AIMS Newsletter No.84, September 2019

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Dear AIMS reader,

After the summer, we come fully rested and full of ideas. We start this issue by presenting you two upcoming online courses, the first on Data Management, Sharing and Services for Agriculture Development, the second on Research4Life and its work in reducing the scientific knowledge gap. 

Enjoy your reading,



Online Course on Farm Data Management, Sharing and Services for Agriculture Development

The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) and Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) have developed together with the Pan African Farmers’ Organisation (PAFO) an online course aiming at creating awareness of data on and for farmers as well as for products and services that have become a growth area, driving expectations and investments in ICT4ag including e-extension, precision agriculture and digital financial services.

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The course furthermore highlights shared data principles, including FAIR and open data conceptual frameworks, while also emphasizing the legal and responsible ethical considerations for data rights and protections.

The organizers will run this free online course from 18 November to 15 December 2019.

To apply for the courses, please complete the Registration Form by 5 November 2019.

Your can learn more about the course here.


Research4Life MOOC - Applications from mid-October

Research4Life is soon to offer a free MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) on how to use its five programmes (Hinari, AGORA, OARE, ARDI and GOALI) effectively as well as covering fundamentals of scholarly communication, information literacy and advocacy to access research in developing countries. It aims to enhance the impact of the capacity development activities across the five programmes through a joint online course.

Research4Life MOOC is brought to you by Elsevier Foundation which is one of the many publisher partners of Research4Life. The goal is to equip existing and potential users of the Research4Life programmes with the knowledge and skills required to access and use the information effectively and efficiently.

This online course is especially targetiting Research4Life’s existing and potential users in eligible countries including researchers, librarians, information professionals, educators, IT specialists, post-graduates and students from eligible type of organisations.

The course will run from 11 November for four weeks and the call for applications will be out by mid-October. The call will be published on AIMS and we will update you with this exciting news in a couple of weeks.


AGRIS' September release

The total AGRIS records reaches 10,206,816 records as of September 2019!

The FAO AGRIS team is pleased to inform all AGRIS data providers and users about the AGRIS September 2019 data release. As of September 2019, the number of AGRIS multilingual bibliographic records has reached 10,206,816 records (including 1,528 Datasets).

But enough with the big numbers! Following the AGRIS meeting held in Moscow in June 2019. AGRIS Team has addressed the feedback provided by the participants and revolutioned AGRIS in a more data-providers- and user-friendly version. As a first step, search results are showing the provenance and the resources page is much clearer.

This is the first step of new improvements that will be implemented during the next months, and that should bring AGRIS as a relevant discovery tool in agricultural sciences!


Research4Life joins the ACE-impact workshop

The objective of the First Africa Higher Education Centers of Excellence for Development Impact Project (ACE-Impact) is to improve quality, quantity and development impact of postgraduate education in selected universities through regional specialization and collaboration. 

This year’s workshop, held in Dakar on 23-27 September, focused on Institutional Impact and Digital Development, both key elements of the ACE Impact project, financed by the World Bank. Together with universities from Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo, also Research4Life joined the discussion, by presenting its programme and its efforts in reducing the scientific knowledge gap.


Workshop on Strengthening the Accessibility and Visibility of Agricultural Data through the Use of Semantics by Defining the Future Sustainability of AGROVOC

The 2nd AGROVOC Editorial Workshop on Strengthening the Accessibility and Visibility of Agricultural Data through the Use of Semantics by Defining the Future Sustainability of AGROVOC organized by FAO and Kuratorium für Technik und Bauwesen in der Landwirtschaft e.V. (KTBL) in Darmstadt (Germany) in June.

The participants discussed thematic topics and cross-cutting topics on management, use and further developments related to AGROVOC, in particular in the context of research data in agriculture, with the objective to enhance knowledge sharing and improve visibility and access to agricultural sciences and technical content of agricultural research worldwide. The discussion also touched editorial policy, questioning the use of common versus scientific names, the use of custom semantic relations from Agrontology, and differences of editorial policy between languages.

The meeting resolved to form an Editorial Task Force to continue discussion of editorial policy, propose solutions for approval by the broader community, and revise the official AGROVOC editorial guidelines, also with a multilingual focus. An upcoming report to the AGROVOC community will include a more detailed summary of the issues discussed in Darmstadt.


Food and Agriculture Microdata Catalogue

FAO has launched the Food and Agriculture Microdata (FAM) catalogue, this new tool provides an inventory of datasets collected through farm and household surveys which contain information related to agriculture, food security, and nutrition. As of July 2019, the FAM contains more than 350 datasets with unit-level information on households and farms, including data used to compute the Food Insecurity Experience Scale (FIES), and agricultural census and surveys for Indonesia, Nepal, Nigeria, and Rwanda.

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The scope of the AIMS Newsletter is to bring under the attention of the AIMS community recent news, events and achievements in the field of (agricultural) information and data management.
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