Developing Agricultural Research Information Systems The experience of the Global Forum on Agricultural Research Ajit Maru...
About GFAR <ul><li>The  Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR)  is  a platform at the global level for dialogue and ...
GFAR’s role in ICM <ul><li>GFAR’s mission consists in  mobilizing all stakeholders , GFAR is not an implementing body  </l...
Building ARD information systems <ul><li>The cross-stakeholder vision has allowed GFAR to have a  privileged perspective  ...
Before 1999 <ul><li>Focus on Scientific and Technical Information (STI) as document-like information objects (DLIOs) </li>...
1999 : ICT Consultation in Rome <ul><li>Outcomes: </li></ul><ul><li>a bottom-up approach should be followed:  </li></ul><u...
2000 - 2005 <ul><li>More attention to Research Management Information Systems (MIS): data on projects, institutions, exper...
Management Information Systems (1) <ul><li>CARIS  database of projects (FAO)   (started in 1975) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Tec...
Management Information Systems  (2) <ul><li>TECA ,  the FAO database of agricultural technologies </li></ul><ul><li>WISARD...
Management Information Systems  (3) <ul><li>Between 2002 and 2005, greater attention to  integration between systems Examp...
Regional Information Systems (RAIS) <ul><li>GFAR’s  Global.RAIS  initiative   ( 2003-2005) Objective:  to support a  wide ...
2005 : Expert Consultation in Rome <ul><li>Organized jointly by GFAR, CTA, CGIAR, FAO and INASP </li></ul><ul><li>Represen...
2005 Expert Consultation: outcomes <ul><li>Need to strengthen the capacity of NARS leaders to advocate greater investment ...
2005-2007: the ICM4ARD GPP <ul><li>The GFAR’s ICM4ARD Global Partnership Programme (GPP) covered activities to  strengthen...
ICM4ARD: RAIS and NAIS <ul><li>RAIS: two approaches to improving access to national information: </li></ul><ul><li>central...
RAIS: access to national information  (1) <ul><li>AARINENA  (West Asia and North Africa) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>NERAKIN and...
RAIS: access to national information  (2) <ul><li>FORAGRO  (Latin America and the Caribbeans) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>INFOTE...
ICM4ARD: greater coherence <ul><li>GFAR’s participation in the IISAST activities </li></ul><ul><ul><li>2007: 2 nd  Expert ...
2007 – now: interoperability <ul><li>IISAST    CIARD Coherence in Information for Agricultural Research for Development i...
Evolution of the approach <ul><li>Centralized databases / repositories with import of data from contributing centers (AGRI...
Interoperable sources / services <ul><li>RSS feeds in general </li></ul><ul><ul><li>ARD:  AgriFeeds  (harvesting + dynamic...
True interoperability <ul><li>Producer and consumer services don't need to coordinate, they are “loosely coupled” </li></u...
Where we are (1) <ul><li>For traditional information types ( documents ) and for information produced with the newest tech...
Where we are (2) <ul><li>The existing sources of information must become really  interoperable  and allow for easy automat...
Where we are: the ARD R.I.N.G. <ul><li>Routemap to Information Nodes and Gateways  (RING): a view on interoperable service...
Challenges <ul><li>Building capacities in information management </li></ul><ul><li>Advocating for increased but also impro...
Developing Agricultural Research Information Systems The experience of the Global Forum on Agricultural Research Ajit Maru...
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Developing Agricultural Research Information Systems. The experience of the Global Forum on Agricultural Research

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Presented by Ajit Maru at the WCCA Congress 2010 held in Reno, US.

The role of the Global Forum has been that of fostering and supporting the development of agricultural research information systems at national, regional and global levels. This cross-stakeholder vision has allowed GFAR to have a privileged perspective on the evolution of the approach to building ARD information systems.

