The overarching common objective of the Data Modelling Centre (DMC) is to create and enable a suitable environment for scientific data to be Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable (i.e. being ‘FAIR'). Core activities of the DMC include: 
  • The preparation and maintenance of the AnaEE Data Management Plan : The Centre will provide national platforms with guidelines and operational tools (thesaurus, ontologies, etc.) to implement metadata and data standardization. Data management plans will be developed for new projects and platforms. 
  • Data quality improvement and data analysis : Data quality will be improved by analyses over larger datasets through National Platforms synergies or by comparing model predictions with new data. The DMC will develop visualization, statistical and data analysis tools and act as a resource centre for data analysis toolkits. Software products developed by the DMC will be made freely accessible. Code will be available in open repositories (e.g. Github) and technical documents will be made freely available. 
  • Ensuring visibility and access to AnaEE data : A key objective is the full interoperability of experimental datasets collected on AnaEE platforms. Access to data will consequently be centralized and benefit from a user-friendly, single querying tool in the data portal hosted on the master AnaEE portal. Workflows for data publication and mining of DOIs will be created. The model for data will be open access, with a policy approved by the AoM to determine the period and conditions for private use of the data by the users at the origin of the proposed experiment.
  • Facilitating access to a range of modelling solutions and to model factories : Models are needed to develop and test our understanding of the complex quantitative relationships between processes within ecosystems, as well as their behaviour under various pressures and to generalize from specific ecosystem studies and to upscale results to the scale of interest. The DMC will facilitate access to two types of national AnaEE Modelling Platforms including Modelling Solution Platforms (around a well-established and supported model), and Model Factory Platforms (an advanced facility offering access to models, model development tools and integrated simulation facilities to its users).
The DMC will grant access to recognized process-oriented and other models corresponding to key aspects of ecosystems complexities. Model factories will provide tools to enable the composition of new models through user-friendly linking model components. 
  • Improving model interoperability and use: The DMC will define and implement a range of software interface standards (Application Programming Interfaces) to facilitate the interoperation of individual models and across components within modelling factories
  • Facilitating the use of models by non-model developers by ensuring that quality tutorials are available for running the available models, and organizing training workshops on resorting to models to conceive an experiment or interpret experimental datasets;
  • Feeding the Data and Modelling section of the AnaEE portal
The DMC will particularly address the issue of linking data with modelling solutions using different modelling platforms. Platforms have different architectures and will require specific realisations to access data and to keep the information provided via metadata to properly structure output data persistence. The DMC will thus set up demonstration cases to show ways of using modelling to enhance interpretation, upscaling, design of experimental treatments and measurements, etc., as well as the use of measurements and findings to improve models. Cases will be developed in consultation with national nodes and AnaEE advisory bodies, with the aim to encompass a range of systems, questions and challenges suitable for approaching through the integration of modelling with experimental activities. Each case study will be addressed using at least two modelling platforms. Examples currently foreseen are:
  • Modelling environmental gradients via multi-site experiments.
  • Linking remotely sensed data to model resources.
The DMC will also organize training sessions to prepare the users and platform operators to use, and produce data complying to the FAIR principle. Workshop will be organized to exchange experience and gather new ideas in the use of AnaEE data.
The DMC will be hosted by the Consiglio per la Ricerca in Agricoltura e l’Analisi dell’Economia Agraria (CREA – Council for the research in agriculture and the analysis of agrarian economy) in Bologna, Italy.