Knowledge sharing

As the world’s population grows, the climate changes and people increasingly migrate from rural areas to cities, global food and agriculture systems will need to transform in order to be able to provide everyone with enough safe and nutritious food. Access to scientific knowledge, research and information for food and agriculture is crucial for this transformation to happen sustainably, in a way that safeguards both livelihoods and the environment.

FAO’s role

FAO promotes the exchange of scientific research and technical knowledge related to all aspects of food and agriculture. Through a series of knowledge programmes, FAO helps to increase the accessibility and visibility of research products in its Member Countries, and to make this information available, accessible and usable worldwide. These programmes help to:

  • Promote accessibility of scientific information and digital data in food & agriculture.
  • Strengthen engagement of international, regional and national organizations in scaling up access to and dissemination of agricultural data.
  • Improve the quality and effectiveness of agricultural research and education.

This exchange of knowledge, information and data not only supports FAO’s work for a world free of hunger, malnutrition and poverty, but also contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 


FAO makes scientific information and digital data on food and agriculture available and accessible worldwide through the following platforms:

  • AGRIS: the International System for Agricultural Science and Technology

    AGRIS provides a great opportunity to increase analysis of agricultural performance and, consequently, help inform agriculture investment, innovation and policy to drive changes toward increasing sustainability in the agriculture sector. The platform provides free access to more than 12 million records about publications in up to 90 different languages. It facilitates access to referring books, journal articles, monographs, book chapters, datasets and grey literature - including unpublished scientific and technical reports, theses, dissertations and conference papers in the area of food and agriculture.
    By contributing publications to AGRIS, organizations help to bridge the access gap for scientific literature and increase the flow and access of information in the domain of food and agriculture.

  • AGORA: Access to Global Online Research in Agriculture

    Subscription-based journals remain an important source of high-quality scientific information to advance higher education, improve the work of development practitioners and inform public policy decisions. Since 2003, FAO has led AGORA, a knowledge platform that provides free or low cost access to major scientific journals and books in food and agriculture to public institutions in low-income countries. Staff and students from eligible institutions, including universities and colleges, research institutes, agricultural extension centers, government offices and libraries, receive access to the journals for free or at greatly reduced rates.
    Most of the world’s leading scientific journal publishers participate in the programme, and partners include more than 150 world’s leading scientific publishers, WHO, FAO, UNEP, WIPO, ILO, Cornell and Yale University Libraries, STM and other technical partners.

  • AGROVOC: a multi-lingual, collaborative thesaurus for agricultural concepts

    AGROVOC is the largest Linked Open Data set about agriculture available for public use and facilitates access and visibility of data across domains and languages. It offers a structured collection of agricultural concepts, terms, definitions and relationships which are used to unambiguously identify resources, allowing standardized indexing processes and making searches more efficient.
    AGROVOC uses semantic web technologies, linking to other multilingual knowledge organization systems and building bridges between datasets. The data set is widely used in specialized as well as digital libraries and repositories for indexing content and text mining, and serves as a specialized tagging resource for content organization by FAO and third-party stakeholders.

  • FAO KnowledgeLab: Innovative learning environment to foster knowledge sharing

    KnowledgeLab offers an environment to support the knowledge platforms which currently includes AGRISAGROVOC and AGORA programmes. Through these knowledge programmes, FAO helps to increase the accessibility and visibility of research products related to food and agriculture, and to make this information available, accessible and usable worldwide. Additionally, KnowledgeLab facilitates capacity development activities to communities practice like the Agricultural Information Management Standards Portal (AIMS), the Interest Group on Agricultural Data (IGAD) at the Research Data Alliance (RDA) and the Dgroups at FAO. KnowledgeLab targets existing stakeholders that use and contribute to the knowledge platforms by providing tailored online training activities. These courses are designed and announced in the communication channels of the relevant programmes, and participation is upon registration based on the defined criteria.

  • AIMS: the Agricultural Information Management Standards Portal

    AIMS is a community made up of 4,000 experts in (agricultural) information and data management from around the world. It provides an open and free space for communication and the exchange of ideas, suggestions, questions, and solutions around the core areas of Information and Data Access Services, information and data management open standards, technology and methodologies. Community members can connect with each other to share good practices, projects, and events.

In numbers:

  • AGORA provides access to up to 100,000 leading journals and books in the fields of health, agriculture, environment, and applied sciences.
  • More than 9,000 institutions in more than 120 low- and middle-income countries benefit from free or low-cost online access through AGORA.
  • AGRIS provides free access to more than 12 million records about publications in up to 90 different languages
  • More than 500 institutions including research centers, academic institutions, publishers, governmental bodies, development programmes, international and national organizations from 150 countries currently contribute to AGRIS.
  • AGROVOC consists of more than 38,000 concepts and more than 800,000 terms in up to 40 languages.
  • AIMS offers access to a community of 4,500 experts in the fields of information and data management.

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