Emphasis on open data at 2017 Meeting of G20-Agricultural Chief Scientists

On November 14 and 15, the Agricultural Chief Scientists of the G20 countries met for their annual meeting in Potsdam under the German Presidency.  Johannes Keizer from the GODAN Secretariat and Daniel Martini from the German MACS delegation presented the results of the Linked Open Data workshop, which was jointly organized by GODAN and the German Ministry of Agriculture and Nutrition. The presentation emphasized the FAIR principles as a framework to help  improve data sharing practice and move to achieve open data

Many delegates reacted positively on this report and confirmed their commitment to open data. 

The Chief Scientists state in the Communiquè of the meeting:

"Acknowledging the growing relevance of “open access” and “open data” within the global agri-food sector, tracing back to respective suggestion of the United States at 1st MACS in Mexico (2012) and taking note of the discussions on information and communications technology (ICT) in agriculture in further G20 formats, Germany hosted an expert workshop on Linked Open Data in Agriculture, which was conducted in Berlin on 27th and   28th September 2017. Participants presented a wide range of applications and use cases of Linked Open Data from different countries, discussed strategic and political issues to be addressed and planned further activities "

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G20 Workshop on Linked Open Data in Agriculture

More than 80 participants came to Berlin on September 27-28 for a workshop focusing on "Linked Open Data in Agriculture," jointly organized by GODAN, the German Federal Ministry for Food and Agriculture (BMEL) and the Association for Technology and Structures in Agriculture (KTBL).

The workshop took place under the G20 German presidency and was linked to the activities of the G20 Meeting of Agricultural Chief Scientists (MACS) on information and communication technology (ICT). Its aim was to focus on obstacles to implementation and to create stronger networks among existing initiatives.

Dr. Klaus Heider, the German Delegation Head in MACS opened the workshop and underlined the importance of access to information and data in the development of agriculture.

The workshop was addressed also by GODAN's Andre Laperriere and Mr. Martin Kunisch from KTBL before two days of intensive presentation and discussion.

Linked Open Data (LOD) is the combination of technology of globally linked data with the philosophy of free access to information. For the field of agriculture, this approach is being tested in support of global food security, site-adapted agriculture and international research collaboration.

The two-day professional workshop targeted an international audience with lectures by experts and discussion sessions. Both days included a two-track programme with parallel sessions. One track on policy implementation focussed on country and organization level issues such as data ownership and data rights, investment in information, while another track covered cutting edge technology issues such as new applications and services.

Specific insights and recommendations coming out of the workshop included:

• Re-inventing the wheel is expensive and wasteful. Look to re-use and build on the work of others, and look for synergies between different efforts.

• Collaboration does not happen on its own. Workshops such as this build the professional and social networks necessary for making progress on common agendas. Cooperation does not require heavy administrative overheads but can (and must) succeed with lightweight frameworks.

• To have an impact, LOD technologies will need to draw on a pool of qualified students schooled in thinking in terms of LOD data structures. LOD applications may be coded and configured by experts, but they must be usable by everyone, including students of agriculture.

• The support of governments is crucial to the agenda of supporting open data, and a way should be found to work towards this objective, including through the GODAN initiative.

• Join GODAN working groups that aim at agreement on a global soil data structure, or help create new GODAN working groups on topics such as data rights.

• Datasets can be made more visible on the Web simply by describing them in Web pages with embedded RDF metadata using Schema.org vocabularies.