The IGAD Pre-Meeting took place on the 21st and 22nd of September 2015 in Paris and focussed on a wide range of topics within the agricultural research data management area as a preparation for the RDA 6th Plenary Meeting.
IGAD stands for “Agricultural Data Interest Group” and is one of 42 interest groups under the RDA umbrella. It focusses on all issues related to data important for the development of global agriculture and aims to represent all stakeholders producing, managing, aggregating, sharing and consuming data for agricultural research and innovation. The group helps to promote good practices in our research domain: data sharing policies, data management plan, data interoperability.
Around 50 people attended the Pre-Meeting. Participants came from universities, private companies, research institutions, the European Commission, international organizations and international projects. Thus many area of the agricultural data community were covered and represented.
Discussed topics of the meeting were
- Adoption of good data management in institutions (Data management plans at Wageningen University/ Capacity Development by Codata)
- Different aspects of agricultural soils research data management in different regions (availability, access, interoperability, publishing)
- Data access and data availability (Use Cases from INRA and Land Portal,
- Interoperability (OGS standards, vocabularies, GACS project, methodologies, disambiguation, specific services and tools)
- Semantics for interoperability (Ontology-based services, Crop-ontology)
After having exchanged the state-of-the-art of projects and initiatives within 18 presentations on the first day, four working groups discussed on how to progress in the specific areas on the second day:
- Group 1: Institutional issues: how to get policies on openness and good data management adopted and implemented?
- Group 2: Increase data access and availability (formats, users)
- Group 3: Interoperability (policies, tools, taxonomies, standards)
- Group 4: Soil Data Discussion Group
The results of the working groups were presented and discussed in the RDA plenary meeting.
Group 1: Institutional issues: how to get policies on openness and good data management adopted and implemented?
The main result of this group was that the implementation of openness and good data management could best be promoted by
- Training researchers to promote a bottom-up approach to implement open data: Agronomy societies could help to define training curricula for their research data management.
- Cooperation with GODAN
- Involving private companies to learn more about their cooperation with farmers
The discussion group explained that no working group should be created for these actions. However, involved people can built a platform for exchange and can facilitate contacts.
Group 2: Increase data access and availability (formats, users)
This group found the following focusses to increase data access and availability:
- To recommend data sharing repositories
- To recommend permanent UID provider (i.e. AGORA)
- MCPD to include PUID/DOI for germplasm
- Environment variables ontologies: can only be done via discussion
- MIAPPE recommendation
The group left open if these topics could be addressed in a working group or in a workshop.
Group 3: Interoperability (policies, tools, taxonomies, standards)
This group worked out three possible topics that were considered as especially important for data interoperability and that could be further promoted in future. These three topics are:
- Data/metadata quality
- Standardization of variables and units of measure
Unfortunately participants cannot spend additional resources on a working group to work actively on these issues. However it is possible to collaborate with already existing groups like for example the Biodiversity working group or the Data Type Registries working group.
Group 4: Soil Data Discussion Group
Especially discussion group 4 (Soil Data) was interested in establishing a working group within the RDA umbrella and in liaising with the soil science community and other related entities with the objective to find synergies and the overall goal to enhance the quantity and quality of soil data and information. Concrete actions could to analyse and validate existing data collections regarding their interoperability and to promote global standards based on the results. The realization of these actions depends also on available funding.
In general, the participants agreed that awareness raising is crucial for the promotion of good data management. This includes several dimensions:
- Awareness has to be raised for the necessity to open data repositories by researchers and private actors
- Awareness has to be raised to implement good data management policies within institutions to support openness and standards that should be applied to data repositories.
- Awareness has to be raised for the existence of tools and already existing standards that just have to be used in order to facilitate good data management.
With successful use cases implemented by champions it may be easier to also motivate smaller players to revise their data management systems.
Furthermore the linking between existing communities and initiatives was underlined in order to benefit from synergies and advocate for good data management. In this regard, the GODAN initiative could significantly support the community:
GODAN is a global international undertaking with roots in the G20 summit in 2013 in New York that supports unrestricted, machine readable access to data and knowledge. It seeks to support global efforts to make data relevant to agriculture and nutrition available, accessible, and usable for unrestricted use worldwide. GODAN could also provide funding for related initiatives.
Proposed follow-up actions:
1. A workshop to facilitate interactions among important stakeholders in Soil research data management – probable date February 2016 at Paris.
2. Proposals to the RDA Europe funding call: 1. topic: to set up of a DOI service for wheat data that will mint DOIs to wheat data for free
3. To work towards IGAD at RDA P7, Tokyo. It is proposed to hold the IGAD-GODAN session/s at the RDA P7. The IGAD community is welcome to send us proposals and suggestions for topics to be included.