AIMS Newsletter no.79, December 2018

Click here to view this message on the web

The underlying goal of AIMS at FAO of the UN team is to raise awareness and promote knowledge about information management strategies, good practices, technologies and capacity development activities on Information and Data Access Services, in particular those surrounding the AGORA, AGROVOC and AGRIS services. Apart from raising awareness of different initiatives around open access, open data and open science in the agricultural and related sectors, the AIMS at FAO team has also been actively collaborating with the FAO e-Agriculture Community of Practice (2018: a remarkable year for e-Agriculture).


In 2018, the AIMS.FAO.ORG portal shared more than 100 reviews related to Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) activities and mandate which were also widely disseminated through the @AIMS_Community on Twitter with more than 170,000 ‘impressions’. More figures about the AIMS.FAO.ORG portal, during 2018, are:

  • up to 250 news items including AIMS Newsletters abided by a number of cross-cutting issues focused on information and data provision, management and sharing were published;
  • with more than 3,000 registered users, the portal also witnesed up to 126,000 online visitors per month;
  • the portal had 313,000 visits per page/session (with a total of 160,670 sessions).


1. AGORA : Access to Global Online Research in Agriculture service provides free or low-cost access to peer-reviewed journals and e- books to more than 3,400 institutions from more than 115 eligible countries.

2. AGROVOC multilingual Thesaurus covers all areas of interest of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, including food, nutrition, agriculture, fisheries, forestry and environment.

3. AGRIS: Agricultural Science and Technology service provides free access to bibliographic information on agricultural science and technology.

Need more information on some procedures (use, contribution, sharing) related to these services? Then you might be interested in:

  • Learning more from:


  • Joining discussion groups/mailing lists:

>> AGORA DGroups
>> AGROVOC DGroups
>> AGRIS DGroup

Accurate, timely and comprehensive knowledge provided (through extensive consultations and capacity development activities) on support of the these services have shown an increase in access and use, in 2018. For example:

1. Extended cross-country work focused on the development capacity in access and use of the AGORA Research4Life programme, which has reached different FAO member states, - with over 3,000 participants attending both face-to-face workshops and online AGORA training, while 450 new institutions have been registered to the AGORA programme. 

We are pleased to inform you that CALL for APPLICATIONS for the free AGORA ONLINE COURSE February 2019 Edition (in English, Spain, French) is now open! The course (in each language) lasts for two-weeks and requires a six-hour time commitment on average per week. Interested? Enrol to this course right now!

In 2018 GOALI (Global Online Access to Legal Information) - a new fifth programme under the Research4Life (R4L) umbrella - was launched. GOALI seeks to address the growing demand for access to data, information and knowledge provided by academic legal resources.  

2. AGROVOC thesaurus has continued to expand reaching more than 36,000 concepts in 30 languages, with new contributors including those from CGIARCIRAD and Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences [more in: AGROVOC: achievements, impact and strategy for future]

3. AGRIS has reached 9,600,000 bibliographic records contributed by more than 400 Data Providers from up to 145 countries and is accessed by up to 600,000 users per month.


Considering that there is a remarkable amount of data produced by a wide variety of actors, from farmers to researchers to private companies, this will benefit from the gains in interoperability and semantics wealth. Harmonizing access to and linking this data with other domains can unlock powerful analytical capabilities and help accelerate innovations to address different food security challenges. The AIMS at FAO team has been providing customer-driven support for use and implementation of several semantics services including:

The VEST online map of data vocabularies/standards contains a number of standard vocabularies used in the agrifood sector, while several agreements for vocabularies and other tools that currently exist in the agrifood and related sectors, often overlap in their content which makes them difficult to reuse. You are invited to get more information support related to existing community agreements created to manage agricultural information by sending your questions to GODAN Data Publication Online Help Desk. All replies will be provided by GODAN partners and experts.


To further support GODAN in promoting its activities, the AIMS at FAO team has helped develop and facilitate the online training course on Open Data Management in Agriculture, Nutrition and Land, under the DFID funded project GODAN Action.

In 2018, six course editions (including blended learning that combines online training and face-to-face activities) were delivered to up to 5,000 people around the world. As part of the outreach activities supported by the GODAN Action in the context of open data, a series of webinars on publication and use of open data were delivered, with more than 3,000 views.

Efforts will continue, in 2019, to expand promotion of AIMS. FAO information services and capacity development activities, and better coordination is planned in-house through the promotion of  implementation of open data in agriculture by external partners.


