2. Community Survey 2021

Shortly before Christmas 2021, we at FAIRagro organized an idea Secret Santa to identify needs, wishes and ideas regarding the availability of research data and opportunities for participation. We wanted to know what needs to be improved in research data management in order to solve certain tasks more efficiently or answer certain research questions. The mini-survey was accessible online between December 9th and 24th, could be completed anonymously and took about 3 minutes. We received 32 ideas and needs.

And this is what the survey participants say:

“Exactly! We need a consistent collection of data about yield loss or infestation so that the costs and benefits of ecosystem services can be estimated and integrated pest management can be advanced.”

Expert in Agricultural Economics & Ecosystem Services

“Metadata should only have to be entered ONCE. I would be more motivated to share data if there were good guidelines and standards in place. I would also get others excited about it.”

Expert in Project Proposals & Research Management

“I need well-connected, secure storage to publish large amounts of well-annotated image data (e.g., high-resolution images) and use it for deep learning-based detection models of, for example, pests.”

Expert in Entomology & Agroecology

“I continually ask myself which host plants are grown where and to what extent, and what the weather is actually like there. This enables me to develop suitable phytosanitary measures.”

Expert in Plant Health & Risk Analysis

“I lack structured storage of research data (including legacy data), visibility, and accessibility so that I can save time for preparation and post-processing and can train personnel more quickly.”

Expert in Phytoanalytics

“I can’t find existing legacy data and how I may use shared data is often not clear. Integrative research questions (models) can only be answered with legally sound shared data.”

Expert in Herbology

“I want to “experience” research data to deepen my understanding. If I had an overview of the research data at ZALF or elsewhere, I could do meta-analyses.”

Expert in Soil Ecology

“I need help with data structure, storage and access from the start of my project. Then I can write publications more easily.”

Expert in Vertebrate Research & Agricultural Landscape

“I would like to store extensive data in such a way that external project partners can also access and work on it, and I need short-term support with data management.”

Expert in Genetic Resources

“I need updated wild plant locations. However, the data are poorly accessible (some are held by state authorities). With the data I could determine moulting areas.”

Expert in Genetic Resources

“I urgently need 10,000€ to digitize a herbarium and build a database according to FAIR principles. The use and conservation of genetic resources would be increased.”

Expert in Plant Science & Applied Genetics

“How severe is the damage caused by a particular pest arthropod or how widespread is it? How high is the risk? Nobody has data on this! Or rather, I can’t get at it myself.”

Expert in Horticulture & Entomology

“For me, the most important thing is that legacy data from the domains of plant imaging and spectral metrology are digitized and thus saved from getting lost. These are data treasures.”

Expert in Crop Production & IT Support

“The challenges are so complex – I don’t even know where to start.”

Expert in Digitalization & Automation

“Remote sensing data, data products and methods all too often disappear into the dustbin. To prevent this, a central system for storage, documentation and publication is needed.”

Expert in Remote Sensing & Agricultural Landscapes

“Scientists are often not aware of the need to publish data, and many legal aspects are unclear. Data should be easier to discover and reuse.”

Expert in Research Data Management & Agricultural Landscapes

“I need legacy data and analysis data. Data should be well described with metadata and accessible. I could then do interdisciplinary research and offer cross-cutting solutions.”

Expert in Biodiversity & Agroecosystems

“Phenotypic data, i.e. numerical analysis data or annotation data are not yet made available to the community, but are a mainstay for sustainable agriculture.”

Expert in Phenomics & Viticulture

“We desperately need standardized data formats, and we must clarify ownership and usage rights. Only then will data be reusable and suitable for parameterization and validation of models.”

Expert in Research Coordination

 “I search for “Hordeum vulgare, 6 weeks, 20% available water” and find nothing! It must become much simpler to search for the exact conditions of an experiment.”

Expert in Plant Genetics

“For my research, I lack a bioeconomy ontology, automagic metadata annotation, and mandatory standards for describing methods. I need this for more sustainability in the energy sector.”

Expert in Bioeconomy

“What is clearly missing: digitization of legacy data, interfaces for merging different institutional data, advice on OpenAccessData, licenses and legal issues.”

Expert in Ecosystem Services & Agricultural Landscapes

“My happiness is lacking: uniform metadata standards in the field of plant nutrition and a centrally managed database for element composition data. Then I can compile fertilizer recommendations on a site-specific basis.”

Expert in Plant Nutrition & Plant-Rhizosphere Interaction

“The methodology used for field trials in crop production is often not described in a uniform way. However, this is necessary to better assess cropping systems in the context of scenarios.”

Expert in Crop Production

“Environmental data ( precipitation, soil, …) are hard to access and if, then as EXCEL data. I would like to have these as ISA TAB. Also better metadata would not be bad. Then Big Data is also possible.”

Expert in Plant Breeding

“Genotypes and their linkage to experimental data are mostly poorly described. We need better metadata: then we can build complex models.”

Expert in Plants & Plant Pathogens

“Legacy data should be digitized, described uniformly with metadata, and published. The DBFZ residue monitoring can run more efficiently and automatically.”

Expert in Resource Management & Bioeconomy

“The world needs more data publications. Then data mining can get started and we can gain new insights into biomass use from big data.”

Expert in Bioeconomy

“Data is published late in the life cycle, if at all. Dependent projects and scientists are hampered. We need more timely publication and versioning.”

Expert in Breeding Research

“Data on biomass characteristics should be available in an organized form (cf. Biomass Atlas DBFZ) to better understand the resource base and to support process engineers and modelers.”

Expert in Biomass Utilization

“Software solutions for e.g. bioinformatics analyses are no longer reproducible after a short time. We need a long-term usable place for container solutions.”

Expert in Plant Sciences & Applied Genetics

“I need a tool that combines multiple functions: smart deadline management, invoicing, patent protection deadlines, compliance checks, checking AI for trustworthiness, etc.”

Expert in Legal Affairs & Technology Transfer


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  1. […] actively contacted interested participants of the idea Secret Santa organized last year and was able to concretise initial ideas and needs in direct dialogue. We were […]