RDA/IGAD Webinar Series: 'Intelligent Plant Data'

As part of the Research Data Alliance's (RDA)/ Agricultural Data Interest Group's (IGAD) ongoing webinar series, aimed to keep up with cutting edge developments in agricultural data, and encourage the free flow of ideas, the latest webinar took place on 16 April 2020.

The webinar focused on “Intelligent Plant Data Linkage: A View from History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Science,” and featured Sabina Leonelli, Professor of Philosophy and History of Science at the University of Exeter and Hugh Williamson, Research Fellow at the University of Exeter. The slides are available here.

Making data move across sites and communities of users continues to pose enormous logistical, scientific and ethical challenges, given the variety of conceptual backgrounds, material environments and social landscapes in which data are produced, evaluated and traded. This talk builds on extensive empirical studies of data curation and re-use in various areas of plant science to consider the conditions under which data can effectively travel across settings, groups, institutions and locations - and with which implications. Understanding these conditions is particularly relevant in the context of interdisciplinary, global collaborations targeting food security, where the linking of data coming from different sources constitutes at once a tantalizing opportunity and a significant scientific, ethical, economic and political problem. By illustrating what it takes to mobilise data responsibly across settings, the session was able to:

  • elicit debate over the complexity of plant data governance and its various publics;
  • highlight the crucial role of data curators in ensuring modes of data re-use that are sustainable, reliable and trustworthy; and
  • reflect on the implications of this opportunity for the status and training of curators within the wider research landscape.

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