AIMS Newsletter. VOA3R Special Issue, Winter 2012

The Virtual Open Access Agriculture & Aquaculture Repository (VOA3R) is a 3-year European project launched in June 2010 and funded by the European Commission under the seventh framework ICT Policy Support Program. It brings together 14 organizations from 10 European countries and 3 collaborators from external organizations.The VOA3R platform was developed and is currently available in a beta-version. It offers an innovative portal that brings together researchers, students and practitioners in agriculture, viticulture and aquaculture and related areas. This platform gathers 500,000 + open access resources from 14 repositories.


New VOA3R Project website

The VOA3R project website at has been redesigned to enable users to find more easily information and news on the project.

MTSR 2012: Controlled Experiment for Reviewing Lifecycle Services

At the 6th Metadata and Semantics Research Conference (MTSR 2012) in Spain last November, VOA3R organized a workshop to experiment an alternative reviewing process. To contribute to the experiment, you can review papers here.

Join VOA3R as content provider and increase your scientific impact

New partners interested in increasing the visibility of their institutional open access documents are welcome. VOA3R is currently harvesting 500,000 holdings of open access resources from 14 open archives. They cover agriculture, forestry, animal husbandry, aquatic sciences, fisheries and nutrition and play the important role of providing access to the outputs of researchers, extensionists and policy makers, their scholarly articles but also the unique grey literature they produce.

Create a user community

The VOA3R portal provides a virtual space for researchers, students and practitioners active in the areas of agriculture, aquaculture, viticulture and information technology to meet, exchange ideas and collaboratively identify and solve common issues. Researchers can let practitioners know about their research results (thus facilitating their application), while practitioners can get in touch with researchers to clarify the issues and needs that exist in their professional context.

Apart from the user communities already existing, like the “Aquaculture, Aquatic Science and Water Management community”, a user can create a new user community and bring together stakeholders from one or more countries/institutions, facilitating the communication between remotely located individuals.

Workshop on Open Access & Agricultural Repositories

VOA3R and the Agricultural Research Institute in Cyprus organized the Workshop Open Access and Agricultural Repositories in Limassol, Cyprus, on October 18, 2012. The Workshop aimed to bring various stakeholders from Cyprus (researchers, students, practitioners etc. in the area of agriculture and agricultural research) together to create and support a network, as well as to present the tools and services developed by related EU projects, like VOA3R and agINFRA, to facilitate the daily research work of the participants. More info

VOA3R at the Green Hackathons in Athens

Agro-Know Technologies and Greek Free / Open Source Software Society (GFOSS) have co-organized from 14-16 December, 2012, the Green Hackathons in Athens. The Green Hackathons are a series of events where hackers and developers meet to create and apply new ideas, targeting a sustainable and healthier future. One of the main goals is to showcase the potential of Open Data and APIs that make access to environmental, agricultural and biodiversity data easier.

5 Questions in 5 Minutes

with Nikos Manouselisis, Research & Development Director of Agro-Know Technologies

1. Tell us something about yourself... what is your background and role in the organization you are working for?

I am the R&D Director of Agro-Know Technologies, a technology-oriented SME that is focusing on metadata-driven innovation for agricultural and biodiversity education and research. In addition, I often consult organisations on relevant projects and initiatives, as well as give lectures on topics related to Web Science and Web Technology at the University of Alcala in Spain.

My background is rather technical as I have a diploma in Electronics & Computer Engineering, a M.Sc. in Operational Research, and a M.Sc. in Electronics & Computer Engineering from the Technical University of Crete in Greece. But I was lucky enough to carry out research work applied in the domain of agriculture during my PhD studies, since I hold a PhD on metadata-driven repositories and services for agricultural stakeholders, from the Informatics Laboratory of the Agricultural University of Athens.

In Agro-Know I am mostly responsible for the strategic visioning of the company in terms of how we can deploy meaningful services on top of high-quality agricultural data pools. This includes the conceptualisation and design of new R&D intiatives, setting up new collaborations, and trying to ensure that our team shares a common understanding and vision.

2. How did you get in contact with AIMS?

It was back in 2007 when I first participated in one of the Agricultural Ontology Service (AOS) workshops that was hosted in Rome by FAO. This gave me the opportunity to get in contact with the AIMS team and return for two short-term research visits at FAO during December 2007 and April 2008. This was when we set up the Agricultural Learning Repositories Task Force and organised an e-Conference on relevant topics.

3. What is your opinion on AIMS?

I find great value in the discussions and exchange of practices that take place in the community, especially after the re-design and enrichment of the website. The work taking place by the community members is applied to real-life problems, showcasting how topics that are often considered "too technical" are investigated in a very practical context. The inspiration and support offered by the FAO team facilitating AIMS is also very valuable in getting the community growing and involved.

4. According to you, what is the most important benefit that AIMS provides to the VOA3R community?

I believe that the AIMS community is the natural placeholder of the VOA3R outcomes and that all the teams working on the project have eventually become active contributors to the AIMS dialogue. As a project that was conceived and designed in order to meet an existing need that some of the AIMS members had (how to connect institutional repositories with agriculture- and aquaculture-related research outcomes as well as providing meaning to them), VOA3R helped in expanding the AIMS community with new institutions and people. In turn, the activities of VOA3R have been greatly informed and facilitated by all the experience and knowledge that exists in AIMS.

5. How do you think VOA3R can contribute to agricultural research for development?

Any initiative that will help agricultural research communities to open up their data silos and share their knowledge with their peers, is of extreme importance and value. VOA3R is building upon the work of long-standing networks like AGRIS, trying to contribute with additional components - including new users, new content and new services.

Papers & Presentations

Courses & Workshops

  • VOA3R at the Research Institute CMK (Centrum voor Milieukunde - Centre for Environmental Sciences), Hasselt University (Belgium) – July 5, 2012 – 20 participants
  • VOA3R communities ‘Aquaculture and Water Management’ and ‘Aquatic Science’ at the Afrilib workshop of Odin Africa (Kenya) - August 27-31, 2012 – 10 participants
  • VOA3R at Agrarian Perspective XXI (Czech Republic) - September 18-19, 2012 - 100 participants
  • VOA3R at at AFITA/WCCA 2012 (Taiperi) - September 3-6, 2012 - 150 participants
  • VOA3R portal and user-trial conducted at CULS Prague (Czech Republic) - October 26, 2012 - 6 participants, Ph.D. students and researchers
  • VOA3R portal and user-trial conducted at ACTA Informatique (France) - November 19, 2012 - 4 engineers from 3 French agricultural technical institutes
  • VOA3R portal at the Workshop on Agricultural Education, Methods, Practices and Technologies (Italy) - October 25, 2012
  • VOA3R at the University of Duisburg-Essen (UDE) (Germany) - December 12 , 2012

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 management. If you have any contribution, suggestion, or need assistance with the newsletter, please contact us at [email protected]

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