Knowledge for better food systems

Rothamsted Archive of long-term agricultural experiments

The electronic Rothamsted Archive provides data on agricultural experiments (starting in 1843) and weather records (since 1853). A recent paper gives an official account of the history of the archive. The archive includes results of experiments on wheat, permanent grassland, barley, woodland and rotational systems.

Abstract

The electronic Rothamsted Archive, e-RA (www.era.rothamsted.ac.uk) provides a permanent managed database to both securely store and disseminate data from Rothamsted Research’s long-term field experiments (since 1843) and meteorological stations (since 1853). Both historical and contemporary data are made available via this online database which provides the scientific community with access to a unique continuous record of agricultural experiments and weather measured since the mid-19th century. Qualitative information, such as treatment and management practices, plans and soil information, accompanies the data and are made available on the e-RA website. e-RA was released externally to the wider scientific community in 2013 and this paper describes its development, content, curation and the access process for data users. Case studies illustrate the diverse applications of the data, including its original intended purposes and recent unforeseen applications. Usage monitoring demonstrates the data are of increasing interest. Future developments, including adopting FAIR data principles, are proposed as the resource is increasingly recognised as a unique archive of data relevant to sustainable agriculture, agroecology and the environment.

 

Reference

Perryman, S.A., Castells-Brooke, N.I., Glendining, M.J., Goulding, K.W., Hawkesford, M.J., Macdonald, A.J., Ostler, R.J., Poulton, P.R., Rawlings, C.J., Scott, T. and Verrier, P.J., 2018. The electronic Rothamsted Archive (e-RA), an online resource for data from the Rothamsted long-term experiments. Scientific data, 5, p.180072.

Read the full paper here, find a summary in Science Direct here and access the archive here. You may be interested in our coverage of the paper Major limitations to achieving “4 per 1000” increases in soil organic carbon stock in temperate regions: Evidence from long-term experiments at Rothamsted Research, United Kingdom. See also the Foodsource chapter Environmental impacts of food: an introduction to LCA.

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