AGRIS Hub in the Republic of Moldova

In this short document, the work and experience of the AGRIS Hub in the Republic of Moldova is described, along with an overview of food and agricultural science and the role of AGRIS in the country.

Food and agricultural science in the Republic of Moldova

The Ministry of Education, Culture and Research of the Republic of Moldova is responsible for setting the policy framework for research and innovation. The research and development infrastructure, which contributes to the development of scientific activity and innovation in agriculture, includes several institutions and centres of agricultural research and development in the country: the Life Sciences Department of the Academy of Sciences of Moldova; the State Agrarian University of Moldova; six specialized scientific research institutions; experimental agricultural stations; centres of excellence; science, technical-scientific and technological innovation parks; business incubators; and research centres and their scientific laboratories (BNS, 2021).

The Republican Scientific Agricultural Library of the State Agrarian University of Moldova

The Republican Scientific Agricultural Library of the State Agrarian University of Moldova (RSAL SAUM) was the first university library in the Republic of Moldova. It was established simultaneously with the university in 1933. Since its foundation, the library and the university have evolved together. The library has been periodically influenced by the changes occurring in the social, political, economic and informational environment, going through reorganizations and changes of spaces, accumulating an important collection of documents, regularly modernizing its activity and diversifying its services and products, actively integrating itself in the university community and exercising various functions based on obtained national and international qualifications (SAUM, 2021).

The library has a dual role in the national system of libraries, both as a university library and as a national information centre in the field of agricultural sciences. It is also the methodological centre for the libraries of research institutions and agricultural colleges in the country.

Throughout its evolution, the library has continuously focused on the user. The user, especially the university user, has always been the “main actor.” For the users, the library has created and developed scenarios to complete and update the collection; to adapt, expand and improve its services; and to create effective information products in order to meet the educational, didactic and research requirements of real and potential users.

AGRIS and the Republican Scientific Agricultural Library of the State Agrarian University of Moldova

The partnership with FAO has expanded the library’s areas of work. New international responsibilities were assigned to the library. It became the FAO Information and Documentation Centre in the Republic of Moldova, the AGRIS Hub in the Republic of Moldova within the AGRIS network, a member of the International Network of Agricultural Libraries (AGLINET) and official editor of the AGROVOC multilingual thesaurus’ translation into Romanian (FAOd, 2021). Since 2000, due to its status as an FAO Depository Library in the Republic of Moldova and AGRIS Hub, the library has promoted FAO information resources in the country.

In 2001, the library became a member of AGLINET, established with the aim of sharing the information resources of the members jointly and systematically, as the latter provide, upon request, interlibrary loan services in the interest of and for the benefit of users. Fulfilling the functions of an AGRIS Hub in the Republic of Moldova since 2004, the library integrates the metadata of documents on agriculture published in the country. As AGRIS data providers, the institutions of the Republic of Moldova evaluate and select these publications, index their contents with AGROVOC concepts and transmit them for integration in the AGRIS database. Figure 1 shows the dynamics of scientific publications in the country between 2015 and 2020.

Scientific publications in Moldova

Figure 1. Scientific publications in the Republic of Moldova. Source: Annual reports of the Academy of Sciences of Moldova, 2015-2020

The main mission of the library is to provide informational and documentary support for the process of education, research and production in the field of agriculture, and to be an active intermediary between users and information. Having joined the international community of editors of AGROVOC, an indexing tool and multilingual thesaurus used by AGRIS, the library translates and adapts AGROVOC in Romanian. A network of hundreds of data providers from about 150 countries contributes to AGRIS. In order to accomplish a qualitative indexing process, which has a direct impact on the discovery of agricultural information, considerable work is needed from the network. In this regard, AGROVOC solves the problem of the linguistic resources compatibility of the databases in the participating countries with the AGRIS database, contributing to the standardized and unitary indexing of agricultural information and data by all AGRIS data providers, and facilitating their interoperability and reuse.

Three institutions from the Republic of Moldova participate in the provision of AGRIS data:

Relevance of AGRIS in the Republic of Moldova

Efficient agricultural management, directly determined by high-level information, will contribute to poverty reduction, the raising of nutrition levels, adding new values to products depending on consumer demand, the improvement of agricultural productivity and the raising of living standards. Scientific information has become a vital source for global agriculture and an essential component of the educational and research process, as well as an important element for creativity and innovation.

