e-infrastructure Roadmap for Open Science in Agriculture

A bibliometric study

The e-ROSA project seeks to build a shared vision of a future sustainable e-infrastructure for research and education in agriculture in order to promote Open Science in this field and as such contribute to addressing related societal challenges. In order to achieve this goal, e-ROSA’s first objective is to bring together the relevant scientific communities and stakeholders and engage them in the process of coelaboration of an ambitious, practical roadmap that provides the basis for the design and implementation of such an e-infrastructure in the years to come.

This website highlights the results of a bibliometric analysis conducted at a global scale in order to identify key scientists and associated research performing organisations (e.g. public research institutes, universities, Research & Development departments of private companies) that work in the field of agricultural data sources and services. If you have any comment or feedback on the bibliometric study, please use the online form.

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Viable Systems Modelling for Climate Change Adaptation in the Gippsland Region


This paper presents the creative use of Viable Systems Modelling (VSM) as a mechanism to help multiple interest groups develop a strategy for land use adaptation to climate change for the Victorian region of Gippsland. VSM is a technique for representing systems developed by Stafford Beer from the 1960s with a strong grounding in the cybernetics discipline (Beer 1966). Originally derived by examining organisms such as humans as a system, the conceptual framework of a recursive hierarchy where any system can be considered part of a supra-system and made up of sub-systems was formed. For a system to be 'viable', Beer and his colleagues established a number of requirements or laws about the sub-systems and information channel characteristics that join them. Furthermore, each of the sub-systems could be considered a viable system in its own right due to the nested nature of the structure of systems. Since the early development, Beer and many others have applied the theory of VSM to organisational management as a means to either design the structure of business or government organisations, or alternately to examine existing organisations with the view to diagnosing why they may not be viable. While there has been some application of VSM to government organisations, there has been only a few instances published where VSM has been applied to natural resource management problems (NRM). At the invitation of a group of local governments in Gippsland, Victoria, we have commenced the task of modelling the Gippsland Region as a viable system. Two subsystems of the Gippsland Regional System were chosen to demonstrate the approach. Agriculture, with the system in focus being a generic farm was chosen because it is intimately involved with natural resource management, economic production, and the social fabric of the region. Agriculture is also predicted to be subject to significant change over the coming decades especially due to climate change with possible large shifts in the optimum produce likely. Secondly, the government service industry, with the system in focus being local government was chosen because of its essential role in providing local infrastructure and planning strategies to allow the community and business (including farms) to exist and prosper. A critical aspect of VSM includes defining the best information that needs to flow between the sub-systems and the operating environment, and between different levels in the recursion to allow components to make effective decisions. To help structure this aspect of the research, an approach by (Bossel 2001) to define basic orientors of a system was used. For a system to be viable, 6 or 7 orientations of a system must be satisfied. These range from aspects such as resource use efficiency, to adaptability, and for sentient systems psychological wellbeing. For each of the orientors, indicators or indices are devised to capture the essence of the information about the system's response to the environment, which can collectively be used to judge the viability of the system. We contend that a system can be viable only if it has a viable structure as outlined by Beer and each of the orientations of the system and sub-system are in a satisfactory state as determined by Bossel's indicators. Considering the farm system, it is largely concerned with taking information and resources from the broader operating environment in order to undertake operations that are productive in the economic, social and natural resource management contexts. On the other hand, the local government system is largely about manipulating the broader environment, for example through infrastructure provision, to enable systems like farms to operate effectively. In order for local government to make resilient and effective decisions it must have a source of information about the systems it serves. We propose that a regional information system, from which farms and council can draw information about the their viability and farms can supply information about risks to their viability is the way forward is the way forward to support the decision making of both councils and farms. In particular, local government can seek information on risks to viability in the region in order to plan transformative adaptation responses to climate and structural change, and avoid the likelihood of investing in stranded assets.

  • AU
  • Univ_Melbourne (AU)
Data keywords
  • information system
Agriculture keywords
  • agriculture
  • farm
Data topic
  • modeling
Document type

Inappropriate format for Document type, expected simple value but got array, please use list format

Institutions 10 co-publis
  • Univ_Melbourne (AU)
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e-ROSA - e-infrastructure Roadmap for Open Science in Agriculture has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 730988.
Disclaimer: The sole responsibility of the material published in this website lies with the authors. The European Union is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.