Archive for AGRIS AP

Towards an architecture for open archive networks in Agricultural Sciences and Technology

The AGRIS Network is an international initiative based on a collaborative network of institutions, whose aim is to build a common and freely accessible information system for science and technology in agriculture and related subjects. The paper illustrates how the Open Access (OA) and the Open Archive Initiative (OAI) models can be used within the AGRIS Network as a means of solving the problems of information dissemination and exchange of agricultural research outputs. The AGRIS OA model promotes the availability of online content, such as that of grey literature which is not available through commercial distribution channels but significantly contributes to agricultural research and development. The lack of adequate information exchange possibilities between researchers in agricultural sciences and technology represents a significant weakness limiting the ability of researches to properly help address the issues of agricultural development. The OA model also promotes disseminating international, national and regional research output in a way that is highly visible thus removing the restrictions placed by the traditional scientific diffusion arising from print media. This paper presents the possibility to address the accessibility, availability and interoperability issues of exchanging agricultural research output. The paper also presents the needs for standards such as AGRIS Application Profile (AGRIS AP), an exchange standard and controlled vocabularies or subject-specific Knowledge Organization Systems (KOS) as means of assuring quality of the shared information.

Read the full paper:

  • [English]
  • [Chinese] <- Thank you to Zhong Wang for the translation!
  • [French] <- Thank you to Koda for the translation!
  • [Spanish] < Thank you to Franz Martin for the translation!

Your comments, feedback and suggestions are most appreciated.

Gauri Salokhe, FAO.


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Kenya Agris pilot project: Kenya Agricultural Information Network (KAINet)

The Kenya Pilot AGRIS Project aims to establish systems that promote information exchange and access among researchers and other agricultural stakeholders through building capacity to manage information and through establishing institutional repositories of agricultural information. Its bigger vision is to establish a national forum for exchange of agricultural content through a national information network with essentials components such as national electronically repository. The documented lessons learnt will be used to replicate other similar projects within the AGRIS network.  The project is born out of a need to address issues critical to content development and information exchange between users, identified in several AGRIS activities in Kenya as well as the new AGRIS vision which emphasises the following: decentralized capacities to manage and exchange agricultural information;  strengthen national and institutional capacities to manage, disseminate and exchange agricultural Information; availability of full text content and;  promote use of standard tools and methodologies. 

The project if funded by DFID (Department for International Development), through FAO, who are in collaboration with CABI Africa and the Regional Agricultural Information Network (RAIN). It will be initially implemented in 5 pilot institutions and will open to other institutions once the project objectives are realised. The five pilot institutions represent different agricultural institutions including national research systems and universities. The project will be implements over a period of three years (June 2006-June 2009) in three phases  The pilot institutions are: the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI-HQ) which is leading the project, the Kenya National Agricultural Research Laboratories (KARI-NARL), the Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI), the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) and Jomo Kenya University of Agriculture and Forestry (JKUAT). The first phase running from June 2006 to December 2006 was a preparatory phase devoted to build a common vision amongst the Stakeholders and institutionalize the network. The achievements include:


  • commitment by the pilot centers & resources secured
  • needs assessment study done and report compiled
  • national planning workshop held
  • draft KAINet framework developed
  • phase II activities, draft work plan and budget developed

The second phase starting 31st December 2006 to 31st of May 2007, will focus on the activities identified in a needs assessment done in phase two. The activities are; support to institutions to develop their ICT/M strategies and policies; establishment of the Kenya Agricultural Information Network (KAINet), its strategy and action plan; Capacity building and technical support on the establishment of institutional information systems; establishment of a framework for sharing information documenting and developing a case study on the lessons learnt from the project. The highlights of the second phase include:

  • a three month’s mission of a FAO information officer to
    Kenya to provide technical support to the activity on capacity building. Between the months of February to mid March 2007, all the pilot centre personnel have been on-site trained on the AGRIS tools and methodologies.
  • All the five institutions have installed WebAGRIS and are now using it for the development of their institutional repositories.
  • A project Management Team comprising of members from each of the institutions has been appointed to collective manage the project.
  • A one day stakeholder workshop was held on the 28th/2/2007 to review the progress of each centre and to recommit on the activities of the second phase. Most of these activities are underway.
  • A four day write-shop is scheduled for the week of 19th-23rd /3/2007 for the development of draft institutional strategies and policies under the leadership of a policy consultant.
  • A training programme has been developed covering the identified areas for skills development and is under circulations for comments from the institutions.
  • A KAINet Dgroup e-forum has been established and is being used for discussions and exchange of experiences and documents.
  • Identification and preliminary work on the Kenya Agricultural Research Database (KARD) with 40, 000+ records as the basis of the national central repository. KARD has bibliographic records from many agricultural research institutions in

The second phase will conclude with a two day stakeholder workshop in May to report on the status and progress of each centre according to the five activities outlined above and to plan for phase 3.  