In this context, it is necessary to efficiently manage and disseminate information through modern information and communication systems such as AGRIS – a system that opens opportunities for access to information at no cost or restriction in order to improve the transfer of knowledge to the global agricultural community. The Republic of Moldova joined the international AGRIS community in the early 2000s, contributing about 5 000 bibliographic records, over 1 000 of which have links to the full document texts. AGRIS offers agricultural institutions from the Republic of Moldova the opportunity to be part of an advantageous and dynamic international network and to contribute to the promotion of Moldovan scientific research globally. Thus, the Republic of Moldova benefits from an open and free service, with the benefit of having its scientific results be discovered through AGRIS. AGRIS also offers consumers of agricultural information from the Republic of Moldova opportunities to search, from a single access point, a multitude of multilingual information resources, some of which are not in any international database (grey literature, manuscripts, agricultural data, etc.).

In the AGRIS database, users can obtain information quickly, with relevance and accuracy due to the fact that the information is indexed based on the AGROVOC thesaurus. When users search in AGRIS, they use the AGROVOC thesaurus to guide and inspire them to select keywords and alternate words to express a concept or expand or narrow their search.

AGRIS is a source for discovering relevant information for PhD students' research topics, and has a comprehensive collection of documents.

AGRIS - a way to promote the results of scientific research from the Republic of Moldova

AGRIS is an efficient platform for promoting the scientific results from the Republic of Moldova at the international level. Thus, AGRIS opens agricultural science and research from the Republic of Moldova to a wider audience and contributes to the easier discovery of publications, increasing the visibility of the country’s global research and the citation rate of Moldovan authors. AGRIS responds to the new paradigm of Open Science as a way of producing, disseminating, applying and transforming scientific research. By making information available, it promotes greater transparency of information and authors’ responsibility, increasing the possibilities for re-use and the sharing of agricultural information and data. As scientific research cannot be conducted in international isolation, the expansion of international collaboration benefits researchers from the Republic of Moldova. The AGRIS system extends the communication of Moldovan researchers with specialists from other countries in the same or connected fields, and improves the transfer of scientific knowledge between researchers.

Information and data are very important for the development of agriculture. AGRIS improves the circulation of, access to and transfer of scientific knowledge, contributing to the evaluation of agriculture, the formulation of agricultural policies, and the development of appropriate strategies for the development of the agricultural and rural sectors. At the same time, Moldovan farmers, having access to information and data, can know the challenges faced by farmers in other countries and identify answers to their specific questions.

AGRIS - an information source for AGLINET services

Taking advantage of the Semantic Web and Linked Open Data, AGRIS not only links researchers to the full text of recent publications, but also serves as an aggregator for the retrieval of many publications without a Uniform Resource Identifier (URI). Researchers find in AGRIS many interesting and important publications that are not available via Open Access. In this case, through the AGLINET Network, libraries assist each other in acquiring literature that is not available in their own country. Therefore, AGRIS is an information source for AGLINET services and provides bibliographic data and information about which country and institution holds that specific publication. SAUM has collaborated within the AGLINET system with international partners from 38 countries in all continents. In relations with partner libraries, SAUM has the role of beneficiary library and has obtained over 3 500 loans from partner libraries. As a supplier library, it has delivered in recent years over 400 documents in 12 countries. Currently, the AGLINET network is not very active, but member countries continue to provide, without charge and upon request, fast interlibrary loan services to other member libraries.

Next steps

In order to increase awareness on the use of AGRIS and enhance the accessibility and visibility of agricultural information and data in the Republic of Moldova, the team of RSAL plans to implement the following activities:

  • increase capacity and awareness of AGRIS in the Republic of Moldova’s agricultural community to demonstrate the benefits of being indexed in AGRIS;
  • enhance visibility and access of Moldovan scientific research on food and agriculture internationally;
  • encourage researchers and institutions to use AGRIS not only as information consumers, but also as AGRIS data providers;
  • increase the number of records submitted to AGRIS; and
  • disseminate and promote information about AGRIS publications and events.

References

BNS. 2021. Activitatea de cercetare-dezvoltare în anul 2020. In: Biroul Național de Statistică al Republicii Moldova [online]. Chişinău. [Cited 16 July 2021].https://statistica.gov.md/newsview.php?l=ro&idc=168&id=6967

FAO. 2021a. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations [online]. Rome. [Cited 16 July 2021]. www.fao.org/ home/en

FAO. 2021b. Sustainable Development Goals. In: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations [online]. Rome. [Cited 16 July 2021]. http://www.fao.org/sustainable-development-goals/en/

FAO. 2021c AGRIS. In: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations [online]. Rome. [Cited 16 July 2021]. http://www.fao.org/agris/

FAO. 2021d. AGRIS. In: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations [online]. Rome. [Cited 16 July 2021]. http://www.fao.org/agris/data-providers

FAO. 2021e. AGROVOC. In: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations [online]. Rome. [Cited 16 July 2021]. http://www.fao.org/agrovoc/

SAUM.2021. Universitatea Agrară de Stat din Moldova – State Agrarian University of Moldova [online]. Chişinău. [Cited 16 July 2021]. https://www.uasm.md/en