The AIMS.FAO.ORG portal and its @AIMS_Community on Twitter have widely cross-promoted knowledge and discussions around experiences created by:

1. The GODAN Capacity Development Working Group, - a community of practitioners from the GODAN Network who discuss longer-term actions and scaling-up in the use of capacity development materials and assessments, especially to promote and advocate programmes, good practices and lessons learned that enable the use of open data;

2. The Interest Group on Agricultural Data (IGAD), one of the Research Data Alliance’s most prominent Thematic Groups. Since 2013, the IGAD community (presented by people from over 170 institutions worldwide) has worked on issues related to producing, aggregating, managing, consuming global agriculture data, with the main objective to consolidate agriculture data interoperability and sharing of open and FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable) data. You might be interested in taking a look at outcomes from the IGAD RDA's 12th and IGAD RDA's 11th pre-meetings that took part in Botswana/Gaborone (November 2018) and in Germany/Berlin (March 2018). 


If you are planning a meeting in 2019, organize it in conjunction with Research Data Alliance (RDA) Plenary 13th, April 2019 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania!  This will provide an excellent opportunity to enhance your data-driven ideas through new collaborations! 

Keep an eye on the RDA Call For Early Careers - RDA 13th Plenary; Call For Experts - RDA 13th Plenary. Close date: 05 February 2019 - 17:00 CEST

In the framework of the upcoming RDA Plenary 13th, the work conducted by several IGAD working groups so far is going to scale up! In case of your interest to attend the RDA IGAD pre-meeting (2-4 April 2019, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania),

  • please express you interest by writing us at [email protected] (Subject Line: RDA IGAD pre-meeting 2019 Philadelphia)

This will provide an excellent opportunity to showcase your agriculture data-related work as well as create new synergies with other data experts at the international level!


In the framework of the RDA IGAD initiatives, the AIMS at FAO team, together with:

look forward to continue working closely together in the new established IGAD Capacity Development Working Group. After having identified training gaps in agricultural science, this IGAD group aims at creating synergies among existing capacity development activities and producing customer-centred recommendations for new training activities.

The alignment with Curriculum on Open Data and Research Data management in agriculture and nutrition and Open Up Guide for Agriculture will be ensured  to guide, assess and provide evidence in support of quality of different open data management programmes and services through timely mainstreamed knowledge to play a strong catalytic and supporting role in empowering all interested parties. Enhanced skills could be applied towards meaningful outcomes in leveraging the agricultural (research) data ecosystem more effectively.

If you are interested to join the IGAD Capacity Development Working Group, and thus, participate in bridging together the knowledge gap through 'learning from others', new knowledge creation and sharing activities, with the main focus on design and implementation of open educational resources (#OER) including open courses (#OpenCourses), to help:

  1. reduce digital/knowledge divide in agriculture data sharing and management;
  2. leverage the transferability of good practices/experiences capitalization so that researchers and practitioners in developing countries - eager to learn more about data access and data managementdata aggregating and re-use of (open, research) data and knowledge - can also benefit,
  • please don’t hesitate to contact us at [email protected] (Subject Line: RDA IGAD Capacity Development WG

We will be glad to consider the opportunity to cooperate with you to widely showcase your ideas to our IGAD members and users, consortia lead organizations, and the wider research community which is incredibly important to us!

Our joint initiatives give you an idea of what we have achieved this year with our renewed focus on the priority issues of advancing capacity development, leveraging open (research) data management for productivity, innovations and resilience and promoting smart farming practices and solutions.


We’re lucky to have such a diverse and engaged global community and we appreciate all the feedback you share with us as well as your proposals for cooperation and coordination linked the above mentioned AIMS at FAO efforts.

As 2018 is coming to a close, we want to take this time to thank you for following AIMS at FAO activities, by also giving us the privilege of helping you to achieve (some of) your goals!

AIMS at FAO values of integrity, multinational teamwork, community involvement, personal growth, responsiveness, quality, and communication, which is what makes us who we are. We could not be prouder to be surrounded by our community members who embody those values. AIMS at FAO’s success is defined by the knowledge shared and success achieved by our users.

Our biggest achievements from the past year are thanks to You! In 2018, the AIMS at FAO Team led to numerous exciting initiatives, thanks to your dedication, ingenuity, commitment and desire to work together.

As AIMS.FAO moves into its next phase in 2019, we plan to work more closely with You, help support your priorities and more simply, accompany You to the next level of success in agricultural information and data management and access. 

You are welcome to sign up for AIMS News, follow @AIMS_Community on Twitter. Our biggest achievements from the past year are thanks to You!