By John B. Davis
President, MARE, jdavis [at] marineaffairs.org
Project Supervisor, OpenChannels
Editor, MPA News and MEAM
When I started MPA News back in 1999, the idea behind it was pretty simple: to help the planners and managers of marine protected areas around the world share their knowledge and experience with each other. A few years later the concept was the same for MPA News’ sister newsletter Marine Ecosystems and Management, which serves professionals in the fields of ecosystem-based management and marine spatial planning.
The fact is, no matter where ocean management professionals are located, they typically face a common set of challenges — whether that involves monitoring their sites effectively, or securing adequate funds, or enforcing regulations, etc. By providing a way for peers to learn from each other, MPA News and MEAM have helped speed the advance of good management practices worldwide.
OpenChannels represents the next stage in building that global learning network.
For the 10,000+ of you who are subscribers to MPA News and/or MEAM, you’ll notice the additional tools that this website provides to serve you. Like a searchable library of a thousand publications (mostly open access) on ocean planning and management topics. Open discussion forums and regular live chats with experts. The ability to rate a wide array of content on its usefulness, as well as comment on articles. And more is to come, including a team of outspoken commentators who will debut in September.
Frankly, we are not sure which of these elements will prove most useful to you. That is why we need your feedback. OpenChannels is experimental: let us know what serves your needs and what doesn’t, and we will improve the site accordingly. As you’ve already seen, feedback boxes are located throughout the site.