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Centre scientists to profit from new databank

Co-author: Judith Olang-Intern at Research Methods Group.

As a leading research institution, the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) produces hundreds of publications annually. Each publication synthesizes data from a number of sources mostly from other publications from the Centre. Till now, many researchers have had to manually hunt for important data or use a number of different software to synthesis data for publication. This takes time away from actual research.

As the Centre renews its commitment to generating science-based knowledge about the diverse roles that trees play in agricultural landscapes, it requires processes that will aid publication output. That is the only way it can be a producer, provider and custodian of high value data that will promote the adoption of agroforestry practices.

To this end, ICRAF has created a research data repository using the Dataverse Network hosted at the Institute for Quantitative Social Science at Harvard University. It enables an organized and convenient access to metadata. The main goal of the Dataverse Network is to provide solutions to problems of data sharing through building technologies that enable institutions to reduce the burden of data sharing for researchers and data publishers while providing incentives for them to share their data. This fits seamlessly into the Centre’s ambition to preserve and share all the datasets its researchers produce.

The Centre’s Dataverse will archive primary data used in producing publications as well as survey data that can be supported by published and unpublished but reliable reports. Creators’ envisage that the Centre’s Dataverse will quicken publication and improve research quality which may ultimately advance policies and practices that benefit the poor and the environment.

Dataverse is one of the tools ICRAF’s Research Methods Group (RMG) uses to support science quality. The Group uses Dataverse to maintain research data in the public domain, which allows the Centre’s output to be widely applied and improved.


Christopher Mesiku

Chris Mesiku is a science communicator volunteering at the World Agroforestry Centre in Nairobi, Kenya. In the last 5 years, he has worked as a communicator for various scientific institutions. He holds a Bachelor of Science, Graduate Diploma in Science Communication (ANU) and a Masters in Philosophy of Science (UQ).

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