategy Group

The CETAF Strategy Group will undertake the task of outlining the CETAF roadmap by examining the issues that will be important for the strategic development of CETAF into the future. The group will focus on developing concrete  actions that should be taken by the consortium to meet its objectives. It will also produce the 2014-2015 CETAF position paper that will outline the road ahead for CETAF.

Special Interest Groups

Special Interest Groups are set up to focus on key topics or specific issues within CETAF and act as forums of information exchange and collaboration on issues in the medium to long-term.

CETAF Collections Group - CCG

The CETAF Collections Group was established within the European Distributed Institute of Taxonomy (EDIT) to develop the durable integration of European natural history collections. It was integrated into CETAF in 2011. It aims at building a sustainable network of European natural history collections, and developing Europe-wide policies on the management of and access to collections. Hence, its work programme consists of concrete steps towards convergence of policies, compatibility of methodologies and standards, and interoperability of systems across CETAF and non-CETAF institutions alike. The Collections Groupalso aims to increase the visibility of European natural history collections and increase their impact within political decision making and development; to improve digital and physical access to collections and associated information. To meet its ends, the group cooperates with other initiatives and activities at the European and global levels, including SYNTHESYS, SPNHC, SciColl, ICOM, and GBIF.

Information Science & Technology Commission - ISTC

The ISTC was established as a technical working group of the EU funded European Distributed Institute of Taxonomy (EDIT) and, upon agreement of all parties, was integrated into CETAF in 2011. The ISTC facilitates dialogue and collaboration between the informatics departments of CETAF member and non-mmber institutions to ensure institutional interoperability through the develoment common infrastructures and common standards. Its aim is to propose procedural changes and adaptations to informatics systems to ensure (as far as possible) compatibility of components for digital information exchange and sharing. Members of the ISTC officially represent IT and/or Biodiversity Informatics departments of CETAF institutions.

Legislation and Regulations Group - L&R

The L&R group gathers information on regulations and legislation that may affect the activity of CETAF members, especially with respect to natural history collections and scientific research based on living or preserved specimens. The group maintains direct contact with the EU and other relevant stakeholders and takes action to ensure that the voice of CETAF members is heard at the European and International levels. It focuses on topics such as scientific research, the transfer of knowledge and specimens, the mobility of researchers and collections, and taxonomic facilities infrastructures. This group has recently been active in addressing the impact that the regulations on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from Their Utilization to the Convention on Biological Diversity (ABS, in short) will have on our Consortium members. The group produced a CETAF Code of Conduct and Best Practice for Access and Benefit-Sharing that helps the CETAF member institutions to collectively implement the regulations, once the Nagoya Protocol enters into force.

European Initiatives Advisory Group - EIAG

The EIAG collates information on EU funding opportunities and coordinates its transmission to CETAF members. The EIAG was set up to provide information on EU funding opportunities to CETAF members in collaboration with the General Secretariat. The aim is to build a platform of information exchange to facilitate the development of joint projects including, but not limited to, research projects (i.e. through Horizon 2020, COST, Marie Curie actions), and environmental projects (through the LIFE programme), amongst others. Coordinated from Brussels, the EIAG can be called upon to provide information that is needed by other CETAF bodies or the CETAF General Assembly.


Earth Science Group – ESG

Earth science collections are crucial for understanding Earth and solar system. They provide the only physical objects documenting their evolution, preserve information on past biodiversity or climate change and are essential for mitigating natural disaster risks, demonstrating their high societal relevance. Geoscientific collections are distinct from biological ones by their deep-time aspects.
Hence, geoscientific collections and research need to be more visible. The CETAF Earth Science Group will work to efficiently integrate earth sciences into CETAF and strengthen the valuable collections consisting of fossils, minerals, rocks etc. The ESG will also work closely to address the specific earth science issues such as field work, preparation and restauration of objects, curation and research as well as the increased incorporation of fossil names in global taxonomic databases.

European Biodiversity Monitoring Group - BiodivMG

Biodiversity is deteriorating across Europe as recently shown for airborne insects (Hallman et al. 2017). Due to a lack of comprehensive monitoring systems, biodiversity loss remained largely unrecognized and too little is known about the underlying processes. To halt biodiversity loss in Europe, there is a glaring need to continuously document biodiversity change and investigate determinants of population decline, as well as to develop solutions for ecological applications that are highly relevant for society.
The CETAF Biodiversity Monitoring Working Group will tackle these issues by employing the scientific expertise of the European taxonomic facilities. By use of state-of-the-art technologies, the CETAF BiodivMG creates an inventory of the rich European biodiversity with a focus on individual species, and implements large scale and fine grained monitoring programs. Natural History Institutions are predestined for this endeavor as they have the necessary taxonomic expertise, advanced identification tools as well as species occurrence and trait databases containing historical records that provide the baseline for future comparisons. Moreover, with their rich experience with engaging citizen scientists in collecting biological data and material, the CETAF member institutions have the potential to bridge the gap between academic research and the general public.

E-Publishing Working Group - E-PUB

The WG on e-publishing addresses the need to support scientific online publishing and comprises of representatives form CETAF members in charge of or involved in publishing-related activities. Its work plan currently focuses on online publishing and open access among other things and has been designed following three major objectives: to network and share experiences, to identify actions to be undertaken in order to tackle CETAF Strategic Objectives in relation to publishing, and to organise joint workshops on relevant topics and technical developments. Potential topics along these lines include impact factors, statistics that show the publishing activities of CETAF members, analysis of the institutional policies regarding open access, and proposals regarding exchange programs, print on demand solutions, Open Access etc.