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JCDP Communications Strategy

Communications regarding the JCDP are an essential element of the success of the project. Here, we outline how communications will be applied to: drive data submission and use; promote those who are contributing to the database; and encourage collaboration in using the data and data products. 

The Communications Strategy

The Strategy sets out the plan for communication of the JCDP during development and operational phases in order to:

  • Support achievement of the project aims and objectives. 
  • Engage effectively with stakeholders.
  • Ensure stakeholders understand how to access, contribute to and use the resource.
  • Demonstrate the outputs and successes of the project.

The Strategy will be reviewed on a regular basis (minimum annually) to ensure it remains current. Read on to find a breakdown of the key elements of communicating the JCDP.


Who is the JCDP for?

The JCDP is currently focussed on the north-east Atlantic, collating survey data from all available sources in that area. However, use of these data may extend beyond this region as part of wider analyses, with potential interest from a global audience.

The JCDP has a wide range of potential users including, but not limited to:

Data collectors: collectors of at-sea cetacean data, either new or historic, as a data storage and archiving service, as well as offering tools and guidance on best practice for data collection and recording to result in high quality data.

Government and government advisors: as an effective data resource on which to base analyses, advice and decisions regarding cetacean management and policy.

Regulatory bodies: in providing an evidence base for decision making.

Marine industry: as an evidence resource to support impact assessments and monitoring plans.

Academic research: in support of, for example,  research on cetacean ecology and population dynamics.

Non-governmental Organisations: as a resource that supports maximising the value of data collected by NGOs for the benefit of cetacean conservation.

Public: as a communication tool to demonstrate changes in cetacean populations and ongoing work in support of their conservation.

This diverse group will require a range of approaches to communicate the relevant information.


Communications Aims

Photo of a group of Common Dolphin in a calm sea (© James West)

The Strategy aims to:

  1. maintain relationships with and between stakeholders.
  2. maintain data flow into the JCDP.
  3. develop scientific outputs.
  4. implement outreach of project successes and data products.

The detail of these aims is further explained below: 

Maintain relationships with and between stakeholders

In order to maximise the value of the JCDP in the long term, positive relationships with all relevant stakeholders are essential. Success of the project is not purely in collating data, but in ensuring the data are of a high standard and are widely used for the benefit of cetacean conservation. Proactive and targeted use of communications channels (for example accessible information on this JCDP Hub (the JCDP webpages hosted on the JNCC website) for the general public, or presentation of the work at scientific conferences for the academic community) will foster engagement with the project and contribute to its success.

The established steering group (SG) has good representation across all stakeholders and regular communications to this group will ensure they are kept up to date and that their input can be integrated at all relevant stages in the project. Communication with the SG will be through a combination of email and meetings, as well as regular updates through this JCDP Hub. The SG is central to the communication plan, as the representatives will support dissemination of JCDP aims and achievements through their own networks, broadening the reach of the project.


Maintain data flow

The success of the JCDP will be influenced by the capacity for encouraging submission of existing, and maintaining a flow of new data to ensure the database has comprehensive and up to date information. To achieve this the focus is on building and maintaining relationships with relevant data collectors/providers, as well as being proactive in promoting availability and use of data.

Email will be the primary communication channel as the preferred means of contacting national and international data providers. Face-to-face meetings (including virtual meetings) will be utilised when starting and building a new relationship. The JCDP web showcase and social media will be important in promoting the JCDP and championing the data standard. Clear messaging around the value of adopting the JCDP standard and contributing to JCDP will need to be conveyed to ensure data collectors are onboard with the project and its ambition. Communication will include feedback on the successes of the JCDP project to reinforce the messaging around the value of contributing data.

The tasks associated with communications ensuring/building data flow (ingestion) into the JCDP will be executed by the project manager and officer. Additional technical communication will be required by ICES to data contributors to offer technical support for processes associated with the ICES Data Centre. ICES will offer an email “Helpdesk” service for these tasks. Needs outside of this service such as initial queries regarding accessing data and supporting data providers and users in the event of a data request, will be communicated through the project coordinator.


