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09 Mar 2020

Italian local research communities working with Agriculture data meet RDA

About 40 people gathered in Pisa on January 27th to discuss data sharing and data reuse in the agricultural domain. The workshop - organized by the Italian node of RDA, in collaboration with RDA ambassador for Agriculture Caterina Caracciolo and IGAD (Agricultural Data Interest Group) co-chair Imma Subirats Coll - was conceived to introduce RDA to local research communities and to showcase how RDA works to facilitate data-driven research.

And in fact most of the participants came from RPOs and universities of Pisa and Florence. All of them are involved in international research projects related to agriculture. The people present were not aware of RDA and were happy to know more about the Italian node as a point of reference for data related issues also linked to other aspects as compliance with funder and institution mandates.

The first step of the workshop was an introduction of Open Science movement and Open Data general aspects, highlighting the need to build a culture of opening research data. The scene was set by Emma Lazzeri, coordinator of RDA Italian node and researcher at the Italian National Research Council.

“What’s in it for a researcher to share data?”, asked one of the participants. So since the beginning, the discussion was held to point out how single researchers can take advantage of data sharing practices. 

Then the main characteristics of RDA and its work method were introduced by Sara Garavelli, RDA Europe 4.0 Coordinator for Trust-IT. In particular, the community-driven and interdisciplinary approach of RDA was pointed out. 


This cross-discipline approach was also remarked by Imma Subirats Call, RDA Agricultural Data Interest Group co-chair, as shown in the treemap chart below. The graph shows the different RDA groups that IGAD members subscribed to. In the talk, the growing need for data integration in agricultural sciences was underlined. 


The efforts to develop wheat data interoperability guidelines within Wheat Data Interoperability (WDI) working group were presented by Esther Dzale Yeumo, co-chair of WDI. Then the recommendations produced to facilitate the use of semantics as a tool to enhance the interoperability of agricultural data were exposed in the talk of Caterina Caracciolo, co-chair of RDA agrisemantics working group. And the use of controlled vocabularies, especially of RDA Agrisemantics outputs, was illustrated by Ferdinando Villa as an adoption case of RDA results. 

The possibility of collaboration and cross-domain reuse of RDA results was underlined with the talk of Peter Baumann, co-chair of geospatial and Big Data interest groups, two of the groups most subscribed to by IGAD members. 

The workshop was set up in an interactive way and each speech was followed by a discussion space. In addition, at the end of the event, the discussion between participants and speakers was stimulated with questions addressed to the audience via mentimeter tool. Among the issues that emerged, for example, there was how to facilitate the collection of data demanded to farmers in highly technological agriculture projects. 

The workshop highlighted the importance of RDA in the networking within the agricultural domain and also as a single point of entry to connect with experts from other linked disciplines. Besides the importance of adoption story as successful use of RDA outputs and the implementation of concrete results in the community clearly emerged. 

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