Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Talking about data silos and data pools

Yesterday I was invited to participate and present in a meeting about networking projects about climate change. It was a meeting organized in the context of the OLIVE CLIMA - LIFE11 ENV/GR/000942 project and the participants (about 40 people) were mainly Greek agricultural researchers working in the same or related LIFE-funded projects, as well as representatives from the Ministry of Rural Development and Food and the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change. The meeting was hosted at the lovely premises of the Forest Research Institute, at Ilisia, Athens, Greece located within a large hill park.

During the introduction to the meeting, my friend Dr. George Koubouris highlighted the fact that the audience consisted of researchers who are working in the same context, share the same or similar research interests but still they were not familiar with each other. This was one of the points that I would like to highlight in my presentation, focusing on efforts like the VOA3R portal for networking agricultural researchers and of course AgriVIVO. During the presentations made by the project partners, I also realized the need for a centralized repository to host all their research outcomes (at least the ones developed in the context of their projects) so that they could be more easily accessible by a wider audience.

George Koubouris presenting
 My presentation was based on existing material developed for the dissemination purposes of agINFRA and was focused on the need for moving from the existing data silos (e.g. the individual and not (inter)connected web sites of the projects hosting the project's outcomes) to data pools (which would provide the opportunity for these outcomes to be reached by a much wider audience). There was also a short demonstration of the VOA3R portal, as a mean for Greek researchers to find a virtual space for sharing, creating their own community/communities and finding a common ground to for further collaboration. Unfortunately it had to be really short, it was the last one in the programme and there was already a significant delay in the original schedule.
The advantages of having the last presentation; your last slide remains there for longer!
The participants seemed to be interested in the contents of the presentation, as it was pointing exactly to their needs; I expect that to happen in each agINFRA presentation anyway, as the project is really promising. During the round table session, which was the last part of the meeting, agINFRA was proposed as the mean that they could use for making their collection publicly available in case they are interested. Specific questions were raised, mainly related to the licenses and rights that should be used for sharing their research outcomes, so CC Licenses as well as the existence of Data Exchange Agreements and Memorandi of Understanding.
Presenting the agINFRA approach on data pools