The Pledge for Investments into a Linked Open Data (LOD) infrastructure for agricultural development


Your name/institution/contact info and timing of your interest group meeting session.

This interest group meeting session will bring together information service providers that jointly undersigned the "Pledge for investments into a Linked Open Data infrastructure for Agricultural Development" (The Land Portal, Open AGRIS, Eldis, Global Rangelands, Organic Edunet, Plantwise Knowledge Bank, ProdINRA) as well as donors and other interested parties, to discuss about synergies, implications and possible areas for concrete collaborations on LOD for agriculture.

Background Info /context of your work

The Land Portal, Open AGRIS, Eldis, Global Rangelands, Organic Edunet, Plantwise Knowledge Bank, ProdINRA and the other undersigned data service providers play important roles as global sources of development information in their respective domains.

To meet critical information needs of their users requires continuous attention to the opportunities and expectations raised by the widespread use of new Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).   At the same time new ICTs also affect the many locally based providers of development information upon which all global sources depend.  The information value chain is, therefore, in constant flux.

In the current context, the undersigned data service providers recognize the importance of the quality of their service and of meeting the needs of their users of publishing information as Linked Open Data (LOD).  This means using a recently developed set of technical standards and technologies for making information interoperable and interlinked.  In particular, these global data service providers are taking concrete steps towards putting in place innovative technologies and services to enhance access, availability and use of open content - emphasizing information and research produced in the South – with the ultimate goal of contributing to a more transparent information environment which in turn will lead to improved knowledge sharing and decision making to enhance livelihoods.

One challenge for data service providers is that whilst LOD standards and technologies are becoming widely adopted at the global level and in most OECD member states, little attention is being given to the implications of new norms for smaller and more specialised information providers, especially those based in the global South.  These include a number of technical issues which must be addressed.  Equally important is the need to re-think how information is gathered and processed in ways which meet needs for relevant information at local levels, and supports local information providers, whilst at the same time contributing to regional and global information resources.  Without serious attention to the issues of how information is passed from one domain to another, and to how it is described in the process, the significant gains in linkage and connectivity between data and information sources offered by  this technology  will not be achieved.   Specifically:

  • Global information resources might appear more sophisticated but the quality and range of the information upon which they depend will be reduced. 
  • Local information resources will find their information less visible to wider audiences and therefore less likely to be supported, even in relation to meeting local needs.

In this context, the information service providers  listed above see both a need and an opportunity to work with Southern partners in the areas of i) Dialogue and Advocacy; ii) Technology; iii) Technical and Semantic Standards; and iv) Capacity Development, in a process of mutual learning as to how development related LOD practice can benefit information providers and users at all levels. 

What you would like to discuss and why (key challenge or opportunity)

The above information systems wants to discuss with donors and other interested parties about opportunities for concrete partnerships and collaboration as well as resource mobilization that can enable a programme of collaborative work which will seek to find solutions to the challenges described above.  In particular, the signatories are seeking to discuss how to work together and with others to:

  1. Support dialogue and advocacy  especially with smaller and more specialised information providers, especially those based in the global South to build understanding and commitment to engage with LOD and make data open by identifying concerns and needs for participating effectively in a globally linked data ecosystem  
  2. Support smaller information providers to make Southern originating information available globally in a linked data ecosystem (Technology); 
  3. Lower the barriers to engagement in Linked Open Data (Technical Standards); and
  4. Provide mentoring opportunities to support Southern information providers (and indeed anyone, North or South) interested in linked data basics and linked data models (Capacity Development). 

Key objectives of the session (what would you like out of it)

As major outcome of this session, the above information systems aim to outline a concrete plan for collaboration (inlcuding resource mobilization efforts) to realize the goal of developing a global LOD infrastructure for agricultural development.   The plan should include the following steps: 

  • To seek to implement further developments of our information systems in close collaboration with each other
  • To develop a high level investment plan that would create an opportunity to take their work to a new level on all 4 challenges (advocacy, capacity development, technology, standards) 
  • To outline key elements and ideas to be included into a propsoal for resource mobilization .

Links to any relevant websites/datasets

  1. Land Portal - Laura Meggiolaro (Land Portal Partnership)
  2. AGRIS - Johannes Keizer (FAO)
  3. Global Rangelands – Barbara Hutchinson (Rangelands Partnership/University of Arizona, USA)
  4. Organic Edunet - Effie Tsiflidou (AgroKnow)
  5. Eldis - Alan Stanley (IDS)
  6. ProdInra - Odile Hologne  (INRA)
  7. Plantwise Knowledge Bank - Shaun Hobbs (CABI)
  8. IFPRI Knowledge Repositories - Luzma Alvare (IFPRI)
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