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System

The ECOTOX network management team has set up a thematic watch system in order to accumulate different types of information (scientific, societal, etc.) concerning ecotoxicology, enable its dissemination to members and produce appropriate summary documents.

What are the objectives of this watch?

ECOTOX watch focuses on the determination of environmental risks (ERA: Environmental Risk Assessment) and the contribution of ecotoxicology to this assessment.  Particular attention is paid to the fate of plant health products and their effects on living organisms, without excluding other risks attached to the chemical contamination of ecosystems.  It also concerns certain points that are specific to the ECOTOX network.

ECOTOX watch also forms part of global efforts to monitor debates, regulatory texts and societal situations linked to the perception of these risks, the consequences of using chemical products and their dissemination in the environment.  Through its transversal approach, it can provide support for the ECOTOX network in its discussions and how it addresses these different scientific issues.

ECOTOX watch is principally intended for members of the ECOTOX network, although its bimonthly watch bulletins provide information to a broader audience via the network's website and its extended circulation list regarding the most important new findings in the field.

Which type of data are monitored?

Several types of data are monitored.  They may be research products (results, reference publications, interventions at congresses and symposia, information meetings, etc.), calls for proposals, new reference documents (reports, expert reviews, standards, etc.), official and parliamentary publications, or the texts that regulate marketing authorisations.  Information from civil society and the media is also monitored: articles, press releases and web pages issued by the farming profession, associations and the general press.

At present, ECOTOX watch focuses on the following themes:

  • Assessment of ecotoxicological risks (scientific publications, reports, official documents, standards, etc.);
  • The life of the ECOTOX network (publications by its members, etc.);
  • Congresses and scientific events;
  • Societal debates (press, associations, etc.).

Emerging topics include:

  • The relationships between ecotoxicology and toxicology,
  • Tools and platforms for research in ecotoxicology.

Which sources and tools are used?

Two types of watch are assured: a watch on websites and a literature watch.

More than a hundred websites are monitored: ministerial portals, official organisations (AFNOR, ANSES, OECD, EFSA, ISO, etc.) and professional agencies (agriculture, agrochemicals, etc.), the general or specialised press (agriculture, environment, agrochemicals), and associations.  News pages on the websites of certain research institutions and learned societies are also monitored.

Literature watch is based on several search equations programmed on the Web of Science®. They are able to list all publications by members of the network and extract those which concern the field of ecotoxicology.

The organisation of the ECOTOX network watch system is summarised in the Figure below.

Figure-Watch

How is this watch implemented?

All information arising from these different sources is collected, filtered by the Digimind® watch platform and managed by an engineer responsible for watch.  This engineer assures technical management of the system, identifies the sites to be monitored, validates certain types of data with the scientific watchmen involved, and compiles the watch bulletin.

The data are divided between several scientific watchmen.  The data are selected according to a jointly-developed reading grid as a function of their relevance (compliance with the topics under watch), their scientific interest (notably with respect to scientific publications), their reliability (for press releases and web pages) and their level of analysis (general press), etc.  The data selected are classified according to a thematic ranking which for each item provides its title, a brief summary, related documents if possible and the link to the site where the source can be consulted.  Some documents (reports, symposium proceedings) are analysed in order to identify relevant extracts and facilitate their consultation.  Finally, the data are assembled in the form of a bimonthly watch bulletin which presents the data by theme.  A diary in the bulletin also lists international, national and regional events relative to the field of ecotoxicology.  For each item listed, a summary of the information, a link to the source website and links to certain downloadable documents are supplied.

The data thus collected and analysed also feed several sections on the ECOTOX website: news, publications by network members, etc.

What are the products of this watch?

Monitoring enables the construction of a knowledge base that can be interrogated online and contains all the data collected.  This database is available via Digimind® for retrospective research and the compilation of thematic dossiers.

The bimonthly watch bulletin is circulated to all members of the ECOTOX network, and to anyone external to the network who so requests.  Some information is sent directly by email to the relevant scientists. 

Some of the information in the bulletin is selected for publication on the ECOTOX website, in different forms:

  • The publication or scheduling of a news item: event or document of interest,
  • An update of the network's bibliographical corpus,
  • And, as from 2016, updates of the content of thematic data sheets; integration of a significant evolution in scientific findings, new reference data at a national or regional level that are linked to a specific theme, etc.

If you would like to send us information to be included in the watch bulletin and/or the ECOTOX network website, to contribute to improving our watch bulletin or participate in our watch activities, please contact Christine Sireyjol at: christine.sireyjol@versailles.inra.fr.