Irene Onyancha, FAO.

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How CIRAD stands vis-à-vis the Open Archives projects


At the local level

CIRAD’s database, AGRITROP

AGRITROP is CIRAD’s bibliographic and full text database.


AGRITROP is composed of references associated with full text (when it exists) of all CIRAD’s publications (books, book chapters, conference proceedings, conference communications, journal articles, training courses, pictures) and of the books available in CIRAD’s libraries.


AGRITROP uses the AGRIS/CARIS categorization scheme and the French AGROVOC thesaurus to index its data.


AGRITROP is based on the library information system LORIS/DORIS which is a commercial software developed by a private French company EVER. LORIS/DORIS is not OAI compliant.

UNIMARC is the format of AGRITROP.


Outputs from AGRITROP

CIRAD hasn’t supplied AGRIS with AGRITROP data for several years.

Because AGRITROP isn’t OAI compliant, CIRAD has to extract publications lists from AGRITROP and then display them on the Internet ( so that references and full text can be indexed and retrieved by search engines like Google and Google Search.


Data from AGRITROP could be exported in a XML format but the output and process are complex and can’t easily be used to export data according to DC or AGRIS AP.



At the national level

CIRAD’s participation in the national Open Archive

CIRAD has been participating since 2006 in the national Open Archive HAL (Hyper Article on Line) which is hosted and managed by CNRS (the National Scientific Research Center).

HAL was initially designed to host scientific publications which are accepted by peer-review journals.

HAL covers a wide range of scientific areas from mathematics and physics (HAL is linked to Arxiv) to medicine (HAL will soon be linked to PubMed), psychology and agronomy.

HAL is harvested by Google and Google Scholar.


Our main concern with HAL is that it is not intended to host unconventional literature (technical documents, activity and expert reports, unpublished communications). Its classification scheme isn’t a conventional one and its keywords aren’t controlled.



CIRAD’s database isn’t OAI compliant and is not directly available through OAI harvesters and search engines like Google and Google Scholar.

Although CIRAD participates in the national Open Archive HAL, it can’t use HAL to promote CIRAD unconventional publications which form the greater part of CIRAD’s literature.


Furthermore, the agronomic field is a minor subject in HAL which isn’t based on a well established classification scheme (like the AGRIS/CARIS) nor as a controlled vocabulary (like AGROVOC).



CIRAD’s requirements in order to participate at the international level

The best option for CIRAD, in terms of access to its publications, would be to set up an institutional repository based on OAI standard and controlled vocabularies (ISI subjects for scientific classification, AGRIS/CARIS for applied research fields and AGROVOC for keywords).

This repository would accept any type of publication (from peer review articles to technical documents) in order to give access on the Internet to unconventional literature produced by CIRAD’s researchers.


What CIRAD thinks of AGRIS AP

It is essential for our repository to use a standard and as complete as possible a metadata set. Moreover, it is essential that CIRAD’s publications can be harvested, searched, retrieved and read on the Internet according to standard data. However, AGRIS AP is a little too heavy and complicated for exporting data easily in a XML format.

What we need is a simplified metadata set from AGRIS AP which would be processed by service providers, like the one FAO proposes to set up for the AGRIS network and the international agronomic research community.


MC Deboin 19/01/2007



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Benefits of AGRIS AP over simple DC in OAI environment

In the OAI scenario, to establish good services we have to keep in mind the “garbage in, garbage out” principle. Quality services are those that provide the users with good search and browse functionalities, where the user is served as precise results to her query as possible. Given that we try our best in our own environments (individual organizations) to create best quality metadata, it becomes important to assure a level of quality in a shared environment.

I am posting here a document that argues that to have high quality value-added services, we need more than just simple Dublin Core and that a possible solution could be the AGRIS Application Profile.

Read more: Benfits of AGRIS AP over Simple DC 

Gauri Salokhe

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