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Developing Agricultural Research Information Systems. The experience of the Global Forum on Agricultural Research

  1. 1. Developing Agricultural Research Information Systems The experience of the Global Forum on Agricultural Research Ajit Maru Mark Holderness Valeria Pesce
  2. 2. About GFAR <ul><li>The Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR) is a platform at the global level for dialogue and action of all stakeholders of agricultural research and innovation for development </li></ul><ul><li>One of the Global Forum’s strategic objectives is to “ boost knowledge and improve communication in relation to agricultural research and innovation ” </li></ul>
  3. 3. GFAR’s role in ICM <ul><li>GFAR’s mission consists in mobilizing all stakeholders , GFAR is not an implementing body </li></ul><ul><li> the role of the Global Forum has been that of fostering and supporting the development of agricultural research information systems at national, regional and global levels </li></ul>
  4. 4. Building ARD information systems <ul><li>The cross-stakeholder vision has allowed GFAR to have a privileged perspective on the evolution of the approach to building ARD information systems </li></ul><ul><li>evolution of the approach </li></ul><ul><li>representative projects over the years </li></ul><ul><li>technologies adopted </li></ul>
  5. 5. Before 1999 <ul><li>Focus on Scientific and Technical Information (STI) as document-like information objects (DLIOs) </li></ul><ul><li>Idea of ONE global information system </li></ul><ul><li>Major project: AGRIS (FAO), started in 1975 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Type of data: bibliographical records </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Technology: XML exports from several centers imported into a central database </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. 1999 : ICT Consultation in Rome <ul><li>Outcomes: </li></ul><ul><li>a bottom-up approach should be followed: </li></ul><ul><li>new systems should build upon existing structures; </li></ul><ul><li>the idea of decentralized, but co-ordinated and interlinked databases, is the most effective and efficient approach; </li></ul><ul><li>it is important to develop capacities to manage data and knowledge, besides documents. </li></ul>
  7. 7. 2000 - 2005 <ul><li>More attention to Research Management Information Systems (MIS): data on projects, institutions, experts </li></ul><ul><li>Development of Regional Agricultural Information Systems (RAIS) </li></ul>
  8. 8. Management Information Systems (1) <ul><li>CARIS database of projects (FAO) (started in 1975) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Technological approach: XML exports from several centers imported into a central database </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Since 2000: </li></ul></ul><ul><li>ISNAR: agricultural research Management Information System (MIS) created by </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Technological approach: manual centralized input in a database </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>AiDA database of projects </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Technological approach: XML exports from different databases and subsequent import into a central database </li></ul></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Management Information Systems (2) <ul><li>TECA , the FAO database of agricultural technologies </li></ul><ul><li>WISARD : database of institutions, projects and experts </li></ul><ul><li>Infosys+ : database of institutions, projects and experts Technological approach: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>decentralized data entry into a central database </li></ul></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Management Information Systems (3) <ul><li>Between 2002 and 2005, greater attention to integration between systems Example : the sharing of information between WISARD, AiDA and Infosys+ </li></ul><ul><li>but exchange of information was on a case-by-case basis and did not involve the adoption of international standards </li></ul>
  11. 11. Regional Information Systems (RAIS) <ul><li>GFAR’s Global.RAIS initiative ( 2003-2005) Objective: to support a wide consultation process by the Regional Forums and their stakeholders to identify needs and priorities to improve ICM for ARD globally starting from the National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS) </li></ul>
  12. 12. 2005 : Expert Consultation in Rome <ul><li>Organized jointly by GFAR, CTA, CGIAR, FAO and INASP </li></ul><ul><li>Representation of more than 50 stakeholder organizations across the world </li></ul><ul><li>This expert consultation endorsed the ICM agenda that emerged from the GlobAL.RAIS consultations </li></ul>
  13. 13. 2005 Expert Consultation: outcomes <ul><li>Need to strengthen the capacity of NARS leaders to advocate greater investment for further development of ICT enabled NAIS </li></ul><ul><li>Need to develop capacities for creating, managing, sharing and using: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>scientific and technical information, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>research and research management information, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>extension, outreach and market information etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Need for greater integration of national and regional agricultural information systems </li></ul><ul><li>Need to establish appropriate governance structures such as task forces and steering committees for global, regional and sub-regional AIS </li></ul>
  14. 14. 2005-2007: the ICM4ARD GPP <ul><li>The GFAR’s ICM4ARD Global Partnership Programme (GPP) covered activities to strengthen ICM under the four main areas of: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>advocacy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>capacity development </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>greater integration and coherence of agricultural information systems </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>improved governance of agricultural information systems at regional and global levels </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. ICM4ARD: RAIS and NAIS <ul><li>RAIS: two approaches to improving access to national information: </li></ul><ul><li>central regional databases with decentralized data entry (e.g. FORAGRO, FARA) </li></ul><ul><li>development or adoption of advanced tools for managing information at the national level and exchanging it at the regional level (e.g. AARINENA) </li></ul>
