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Governing agricultural data: Challenges and recommendations

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The biomedical domain has shown that in silico analyses over vast data pools enhances the speed and scale of scientific innovation. This can hold true in agricultural research and guide similar multi-stakeholder action in service of global food security as well (Streich et al. Curr Opin Biotechnol 61:217–225. Retrieved from, 2020). However, entrenched research culture and data and standards governance issues to enable data interoperability and ease of reuse continue to be roadblocks in the agricultural research for development sector. Effective operationalization of the FAIR Data Principles towards Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable data requires that agricultural researchers accept that their responsibilities in a digital age include the stewardship of data assets to assure long-term preservation, access and reuse. The development and adoption of common agricultural data standards are key to assuring good stewardship, but face several challenges, including limited awareness about standards compliance; lagging data science capacity; emphasis on data collection rather than reuse; and limited fund allocation for data and standards management. Community-based hurdles around the development and governance of standards and fostering their adoption also abound. This chapter discusses challenges and possible solutions to making FAIR agricultural data assets the norm rather than the exception to catalyze a much-needed revolution towards “translational agriculture”.