Information sharing and communication
This pitch has a focus on science information-sharing systems and communication within the Department and includes suggestions to enable scientists to work more efficient and engage easier with other scientists within the Department as well as to establish and strengthen a scientific network.
IT systems and processes in both ex-Agriculture and ex-Environment restrict our work efficiency: they make doing and sharing science difficult.
To support science work in the Department, systems should provide:
• A central data repository for the Department. This would greatly facilitate information sharing. E.g. programmed workflow and reference data can be shared by team members based at different locations.
o Approved software for staff to access and add to this repository
o Structured data and systems in this repository to ensure national consistency
• Uniform tools for data management and analysis. Aspects include:
o Geospatial software for all staff dealing with geospatial data; or bioinformatic software for pathogen/pest diagnostics.
o Records-management systems that enable storage of data (e.g. geospatial data)
• A quick and simplified process to white-list hardware and software. Examples include:
o Laboratory equipment and related software, including software updates
o Libraries in analytical software such as Python and R
• Direct access to scientific libraries and journals.
These tools will improve efficiency of work in individual areas. Moreover, by providing wider access to standard systems, they will facilitate collaboration.
Communication between ex-Agriculture and ex-Environment as well as between front line operational scientists and policy makers is limited.
To connect scientists within the Department, forums and opportunities could be established such as:
• Department-wide science-focused newsletter.
• Regular on-line webinars or workshops. Topics can be environment or agriculture focused; or can be universal to focus on technical issue, for example “statistics and data analysis”.
• Establish one-day job exchange.
Communication platforms such as these will enable individual scientist to share information with their peers, assists to establish a science community and strengthen the Department’s science capability.