On October 9, 2013, the Agriculture & Food Systems Institute held a symposium entitled “Open Data: The Foundation for Better Decision Making” in Washington, DC. The symposium explored opportunities and challenges for identifying, promoting, and applying open scientific data to better inform decision-making, and prospects for improved public-private collaboration in this area. Academics, industry professionals, and government representatives were in attendance.

The symposium “Open Data: The Foundation for Better Decision Making” was divided into two panel sessions. The first addressed open data for improving sustainable agriculture and nutrition security. The second focused on trends in the open data movement in risk assessment. Although diverse perspectives were shared, four key messages emerged from the discussions:

  • Open data will enhance transparency and empower agricultural solutions
  • Sharing open data contributes to quality decision-making
  • Challenges for participating in the open data movement do exist but can be overcome
  • There are coordinated, international efforts under way to improve access to agricultural data

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