Call for Contributions - Improving Global Agricultural Data (IGAD) Community of Practice Second IGAD Annual Virtual Meeting 2022

FAO/Ny You

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After the success of the first Research Data Alliance (RDA) IGAD annual meeting in 2020 the IGAD co-chairs are thrilled to host the second annual meeting between March 21 and April 8, 2022. The meeting will be held virtually to allow members and interested attendees from all over the world to participate.

Instead of an annual meeting, last year we hosted IGAD Coffee Breaks and worked to transition the Interest Group on Agricultural Data, to be the new Improving Global Agricultural Data Community of Practice. The CoP will provide better alignment with global practice, better ability to impact stakeholders via improved data systems and practices, and mutual learning from exchanging experiences. It will also increase opportunities to form partnerships on specific projects.

The 2022 virtual meeting will provide an online platform to continue to build collaborations, share knowledge,  and develop innovations with activities including panel sessions, group discussions and contributed presentations distributed throughout two weeks between March 21 and April 8 2022. The complete agenda will be announced later.

Call for community contributions

The success of the virtual meeting will count on the collaboration from the IGAD community. For those interested in actively contributing with a presentation or panel session, please submit your title,  speakers’ short bio and a brief abstract of your contribution before 28th February 2022. Contributions from people and organizations that have implemented IGAD/RDA recommendations in food and agricultural data projects and initiatives are preferred. Discussions can involve both policy and technical aspects. We also encourage submissions to discuss possible new Working Groups.

This year we are accepting proposals in English and Spanish.

Those not selected will have the opportunity to participate in the 2nd edition of the IGAD Coffee Breaks that will initiate after the celebration of the Second IGAD Annual Virtual Meeting 2022.

For any questions, please contact us at [email protected].

Suggested Topics

We welcome contributions related to all the areas of interest of IGAD. This year we would like to particularly highlight the following topics:

  • 01. Ethical and legal issues around agricultural data to be organized by Valeria Pesce (Global Forum on Agricultural Research and Innovation, GFAR) and Suchith Anand and Kathryn Bailey (Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition, GODAN)

Agricultural data flows involve different actors from generation to transformation, enrichment, aggregation and final fruition. These dynamics have ethical, socio-economic, and legal dimensions that affect the way the digitalization of agriculture benefits the various actors, often leaving the least resourced behind. In this session we invite presentations on such ethical and legal issues, experiences in dealing with them and possibly successful ways of addressing them.

Examples of relevant topics are: data ownership, control on data down the line, data asymmetries in value chains, customer lock-in, biased data, unfair data practices, business sensitive data, codes of conduct, smart contracts, trusted platforms / data cooperatives, data monetization/marketplaces, private sector data of public interest, pre-competitive spaces, data as a public good.

  • 02. Platforms for agricultural data: how to address the fragmented landscape?  to be organized by Lars Kahnert (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit,  GIZ)

Currently, farm data is fragmented between various actors and often goes underutilized because it is hardly shared or analyzed. In any case, farmers tend to lack access to data collected about them, often making uninformed farming decisions. Through combining multiple data sources, a data-driven agronomy could be enabled and recommendations for farmers improved. Increased data availability and accessibility can make farming more productive and agri-food chains more efficient and transparent. Shared access to data and interoperable information across the supply chain could sustainably contribute to risk mitigation, improved service delivery and inform due diligence requirements, hence benefiting multiple stakeholders.

In this session, we invite presentations of approaches to overcome barriers to data sharing and the lack of semantic and technical interoperability, to establish shared data platforms combining data from different sources.

Examples of relevant topics include: data sharing policies, interoperability, data aggregation and anonymization, shared data platform use cases, AI, platform ownership, governance and business models.

  • 03. Governance of farm-level digital technologies and agricultural data to be organized by Sarah-Louise Ruder (Canada, University of British Columbia), Dr. Hannah Wittman (Canada, University of British Columbia)

We encourage international submission from diverse groups: farmers, farming organizations, start-ups, industry, government and non-governmental actors, and researchers. Proposals may engage with the questions listed below or speak to Data Justice and Sovereignty or Open Access and Data Commons more generally.

  1. Data Justice and Sovereignty. What does data justice and data sovereignty mean to farmers? How can digital agriculture applications govern data and knowledge in a way that prioritizes data justice and sovereignty at the individual (e.g., farm-level) and collective (e.g., aggregate data, commons) level? What does Indigenous Data Sovereignty look like for agriculture and food systems?
  2. Open Access and Data Commons. What are data commons? Who gets to define and enact data commons? Who is involved? Who can/should share what and with whom? Who should be responsible for managing data commons or open databases? Who manages the cost of them?

