Open Data for Food & Nutrition: The promises and perils of data sharing and exchange

  • Time: 17:00 – 18:00
  • Date: Tuesday 22 April 2014
  • Venue: Queen Juliana
  • Session Lead: Ms. Effie Tsiflidou and Dr. Vassilis Protonotarios
  • Institution: Agro-Know, Greece
  • Contact info: /

Session open for presentation to all participants wishing to present: Please contact us with the title of your presentation by 20/4/2014.


The issue of opening data related to food and nutrition is clearly defined in the Statement of Purpose of GODAN, according to which “Open access to research, and open publication of data, are vital resources for food security and nutrition, driven by farmers, farmer organizations, researchers, extension experts, policy makers, governments, and other private sector and civil society stakeholders participating in "innovation systems" and along value chains”.

Despite the fact that there is already a wealth of various data types in terms of food and nutrition, there has been only little progress in terms of publishing related data openly as well as linked data, defining policies etc. The sources of related data are still limited and there are interoperability issues, while there is no centralized portal for providing access to such data. At the same time, there are initiatives working with agricultural and food data at various levels (e.g. national and global) and in various contexts (e.g. educational, research, policy making etc.) but their efforts are not harmonized. In this direction, the need for exploring good practices and reasons to open up exchange data is clearly highlighted.

There are already two global networks working on similar issues:

  • Research Data Alliance (RDA): A joint effort of USA, Europe and Australia aiming to build the social and technical bridges that enable open sharing of data, allowing researchers and innovators to openly share data across technologies, disciplines, and countries to address the grand challenges of society.
  • Global Food Safety Partnership (GFSP): A unique public-private initiative supported by the World Bank, dedicated to improving the safety of food in middle-income and developing countries. It aims to combine food safety training and technical support so developing countries can improve their food safety systems and benefit from better compliance with food safety standards.

Key challenge / opportunity

The main challenge that the session will aim to explore both perspectives (research and practice) and to introduce the work of the international networks, such as RDA and GFSP as well as other initiatives activated in the same context. The ultimate aim of the session will be to formulate a task force which will work on better food and nutrition data sharing

Topics for Discussion

Participants are expected to participate in discussions which will focus on the following subjects, but will not be limited to them:

  • Introduction
  • Presentation of the GFSP and the Knowledge & Learning Systems Working Group (KLSWG);
  • Presentation of the RDA Agricultural Data Interoperability Interest Group;
  • Presentation of other initiatives
  1. Open food and nutrition data sources;
  2. Related organizations & initiatives, working groups etc.;
  3. Individuals working on these topics.
  • How to join forces, harmonize efforts & work on good practices for data sharing and exchange.

Key objectives of the session

  • To introduce the participants to the ongoing work of the World Bank's GFSP initiative, and more specifically the work of the Knowledge & Learning Systems Group, and to identify content providers in this context;
  • To present the work of the Agricultural Data Interoperability Interest Group of RDA and explore potential synergies with the GODAN participating members and other existing related initiatives;
  • To set the basis for networking all stakeholders/participants of the GODAN/CIARD meeting working with food and nutrition data;
  • To establish the working groups within CIARD and GODAN, which may also be represented in the Research Data Alliance in the form of a Working Group;
  • To discuss ideas on the identification, harmonization and sharing of good practices and standards in the context of food and nutrition data.

Links to relevant websites/datasets