A regional workshop on “Strengthening the Accessibility and Visibility of Agricultural and Land Data through the Use of Semantics - AGRIS in Europe and Central Asia” was held by FAO in collaboration with the LandPortal Foundation (the Netherlands) in Moscow, 27-28 June 2019, hosted by the Central Scientific Agricultural Library (CSAL).
AGRIS, or International System for Agricultural Science and Technology, came into being in 1974 on the joint initiative of around 180 FAO member states.
“To improve agriculture in the world, we have to make information on agriculture globally available”, explained the vision and the motivation of the creators of AGRIS Imma Subirats, AGRIS Programme Manager, in her presentation on “Where is the AGRIS ecosystem today?”
AGRIS is serving the information needs of developed and developing countries on a partnership basis. Today, as detailed by Ms. Subirats, AGRIS’ main features can be summed up in three elements:
- A network of more than 450 data providers (research centers, academic institutions, publishers, governmental bodies, development programmes, international and national organizations) from up to 145 countries
- A web portal (http://agris.fao.org/) that gives free access to around 9.9 million bibliographic records and 1,528 datasets
- A dataset of multilingual bibliographic resources on agricultural research, including forestry, fisheries, animal sciences, nutrition, climate change, natural resources, land and water.
AGRIS Data Providers submit bibliographic metadata that describes research papers, reports, multimedia material, grey literature and other content types that are related to the agricultural domain. It caters to the needs of academic researchers, professors, graduate students looking for bibliographies, librarians, cataloguers, journal publishers, conference organizers, as well as government officials asking for reports on specific topics, and other practitioners.
It should be noted that 85% of AGRIS records are indexed by AGROVOC, a multilingual thesaurus that covers all areas of work of FAO, including food, nutrition, agriculture, fisheries, forestry, environment, etc.
- More than 450 data providers are registered to AGRIS.
- Up to 600,000 users access the portal and database each month.
- AGRIS is accessed from more than 200 countries and territories.
The list of top ten countries with largest AGRIS audiences counted by the number of requests includes (in descending order): India, the United States, the Philippines, Brazil, China, Mexico, Turkey, Nigeria, the United Kingdom, and Colombia.
The Moscow workshop was aimed at clarifying how to enhance the accessibility and visibility of scientific publications in Europe and Central Asia using AGRIS.
The practical use of AGRIS was detailed, in particular, in the context of research data in agriculture, with the objectives of enhancing knowledge sharing, the visibility of and access to agricultural sciences and the technical content of agricultural research worldwide.
FAO speakers identified challenges and possible solutions for the ultimate purpose of strengthening the AGRIS community in Europe and Central Asia and setting priorities for the next few years.
The workshop underlined CSAL’s major role nationally and regionally, given the fact that CSAL enjoys the status of an FAO depository library with more than three thousand titles of FAO publications, with the earliest document dating back to 1947.
The regional seminar brought together AGRIS experts from Belarus, Moldova and Serbia, as well as university academics and editors of scientific media outlets from many Russian cities, and representatives of Landnet and LandPortal Foundation. The event was livestreamed on CSAL’s website.