agINFRA is successfully providing a number of different services for the agricultural community

Andreas Drakos is a project manager and part of the agINFRA coordination team assisting in the management and implementation of the project tasks. In this brief interview we ask him to get more insight on agINFRA activities, achievements and planned future activities.

agINFRA is an e-infrastructure project funded under the European Union's 7th Framework Programme for research. The project aims creating at data infrastructure to support agricultural scientific communities while promoting data sharing and development of trust in agricultural sciences. agINFRA is pioneering the connection of Agricultural Data through an Open and Participatory Data Infrastructure.

Question 1: agINFRA sought to develop i) shared e-infrastructure, tools and services ii) higher interoperability of data and iii) improved research data services. How has agINFRA delivered these?

agINFRA is successfully providing a number of different services for the agricultural community. The main aim of the agINFRA was the creation of a shared e-infrastructure that would include a number of data powered tools and services. While it would be very difficult to name each one of the services here, I could give examples of how the agINFRA not only supports but has actually helped the evolution of known services.

First of all the CIARD-RING directory of information services and datasets in agriculture . Many of the readers might have noticed that during the last years the RING has received a grand change not only to the user interface but also to the back-end technology. The Phase 2 of the the CIARD-RING development was fully supported by the agINFRA project and enabled the RING to adapt a new data model (DCAT) to leverage dataset interoperability and support other information systems automatically. With agINFRA in the back-end the RING is becoming the main registry not only of datasets and data collections but also of software services, providers etc. 

But the CIARD-RING is not the only online service that has been affected by agINFRA. FAO AGRIS is another very known and prestige service that also uses agINFRA powered services. The new AGRIS is leveraging the data aggregation workflows that have been provided by agINFRA to improve bibliographic data aggregation and also connect and mash up other types of data as germplasm and soil maps.And the list could continue with the Organic.Edunet portal, the agINFRA cloud and grid services and others.

Question 2: What core highlights of the agINFRA project and how has the community benefited?

The agINFRA project has provided a number of key components for the community and definitively the work around data/metadata interoperability is part of the most important outcomes of the project. agINFRA not only helped but many times drove the community towards data interoperability (e.g. RDA Interest Group for Agricultural Data Interoperability — IGAD while also provided a first set of a Linked Open Data (LOD) framework for agriculture. Apart from the RDA, agINFRA work has been recognized or presented in many major initiatives including GODAN , GFSP Knowledge Learning System Working Group , the Pledge of agricultural LOD infrastructure and others. The actual outcomes of this work is reflecting in the agINFRA generic data aggregation workflow, a “template” for aggregation workflows for agricultural data.

Question 3: agINFRA is currently in the final stages, what future prospects exist for this project?

agINFRA successfully managed to deliver an e-infrastructure for agricultural communities. Our major aim was not to create something that willbe left over after the end of the project, but actually help and provide useful services to the community. The heritage of agINFRA can be seen in the services it supports. For the last period of the project our aim is twofold. Our first goal is to complete and finalize our work on data interoperability. Our second goal is engaging with all of you and informing you on both open access policies and the data discoverability. To this end, we are launching a campaign asking people to visit the RING and register their datasets and services. As for those who haven’t yet opened their data, the agINFRA project services and tools are here for your.