Improving agricultural knowledge management: The AgTrials experience

Hyman, G and Espinosa, H and Camargo, P and Abreu, D and Devare, M and Arnaud, E and Porter, C and Mwanzia, L and Sonder, K and Traore, S (2017) Improving agricultural knowledge management: The AgTrials experience. F1000Research, 6 (317). pp. 1-13. ISSN 2046-1402

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Background: Opportunities to use data and information to address challenges in international agricultural research and development are expanding rapidly. The use of agricultural trial and evaluation data has enormous potential to improve crops and management practices. However, for a number of reasons, this potential has yet to be realized. This paper reports on the experience of the AgTrials initiative, an effort to build an online database of agricultural trials applying principles of interoperability and open access. Methods: Our analysis evaluates what worked and what did not work in the development of the AgTrials information resource. We analyzed data on our users and their interaction with the platform. We also surveyed our users to gauge their perceptions of the utility of the online database. Results: The study revealed barriers to participation and impediments to interaction, opportunities for improving agricultural knowledge management and a large potential for the use of trial and evaluation data. Conclusions: Technical and logistical mechanisms for developing interoperable online databases are well advanced. More effort will be needed to advance organizational and institutional work for these types of databases to realize their potential.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Research Program : West & Central Africa
CRP: CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Crop trial, variety, trial site, metadata, CGIAR, AgTrials, Agricultural research, Agricultural technology, Trial data
Subjects: Others > Information Technology
Others > Agricultural Research
Others > Information and Communications Technology
Others > Digital Agriculture
Depositing User: Mr Ramesh K
Date Deposited: 11 Jul 2017 08:59
Last Modified: 11 Jul 2017 08:59
Official URL:
Funders: CGIAR Fund & Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Acknowledgement: The AgTrials initiative has been primarily supported by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change and Agricultural Food Security (CCAFS). Additional support for the initiative and the development of the user survey was provided by the CGIAR System Management Office via the CGIAR Fund and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. We thank Nora Casteneda for comments and suggestions on an earlier draft of this paper. We especially thank to those colleagues who responded to our survey on user perceptions and experience of the AgTrials information resource. This paper was supported by the following grant(s): CGIAR Fund. United States Agency for International Development C-063-14 Joint CCAFS-AgMIP Activities G110. This research was commissioned by the CGIAR Systemwide Management Office. The CGIAR Fund ( provided financial support for the study to the authors of four CGIAR centers – Bioversity International, CIAT, CIMMYT and ICRISAT. Additional support was provided by USAID (Project C-063-14 Joint CCAFS-AgMIP Activities G110).
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