Data Sharing to Facilitate Ag Research

Stulberg, Brouder, and Schescke
CAST’s new commentary, Enabling Open-source Data Networks in Public Agricultural Research, focuses on promoting the conversation among agricultural science partners to create a system that encourages data sharing–and the cooperative science needed to address the complex, challenging issues facing global food production.
Task Force Chair Sylvie Brouder (Purdue) presented key material from the publication at three rollouts: an NC-FAR lunch and learn seminar for House staffers, an NC-FAR seminar for Senate staffers, and a presentation at the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU). 
As Brouder points out, it might be a case of “small science” transitioning to “big science.” Much of the process comes down to collecting, sharing, and analyzing. In the commentary, the authors examine the need for (1) developing data-sharing standards, (2) incentivizing researchers to share data, and (3) building a data-sharing infrastructure within agricultural research. 
Elizabeth Stulberg (The Alliance of Crop, Soil, and Environmental Science Societies) helped facilitate the APLU gathering, and she joined a panel discussion, along with Cynthia Parr (USDA/ARS) and Robin Schoen (The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine). As CAST EVP Kent Schescke said, “The paper points toward the importance of planning up front to share data through open-source networks–and the importance of agricultural scientists working with data and information scientists to purposely collect, describe, and share data.”
The publication includes insights about current situations and possible scenarios to facilitate the process–with an ultimate goal of the publication being the advancement of the conversation among agricultural science partners to create a system conducive to data sharing and the team science needed to address the “grand challenges” in modern-day food production. 
Access the full paper here and the Ag quickCAST here.  
by Dan Gogerty (photos from Tom Van Arsdall) 

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