AIMS Newsletter. VOA3R Special Issue, Summer 2013

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 partners from 10 different countries and 27 affiliated partners. The VOA3R platform was developed and is currently evaluated by its users and the European Commission. It offers an innovative portal that brings together researchers, students and practitioners in agriculture, viticulture, aquaculture and related areas. This platform gathers 2 640 000+ open access resources from 24 repositories.


The future of VOA3R: FAO, Agroknow & ICORE

The VOA3R project ended on May 31, 2013. The platform has been used for discussing resources in the field of Agriculture with some dynamic communities in organic agriculture, viticulture and IT in agriculture.

If you are interested in this platform for your own goal, it is available in open source. The existing VOA3R portal will be maintained by Agroknow and the open access resources will continue to grow through our official partnership with AGRIS, an international initiative based on a collaborative network of institutions, whose aim is to promote free access to information on science and technology in agriculture and related subjects.

In order to maintain some coherence between the development of the social part of the platform and the scientific resources available, the platform will be managed by the new ICORE international association that aims to bridge both worlds of Open Research and Open Education.

Welcome to the new partners

27 new partners have joined The VOA3R open access network and federation of repositories.

Joint meeting with SemaGrow

A joint meeting with SemaGrow took place at FAO in Roma on May 15, 2013. Semagrow was interested in VOA3R outcomes and experiences.

VOA3R in your organisation

VOA3R can be used in your organisation as an internal or open access network, but can also be considered a key portal for accessing resources in agriculture and related areas. For example, VOA3R has been added as an official resource of the Czech University of Life Sciences.

Upcoming events

MTSR 2013 - The 7th Metadata and Semantics Research Conference will take place between 19-22 November 2013, at Thessaloniki, Greece. The conference consists of a number of special tracks, including the Special track on Metadata and Semantics for Agriculture, Food & Environment (AgroSEM'13). VOA3R traditionally supports AgroSEM with the organization of related workshops and by submitting a number of papers describing the outcomes of the project. The deadline for submitting to the AgroSEM'13 has been extended to July 7, 2013


VOA3R at LINQ 2013

  • The VOA3R 2013 Conference attracted professionals from fields of Open Education, Learning Technology, and Quality Management to Rome at the global headquarters of the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) on May 17th, 2013. This VOA3R session brought together 15 participants into an open discussion on the usability, the purpose and the future of the VOA3R platform.


Conference paper

Validation trials

  • Belgium. 53rd Workshop on Learning Technologies and 13th meeting of CEN TC 353 on Building a Culture for Standards based, e-Research Infrastructure. 17-18 April 2013, Brussels.
  • Greece. 15 February, 2013, Thessaloniki.
  • Czech Republic. Czech University of Life Sciences. 30 April, 2013, Prague.
  • Czech Republic & Slovakia: Slovak University of Agriculture in Nitra and Czech University of Life Sciences. 10 May 2013, Prague.

5 Questions in 5 Minutes

with Marc Goovaerts, director of the Hasselt University Library and project partner of VOA3R

Tell us something about yourself... what is your background and role in the organization you are working for?
I am librarian at Hasselt University Library. Hasselt University Library has been involved in different projects of UNESCO-IOC since more than 20 years. Since 2004, I am responsible of the repository project of UNESCO-IOC/IODE as chairman of the steering group of the OceanDocs Network. Since 2009 UNESCO-IOC and FAO of the United Nations are working together at the development of a customized version of DSpace, AgriOcean DSpace with the technical support of Hasselt University Library. It was then a logic step to join the VOA3R project in 2010.

My interests are Open Access, specifically repositories, and communication in a research environment. The VOA3R project is very relevant for these topics. Further interests are metadata quality, the use of authority control and ontologies in metadata and developments in Linked Open Data.

How did you get in contact with AIMS?
My first contact with AIMS was through AgriOcean DSpace. A community was set up in 2010 with the start of the AgriOcean DSpace project. A few months later, VOA3R got also a project page.

What is your opinion on AIMS?
AIMS is the platform for agriculture information related to FAO. It is an interesting mix of information about the standards, tools and projects in the domain. But for me it is a platform where people interested in these topics can exchange their ideas and become a community.

According to you, what is the most important benefit that AIMS provides to the VOA3R community?
AIMS provides VOA3R visibility to the community reached by FAO. Through AIMS people who are interested in problems about food and agriculture will learn about the goals of the VOA3R project and the possibilities of the platform.

How do you think VOA3R can contribute to agricultural research for development?
VOA3R gives people, interested in agriculture, aquaculture and related topics, the possibility to connect, to communicate and to exchange information on its social platform. Researchers are seen as part of a larger user community.

Still as a member of a university, I look in the first place at the possibilities of the platform for the research community. VOA3R presents a unique combination of communication and information possibilities by linking the social platform to a collection of open access publication harvested from repositories in agriculture, aquaculture and related sciences.

As a librarian, I am finally interested how a community can work on higher metadata standards to create rich services. This is a problem larger than the targeted community. Institutional repositories focuses in the first place on open access, while forgetting the necessity of quality metadata.

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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