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New 21C Infrastructure for Sharing Scientific Data

Sharing research data is “an intricate and difficult problem” (Borgman, 2011, JASIST). There is relatively little sharing taking place and few standards for giving data the required computational semantics to make sharing an automated process. Yet, reusing data is one of the core principles of science and poses a major concern for scientists and policy makers alike.

To help address this challenge for agricultural scientific communities, 21c have begun to work with a team of eleven global partners to deliver a new Innovative Integrated Infrastructure Initiative (I3) – agINFRA – that will remove existing obstacles concerning sharing, processing and accessing scientific information and data in agriculture, as well as improve the preparedness of agricultural scientific communities to face, manage and exploit the ever-increasing abundance of multi-disciplinary data that is available to support agricultural research.

Susie represented 21c at the inaugural agINFRA project meeting that took place in Rome between the 8th and 10th November, 2011, hosted by FAO (UN Food and Agriculture Organisation). A series of presentations and interactive workshops from the consortium of world-leading scientific and technical research institutes, specialist SMES, agricultural enterprises and NGOs enabled the Team to begin the design and development process for creating the innovative scientific data infrastructure. The project meeting highlighted the wide variety of agricultural databases and data types that would need to be supported by the infrastructure, the types of users that would access the data and the service components that would facilitate quicker and easier data generation, certification, curation, annotation, navigation and management. agINFRA’s next phase involves undertaking user needs research to develop content and technical requirements.

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