Develop scientific outputs

The primary objective of the JCDP is to maximise the use of existing data for the benefit of cetacean conservation. As a result, there is a need to be proactive in considering uses of the data, and support facilitation of these uses either independently, or through collaboration. An initial stakeholder workshop (December 2020) was the main communication channel to identify core uses and data products. Once the resource is operational, the availability of the products will be communicated through the ICES portal and this JNCC JCDP Hub.

The SG will also play an important role in identifying data uses and identifying opportunities for new analyses to be undertaken. Any outputs from analyses of JCDP data will be required to acknowledge the JCDP and it will be the role of the JCDP manager to promote fair representation of the project’s contribution and actively encourage collaboration between contributors and with other parties.


Outreach of project successes and outputs

Visibility of the project, outputs and contributions to science and cetacean conservation will have a significant role in the growing success of the project. This will be achieved through several tasks included in the action plan, which will be reliant on the effective use of communication platforms such as the JCDP hub and social media for their success.

Alongside the ICES database and portal hosted within the ICES webspace, there will be a JCDP hub hosted on the JNCC website and maintained by the project officer, which will be a tool for maximising the use of the resource and demonstrating successes of the project. The showcase will:

  • Have a strong link to the ICES web platform and the products featured there (and vice versa).
  • Provide a space for publication and promotion of those involved in the project to recognise the value of their contributions.
  • Act as a communications tool for gaining momentum in data submission and data uses
  • Enable publication and promotion of robust outputs from JCDP parties or third-party users.
  • Provide links to news items; social media posts etc.
  • Enable collaboration facilitation between data providers and data users to result in increased use of the data to produce robust outputs.

The option to offer a subscription to email alerts for the JCDP to remain up to date with recent updates and products will be explored.

Tools, such as infographics, email updates and social media will be applied to offer bite-sized details about the project’s progress, varying in language and content to appeal to a wide audience. Surveillance of third-party outputs using JCDP data will enable the promotion of these outputs and continued demonstration of the potential of the collate dataset in support of data encouraging data submission and demonstrating the potential. An illustration of the data holdings within the database will also be made available and regularly updated, as a tool to publicise.



Measures of success

The ultimate measure of success will be a growing body of high-quality evidence, and widespread use of the data that improves the evidence for cetacean conservation at an international level. There are several indicators that can be used to measure success on an annual basis:


Number of data providers

The number of data providers should increase annually as existing data collectors are encouraged to continue to submit their data, and new data collection projects are formed and engaged. Retention of data providers should be relatively straightforward as the greatest resource need will be on first submission in ensuring the standard and format is compatible. Retention of data providers will be managed under points (i) and (ii) of the communication strategy action plan.


Number of outputs produced using JCDP data

The number of outputs produced using JCDP data should grow annually, which can be measured cumulatively and compared year on year. The aim is for the annual number to grow, as the dataset grows and the potential is recognised.


Number of collaborations facilitated through the JCDP

Collaboration reduces duplication of effort and increases the potential skills and experience available in completing analyses, resulting in a higher chance of robust and appropriate outputs with wider application. The project officer will track collaborations and report back on successes annually.


Social media/blog followers

Media use such as social media platforms, blogs and news items can be tracked for reach, which will illustrate the success of each post and will be reported on annually.


JCDP Hub and ICES platform traffic

There will be the capacity to track the traffic visiting the resource both through the ICES portal and the JNCC-hosted JCDP Hub. GDPR offers an opportunity for individuals to manage how much analytical data are captured, but notification of the intended use of tracking data will be provided alongside the GDPR options to increase the data for illustrating footfall.


Tasks and progress

JCDP Logo (Medium)

The JCDP Communication Strategy has been broken down into individual tasks to achieve the communication plan. 

You can download the current Communication Plan tasks and progress via the JNCC Resource Hub (in pdf format)


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Joint Cetacean Data Programme

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