  16. 16. RAIS: access to national information (1) <ul><li>AARINENA (West Asia and North Africa) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>NERAKIN and NARIMS: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>regional and national modules exchanging data </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>leverage on metadata standards </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>help manage and exchange information on research management (organizations, projects, experts and project outputs) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>FARA (Sub-Saharan Africa) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Regional Agricultural Information and Learning System (RAILS) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>FARA Infosys+ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>database of institutions, projects and experts, by country: centralized database with online data entry </li></ul></ul></ul>
  17. 17. RAIS: access to national information (2) <ul><li>FORAGRO (Latin America and the Caribbeans) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>INFOTEC: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>databases of institutions and experts (by country), documents, news, technologies </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>centralized database with online data entry </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>APAARI (Asia and the Pacific) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>directory of institutions in the region, by country </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. ICM4ARD: greater coherence <ul><li>GFAR’s participation in the IISAST activities </li></ul><ul><ul><li>2007: 2 nd Expert Consultation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Endorsement and promotion of international standards </li></ul><ul><ul><li>endorsement of metadata specifications (FAO, AiDA) and vocabularies (FAO, NAL) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>adoption of international standards in the e-GFAR website and promotion of their adoption to the RAIS and NAIS </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. 2007 – now: interoperability <ul><li>IISAST  CIARD Coherence in Information for Agricultural Research for Development initiative, founded in 2008 by FAO, GFAR, CGIAR, IAALD, CABI Objective: to make agricultural research information publicly available and accessible to all </li></ul><ul><li>New technologies, Web 2.0 approach  recognition that a distributed approach is more efficient and that the accent should be on interoperability , standards, protocols for communication, tools and applications </li></ul>
  20. 20. Evolution of the approach <ul><li>Centralized databases / repositories with import of data from contributing centers (AGRIS, CARIS) </li></ul><ul><li>Centralized databases with decentralized data entry (WISARD, Infosys+, Infotec...) </li></ul><ul><li>Distributed sources with interoperable services (web services, XML, RDF...) </li></ul>
  21. 21. Interoperable sources / services <ul><li>RSS feeds in general </li></ul><ul><ul><li>ARD: AgriFeeds (harvesting + dynamic custom feed generation), SIST (RSS-based), Euforic </li></ul></ul><ul><li>XML exports </li></ul><ul><ul><li>ARD: XML output of FAO document repository </li></ul></ul><ul><li>OAI repositories </li></ul><ul><ul><li>AGRIS is evolving towards an OAI architecture </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Web services </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Google APIs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>ARD: Agrovoc web services </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. True interoperability <ul><li>Producer and consumer services don't need to coordinate, they are “loosely coupled” </li></ul>http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/oreilly/tim/news/2005/09/30/what-is-web-20.html?page=4 “Think syndication, not coordination” “Support lightweight programming models that allow for loosely coupled systems” Tim O'Reilly “Design for ‘hackability’ and remixability” Tim O'Reilly Sources must be designed to be as accessible and re-usable as possible
  23. 23. Where we are (1) <ul><li>For traditional information types ( documents ) and for information produced with the newest technologies ( news, blogs ), the process towards interoperability and advanced services is well advanced, while for other types of information that are vital to the management of agriculture ( institutional information, projects, experts ) there is a lot of work to do </li></ul>
  24. 24. Where we are (2) <ul><li>The existing sources of information must become really interoperable and allow for easy automatic retrieval of information </li></ul><ul><li>Work on mapping between vocabularies or advanced natural language processing must be done for improving the semantic accessibility of information </li></ul>
  25. 25. Where we are: the ARD R.I.N.G. <ul><li>Routemap to Information Nodes and Gateways (RING): a view on interoperable services </li></ul><ul><li>to give an overview of the current offer of information services in ARD and support those who want to implement new services </li></ul><ul><li>a directory of information services in ARD with the specific objective of monitoring, describing and classifying the existing services, making them known and benchmarking them against interoperability criteria </li></ul><ul><li>a CIARD project, led by GFAR </li></ul>
  26. 26. Challenges <ul><li>Building capacities in information management </li></ul><ul><li>Advocating for increased but also improved investment </li></ul><ul><li>Issues related to intellectual property rights and information systems security </li></ul>
  27. 27. Developing Agricultural Research Information Systems The experience of the Global Forum on Agricultural Research Ajit Maru Mark Holderness Valeria Pesce Thank you for your attention

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