Meet Dr Megan Wong. She’s an early career Research Associate at Federation University Centre for eResearch and Innovation. She works with data providers and users on a number of in-field research projects that require making agricultural and natural resource management data, information and knowledge reusable.
Part of her role is to enable partners to ensure that quality data is available to researchers, government agencies, municipalities and the public in ways that they see fit. Recently, she was the project manager and now Secretariat on the Agricultural Research Federation (AgReFed), a community whose establishment was supported by the Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC). Partners of the AgReFed community work together to achieve their vision of making data for agricultural research data more discoverable in line with the Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable (FAIR) principles to enable seamless data input for predictive modelling and decision support tools used by farmers and agronomists.
Currently Megan’s main research work is to enhance the interoperability of soils data, that is to say making data readable from machine to machine, as well as meaningful to humans. Data comes from both public and private data, including research groups, grower groups and farmers, through the Soil Cooperative Research Centre supported initiative Visualising Australasia’s Soils.
Megan’s passion for environmental science comes from the values that were instilled in her from a young age and they have always drawn her to work in the environmental field.
“After completing my PhD in grassland microbial ecology, I weighed Natural Resource Management and agro-ecology career options and also re-considered the traditional academic postdoctoral path. From this, I knew I wanted to not produce more data, but help others to capture and access data to assist their on ground decision making, monitoring, reporting and management, as well as sharing and progressing innovative research outcomes in agriculture and environment,” Megan said.
Reflecting on her career progression, Megan knows that eResearch is not part of the well trodden path for biologists.
“I’m lucky to have found an area of research where this and my interest in data, information and knowledge transfer across organisations and disciplines intersect. I’ve also found the mentoring, support and encouragement within the eResearch community to be fantastic,” Megan said.
Where to next? For Megan, working on data reusability, particularly interoperability, is where her passion lies.
“When working with partners, you ignite discussions around their data they may not have previously considered such as data ownership and what the data really means. These conversations also happen between organisations, around how they could work together to give the data some common meaning and enhance more efficient knowledge transfer. I want to continue contributing to the work happening in this space,” says Megan.