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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Reflection plus XML Simplifies Development of the APSIM Generic PLANT Model


The Agricultural Production Systems Simulator (APSIM) is a farming systems model that contains many sub-models. These sub models, in turn, contain many lines of legacy code that often need maintenance and refactoring. One model in APSIM that has undergone considerable reworking is the generic PLANT model, a model capable of simulating many crop species through parameterisation. Originally written in FORTRAN (Robertson et al. 2002, Wang et al. 2002), this model was converted to the C language and later restructured into classes using C++. This evolutionary process led to a model that was difficult to work with. More recently, newer computer languages have emerged that have the ability to return, at run-time, various metadata about the source code to a calling piece of code. This reflection, also called introspection, can be used by a model framework to make it more dynamic and able to respond to different types of models at runtime. For example, rather than using inheritance or an interface to locate and call a timestep method of a model, the infrastructure can analyse the model source code, looking for 'tags' that provide information about the appropriate method to call. These tags can also be used to describe the properties and methods of a model, allowing the infrastructure to provide values for them automatically. This can significantly reduce the amount of 'plumbing' code that the model developers must write. XML is another technology that can simplify the configuration and development of a model. In the APSIM generic PLANT model, it is used to select the desired processes to connect together to define a crop model and then to specify the parameters for those processes. The hierarchical nature of XML lends itself particularly well to this type of model specification. The APSIM PLANT model is reduced to a library of plant classes that describe the various organs and processes required to simulate the growth and development of many crop and tree species. Some of these processes are alternatives to other processes, for example, leaf development can be simulated as a whole of plant process or as cohorts of leaves. The selection of which approach to use for a particular crop is defined in the XML configuration file for that crop. This paper explores our use of reflection and XML in an attempt to simplify model development. These techniques aren't particularly new or novel in the software development industry, but their use in model development has been limited.

      Data keywords
      • XML
      Agriculture keywords
      • agriculture
      • farming
      Data topic
      • information systems
      • modeling
      Document type

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

      Institutions 10 co-publis
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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.