Examples of relevant topics include: enacting principles of data justice and data sovereignty (e.g., OCAP, FAIR, CARE), Indigenous Data Sovereignty for food and land systems, data commons and open data (e.g., Open Data Charter), licenses and permissions to use open data, farmer-led agricultural data initiatives and precision agricultural data standards

  • 04. FAIRifying data and code for Artificial Intelligence in agricultural production to be organized by Erik Van Ingen (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, FAO) and Ioannis N. Athanasiadis (Wageningen University and Research)

The FAIR principals (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable) originally focused on scholarly data, see also this original publication. AI brought the concept of data to another level, where the AI models became as important as the input data used (machine learning practitioners refer to this as training data). There are great large data initiatives such as FAO Hand in Hand geospatial platform or the Data For Now initiative. They all have in common that they publish a wealth of data, but not the underlying models used. At the same time, AI struggles with identifying and treating biases in AI models. Google makes efforts to make the underlying models more FAIR through Colab and the Jupyter Notebook Manifesto, but there is a long way to go. The Google Earth Engine API could be the start of standardizing remote sensing models, but as of today it remains to be a Google proprietary standard. The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) in principle has a catalog where geospatial models can be published, but the models are not necessarily interoperable. The good news is that the  digital public goods standard identifies Open AI Models as one of the 4 pillars of digital public goods in the context of its work on the sustainable development goals. 193 countries adopted the first-ever global agreement on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence on 25 November 2022, so the momentum is there to apply the FAIR principles to AI code and data.

How can we contribute to this momentum? To what extent agricultural AI models, code and data are distinct, in contrast to other application domains? We invite you to send abstracts of your presentation where you lay out your practices and vision for FAIRifying data and code for Artificial Intelligence in agricultural production.

  • 05. Plant-pollinator interactions data standards to be organized by Debora Drucker (Embrapa)

Plant-pollinator interactions are recognized for their key role in ecosystem functioning and sustainable agriculture. However, plant-pollinator data is currently stored in silos across multiple networks and country-specific initiatives. The capacity to integrate those data at regional and global levels is crucial to enable pattern analysis and understanding at biologically-relevant scales. In this context, adoption of community data standards on pollination and good practices is urgently needed. Agriculture-specific plant-pollination use cases are invited to present good practices and standards adoption to facilitate plant-pollination data sharing. We invite agriculture-specific plant-pollination use cases of good practices on data handling and standard adoption, including (but not limited to) FAIR principles compliance initiatives.

  • 06. Crop Data Management to be organized by Medha Devare (International Food Policy Research Institute, IFPRI)

Harmonizing the capture and consistent annotation of crop management data is critical to enabling data interoperability, interpretation, and aggregation for effective leveraging of individual datasets and large data pools. Crop management data in this context refers to contextual agricultural data such as experimental factors, environmental descriptors, agronomic management practices and machinery. Although substantial resources and attention have been invested in common protocols and interoperability efforts such as ontologies and data standards, it is not easy to annotate crop management data in consistent ways—because there has been a proliferation of the standards themselves, often with concept/term duplication. This RDA – IGAD session will be an opportunity for speakers to present their efforts to enable consistent annotation of crop management data towards the goal of interoperability and the ability to effectively harness data science.

Examples of relevant topics include: : crop management; data management; interoperability; data science; data harmonization; data standards; ontologies

  • 07. IGAD/RDA : Sharing Experiences and Creating Digital Dialogues in Latin America and the Caribbean (Spanish) to be organized by Wouter Schallier (United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean) and Imma Subirats (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, FAO)

This session will collect presentations that refer to experiences on research data management, open data and open science in Latin America and the Caribbean. The topics will include all those defined in the list of topics above, but also include experiences in the context of RDA and what RDA/IGAD can do better to facilitate the integration of more organizations and individuals in the community of practice.

This session will be delivered in Spanish.

IGAD has become the Improving Global Agricultural Data Community of Practice

Formed in 2013, since its inception the Interest Group on Agricultural Data (IGAD) has grown in community strength to over 200 members, becoming one of the RDA’s most prominent Thematic Groups. IGAD is a domain-oriented group working on all issues related to global agriculture data. It represents stakeholders in managing data for agricultural research and innovation, including producing, aggregating and consuming data.
Beyond this IGAD promotes good practices in research with regard to data sharing policies, data management plans, and data interoperability, and it is a forum for sharing experience and providing visibility to research and work in agricultural data. One of IGAD’s main roles is to serve as a platform that leads to the creation of domain-specific Working Groups.

Co-chairs of the Improving Global Agricultural Data  (IGAD) Community of Practice
Debora Ducker (EMBRAPA)
Cynthia Parr (USDA Agricultural Research Service)
Valeria Pesce (Global Forum on Agricultural Research and Innovation,  GFAR)
Imma Subirats Coll (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, FAO)