What is Governance?

Governance concerns the processes of authority, organisation, responsibility, and accountability that determine the functioning of a system.  Appropriate governance arrangements are necessary for a system of any kind, from a society in general, through to an information system like the Australian National Soil Information System (ANSIS), to function.

What is our vision for ANSIS Governance?

ANSIS proposes to define and implement strong soil information systems governance arrangements and protocols to ensure collaborative participation through agreed processes for improved data management, exchange and use to the benefit of all parties.

What are our arrangements for ANSIS Governance?

To achieve this vision, different phases and governance components are required. 

The initial phase of ANSIS’s governance arrangements concerns governance for the duration of the ANSIS project (two years), and the co-development of desired governance arrangements with ANSIS participants and stakeholders. These project governance arrangements will transition into long term governance arrangements that will support ANSIS and its value proposition into the future.

A successful governance system comprises three different systems: the technical system (the information infrastructure and computational architecture), the information system (the data standards supporting consistent soils data and information), and the social system (the human dimensions, including the governance and business arrangements). This conceptualisation of governance is inspired by previous work on agricultural data cooperatives such as AgReFed, which demonstrated that these elements are essential for the long-term sustainability of an environmental information platform.

For ANSIS, these three systems are interdependent, and the vision for each of them to contribute to the broader ANSIS strategy is described in the figure below.

The initial governance framework provides high level design and guidelines for ANSIS’s governances, combining these three elements as part of a socio-technical arrangement that:

  • Provides a framework for governance of ANSIS for the duration of the project (2021 – 2023)
  • Brings independent partner and key stakeholder organisations together to provide consultative support to guide strategic and technical decisions about soil data sharing through ANSIS
  • Will guide ANSIS partners (e.g., Data Providers) and the broader ANSIS Community through a set of clearly defined roles, responsibilities, policies, and procedures
  • Articulates that collaborative governance of ANSIS after the life of the project will be different to the proposed governance during the project and that transition plan will be needed.