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Sci Data. 2018 May 15;5:180072. doi: 10.1038/sdata.2018.72.

The electronic Rothamsted Archive (e-RA), an online resource for data from the Rothamsted long-term experiments.

Author information

1
Computational and Analytical Sciences, Rothamsted Research, Harpenden, Hertfordshire AL5 2JQ, UK.
2
Sustainable Agriculture Sciences, Rothamsted Research, Harpenden, Hertfordshire AL5 2JQ, UK.
3
Plant Sciences, Rothamsted Research, Harpenden, Hertfordshire, Hertfordshire AL5 2JQ, UK.
4
Biointeractions and Crop Protection, Rothamsted Research, Harpenden, Hertfordshire AL5 2JQ, UK.

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.

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