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ISSUE #10  /  April 2021                                                                                                         NEWSLETTER
Greetings colleagues!

Welcome to the April 2021 Module 1 Newsletter.

This year continues to be challenging as we deal with a range of emotions including anxiety, grief, anger, and loss wrought by the pandemic, conflict, displacement of large numbers of people, racially-motivated violence, and other challenges. The upheavals of the CGIAR reorganization don't help. I hope you and your families are staying well, sane, and optimistic through it all. 

Many of you have questions about the Big Data Platform and the work we have advanced so well together. I don't have any revelations or knowledge to share, other than to say that we have without doubt elevated the conversation around data management to leadership levels, and I don't expect the importance of open (and increasingly FAIR, responsibly managed) assets to diminish. 

We hope you find the information below useful, and want to end this section with a reminder to attend the IDM CoP webinar tomorrowApril 20 at 2:00 pm CEST. It is titled "Challenges of managing qualitative data – stories from the trenches", and with a mix of researchers (from Cornell University and IITA) and data managers (from IFPRI and IITA), promises to be interesting. We see this as Part I of a two-part set of webinars on qualitative and socioeconomic data management. The link and password to join the webinar are in the Webinars section below. See you tomorrow!

Best wishes,

Medha and Céline

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FAIR Data Workflow - Presentation on April 22nd

In an effort to assure avenues for input as the FAIR workflow takes shape, we are aiming for a consultative process as we develop a more user-intuitive FAIR data workflow.  

As you know, a version of the FAIR data workflow is now part of the GARDIAN data management toolkit, and currently includes an auto-check for PII, with the results sent to the user's email. The workflow also allows users to annotate data assets with the CG Core metadata elements, and data variables within datasets with ontology terms. While this workflow is up and working, testing with you made clear that it needed to be more user-friendly, and we are therefore re-engineering it. 

On April 22nd, we have invited you to a presentation to illustrate what we hope will be a better FAIR workflow than the current one. This is being developed in collaboration with SCiO, building on tools developed by two of our long-term collaborators: The COPO team at Earlham University and the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP) at the University of Florida.

Pythagoras Karampiperis (CEO at SCiO), will present the work done so far. We are booking a rather big chunk of time to allow for discussion and feedback. SCiO will also provide an open link after this session for you to provide detailed input as well.


AgroFIMS V 2.0

In collaboration with the SAnDMan data collection system from IITA, and under the aegis of the Excellence in Agronomy initiative and the Big Data Platform, AgroFIMS will be to upgraded this year to allow the creation of ODK agronomic survey questionnaires that will allow for the collection of data from on-farm, farmer-managed trials that are the mainstay of so many CGIAR projects. These questionnaires will include key concepts tied to data standards (ontology/controlled vocabulary terms) to enable the collection of “born-FAIR” data from agronomic trials and surveys which can then be easily shared and used for analysis or as input to crop simulation models.

CGIAR Digital Strategy - update     

The System Board requested the Big Data Platform to lead development of a digital strategy, which is now in final draft. Many of you participated in one of the several focus group discussions organized by the Platform to gather input from a wide range of CGIAR stakeholders. To gather perspectives as widely as possible, the Platform also conducted surveys and interviews with individuals and leaders across sectors (funder, private, academic, public etc.)  This work has developed in dialog with One CGIAR design efforts since last June, and will soon be shared in final form with the System Board. I will share it once it is in final form.
Open and FAIR Data Assets Policy - update         
The latest version of the Open and FAIR Data Assets Policy that is likely to replace the 2013 Open Access and Data Management Policy is part of a package for the System Board to consider during its May convening. You have seen this document at earlier stages and had several chances to offer input. The CABI team, the Legal and Programs teams at the System Office and I used your feedback to improve subsequent drafts and deliver a final version. Concurrently with this process, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has indicated to CGIAR leadership that open and FAIR CGIAR assets should be a priority, a message that I've heard through my engagement as a member of the Gates Open Research Advisory Board as well. I have also been asked to weigh in on their Agricultural Development group's efforts to help grantees make data assets FAIR (which is currently encouraged through their Open Access Policy), so it appears that FAIR (in addition to open) data assets are an increasinfly important consideration for the Foundation.
The Information and Data Management CoP (IDM CoP) includes the Metadata, Repository, Ontology, Open Access, and Globus Working Groups. Working Groups (WGs) are intended to be a forum for cooperation and participation, with members sharing with each other what information, knowledge and expertise they have to help sort issues that are common to benefit all. 
If you would like to actively participate in those groups, please sign up to engage with us!
Metadata Working Group
The Metadata WG’s main tasks for the year are focusing on two objectives:
  • This year, the group has reviewed proposed changes to the CG Core metadata schema. The latest discussions are available here.
  •  A permanent link for the CG Core Schema has been created.
  • The group has conducted a SWOT analysis.
See here for more detail on the Metadata WG and the people involved.
Repository Working Group
  • The Repository WG is collecting terms that CGIAR centers use to define the metadata field “kind of data.” The group will work with the MWG to arrive at controlled list for defining this field.
  • The SWOT analysis of the WG is available here
See here for more detail on the Repository WG and the people involved.
Ontology Working Group
  • The updated Crop Ontology Guidelines v 2.0 has been published in CGspace in January; See for more information!
  • Peter Steward from ICRAF presented the work done by the 'Evidence for Resilient Agriculture' project on the review and classification of thousands of publications on agricultural management outcomes, as well as their use of ontologies. 
  • An online training on the process and tools to request new terms in Crop Ontology and Agronomy Ontology was given by Marie-Angélique Laporte on March 16 and 17, for  participants from the private and public sectors. The recording and the presentation are available.
  • Thanks to the internship sponsored by WorldFish and the Alliance, keywords used by World Fish and missing in AGROVOC are now available in the AGROVOC March release.
  • The SWOT of the WG is availlable here.
See here for details on Ontology WG efforts and the people involved.
Open Access Working Group
  • Since January, the Open Access WG has continued information sharing on topics related to open access:
    • News updates on expanding uptake Copyright Clearance Center Rights Link service by major publishers
    • MIT Press open access e-book payment model
    The group also continues to explore experiences re: read/publish agreements at universities.
  • The group was involved in a demonstration of capabilities of MARLO to extract information from publishers using DOIs.
More details on Open Access WG efforts available here.
 IDM CoP webinars
These webinars are intended to facilitate exchange among our members and enhance capacity. Please forward widely as relevant to communities/researchers at your Center.

Upcoming webinars

April 20 at 2:00 pm CESTChallenges of managing qualitative data – stories from the trenches.
Researchers managing qualitative data will present their experience and will try to draw good practices. Their presentations will be followed by a panel discussion and an exchange with the audience. 
If you have suggestions for topics of interest, or would like to present on something you’re doing at your Center that may be of interest to all of us. Please fill this poll. We would love to hear from you!

Past webinars

Some events below are facilitated through the CGIAR Big Data course Platform and are internal to CGIAR for open learning and conversation within CGIAR specifically. You will need to register to to access those.

Information on past webinars is available via Meetings and Workshops in the OA-OD Support Pack.

Open Access & Open Data Support Pack

Questions/Concerns? Here's how you can get in touch:
Medha Devare:
Céline Aubert:
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