Openly sharing greenhouse data

“During my PhD, I used mathematical models of greenhouses to explore methods to save energy in illuminated greenhouses. When I first started this research, I was surprised to learn how difficult it was to find source code for existing models, or the datasets that were used for their development. I eventually wrote a review paper which shows how rare it is in greenhouse modelling to share data and code. Unfortunately, I found that this is also the case in many other related disciplines.” 

“That’s why when I completed the first version of my own greenhouse model, I insisted on making the source code and the data of my simulation results available in an open format on 4TU.ResearchData. The advantages soon became apparent. Researchers, teachers and practitioners from all over the world found my model and began using it; they contacted me with questions and enquired about potential collaborations. One commercial advisor was so excited with this open approach that he shared his own data with me so I could use it to test and improve my model! Previously, I thought this was unthinkable as I had the impression that both researchers and commercial companies were extremely protective over their data.”

“Fortunately, there are now several projects focusing on publicly sharing greenhouse data, as well as several efforts for open source publishing of greenhouse models. I personally believe that an open approach to data and source code is essential for making reliable, reusable, and reproducible science. With this approach, we no longer have to constantly reinvent the wheel, but rather build on each other’s work and reach new discoveries and insights.”

Author: David Katzin (Wageningen University and Research)
Editor: Connie Clare (4TU.ResearchData)

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