agINFRA is pioneering the connection of Agricultural Data through an Open and Participatory Data Infrastructure.
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The agINFRA project, supported by the Agriculture Information Management Standards of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (AIMS FAO) and the CIARD global initiative, introduces a set of recommendations applying to agri-food research community for data management, sharing and dissemination. Additionally, these recommendations aim to provide a framework for the research community of European agri-food research institutions that need to follow the H2020 Open Access mandate and share their metadata with their thematic aggregator in order to publish them in OpenAire .
With these recommendations, agINFRA aims to function as the thematic aggregator of the agri-food research domain and act as the main research community for OpenAire.
You can find the agIFNRA recommendations here.
As the agINFRA project draws to a close, one of the biggest and most unexpected areas of our work has undoubtedly been the promotion of the Open Data in Agriculture agenda. Our selection as part of the EC response to the G8 Agricultural Open Data summit in 2013 and subsequent leadership in the Global Open data in Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) movement have offered the project a unique perspective on the collision of the Open Data movement with agriculutral research. The project has learned many lessons from this fruitful interactions and now we have a message for those who come after us:
The discourse around Open Data in Agriculture must change. For many years, the research community in agriculture has worked to build data collections in silos. Such information assets represent an important first step toward free access to agricultural data. However, separate repositories / collections still place the burden of discovery on the end user, forcing them to locate and extract relevant data from the thousands of repositories in which it is stored. Such a burden is counter-productive to both scientific research and entrepeneurship.
For Open Data in Agriculture to realise its full potential, data managers, beyond publishing all their raw data (respecting privacy and security wherever pertinent) in institutional / thematic repositories / collections, should take care of making such resources more broadly discoverable by humans and machines by registering them in shared public directories and providing all the technical information that allows applications to process those data. At the same time, more needs to be done by the Agricultural data community to reach out to entrepeneurs who can put their data to work in new services.
Many of the most important innovations for human sustainability over the coming decades will focus on ways to improve the efficiency, environmental impact and economic potential of our agricultural production systems. The enetrepeneurs and companies who develop these advances need access to free, high-quality data as a basis for new services, insights and models. Open Agriculutral Data needs to do more to re-brand itself as an entrepreneurial, as well as a social, movement and to invite commercial entities into the conversation around the future of data.
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