See the recently published report at: http://www.fara-africa.org/media/uploads/File/NSF2/RAILS/Innovative_Farmer_Advisory_Systems.pdf

Entries include projects using ICT solutions or implementing ICT-based activities, institutions/groups providing services using ICTs as well as ICT solutions software providers, both at the national and regional level.   Project Summaries are offered in chapters looking at 1) Voice; 2) Radio; 3) Mobile Phone; and E-learning

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In the context of this workshop GFAR invited us to submit organizational profiles in order to allow GFAR to do some assessment work. Participant organizations were asked to share their needs and priorities with regards to Agricultural Knowledge Sharing, Education and Learning. Concrete suggestions for action were also part of the form.

See the profiles:

 On 30 November 2008, some 35 people joined a side-session of the CGIAR AGM to discuss ‘Opening Access to Agricultural Research – A Triple-A Approach to Make Research Available and Useful.’ Participants were a broad mix, from communications, information management, science, and science management. It followed an earlier presentation with senior CGIAR managers as part of a discussion on international public goods.

 

The starting point was a ‘Triple A’ approach developed in late 2007 by the ICT-KM Program (and since broadened through partnership with CIARD) that focuses on the availability, accessibility and applicability of research outputs.

 

          Availability: assembling and storing outputs so they will be permanently accessible, and describing them in systems so others know, and can find, what has been produced.

          Accessibility: making outputs as easy to find and share and as open as possible, in the sense that others are free to use, reuse, and redistribute them, with appropriate acknowledgement and without restrictive legal, technological or financial barriers.

          Applicability:  research and innovation processes that are open to different sources of knowledge, and outputs that are easy to adapt, transform, apply and re-use.

 

An introductory presentation argued that many research outputs, especially in the form of publications, are generally much less accessible that we would wish – but that promising ‘pathways to accessibility’ do exist and can make a substantial difference along the entire research cycle. There are also promising new avenues through social media that have potential to open up and diversify research communication.

 

Participants formed groups to reflect on these notions and to identify concrete pathways and other solutions to overcome accessibility gaps.

 

Two groups looked particularly at availability and accessibility and one group examining applicability. In general, the Triple A approach was recognized as useful, particularly to help identify different publishing outlets and services where research outputs should be ‘posted.’

 

Both groups called on research institutes and centers to adopt common standards to describe and tag their outputs and when building information and web systems. They want the content of these systems to be easy to exchange and share. Initial efforts in this area by the CIARD initiative were recognized to be a good step forward.

 

One of the groups discussed whose responsibilities these issues should be – of information and communication specialists or of scientists themselves. The result seemed to be consensus that both groups have to be made much more aware of what is possible, with researchers and research managers needing additional capacity building, especially to ensure that they make communication an integral part of project planning, from inception to completion.

 

For the CGIAR, the recent performance monitoring was appreciated as creating an external demand on Centers to collect and list all their peer-reviewed outputs. It was suggested that this should be extended so the Science Council would expect Centers to also deposit a digital copy of all these outputs in a suitable institutional repository. Thus the quality and the accessibility of the outputs would be guaranteed.

 

Reflecting on the whole emphasis on peer reviewed outputs as ‘the’ indicators of science performance, Sheelagh O’Reilly from the Research Into Use Programme argued that publishing outside standard journals should be seen as “not only acceptable but highly appropriate”:

 

The Maputo session was jointly organized by the CGIAR ICT-KM Program, FARA, and DFID’s R4D project led by CABI

 

More:

 

Link to ICT-KM background paper for the Science Council – http://www.sciencecouncil.cgiar.org/fileadmin/user_upload/sciencecouncil/EVENTS/AGM08IPG_WRKSHOP/BallantyneW.ipg4sciencecouncil.pdf

 

Link to AAA concept on ICT-KM – http://ictkm.cgiar.org/archives/ICT-KM%20AAA%20Concept%20Paper.pdf

 

More on this topic from DFID-R4D: http://feeds.feedburner.com/r4dinfocomm

 

 

Research-oriented organizations cannot be satisfied just knowing they have produced high quality science. It is essential that the outputs of research are communicated and put to use, in the village, on the ground, in the lab, or across the negotiating table.
 
On 30 November 2008, the ICT-KM Program of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), the Forum on Agricultural Research for Africa (FARA) and the UK Department for International Development (DFID – through its R4D initiative) will organise a practical briefing session as part of the CGIAR Annual General Meeting in Maputo.

The session starts from the premise that research outputs can – and must – be much more open and accessible. For this:
–         We need to give priority to the ‘accessibility’ as well as to the ‘quality’ of research outputs.
–         We need a better overview of the various research products and the ways and means we can make them accessible.
–         We can use a ‘triple A’ policy and action checklist to maximize both the accessibility of these outputs and the chances that they will be applied and put to use.
–         We need to build communication partnerships with ‘adaptive and delivery’ agents that will take and apply knowledge from research, reinforcing their capacities as required.
 
The session draws on expertise from three partners – the CGIAR ICT-KM Program, FARA, and the DFID/R4D project led by CABI.
 
–         We will demonstrate the ‘accessibility gap’, showing how truly inaccessible some research outputs actually are.
–         We will illustrate ‘paths to accessibility’, showing concrete changes that help to make research outputs more accessible.
–         Participants will take away a checklist of questions and actions to help assess and improve the accessibility of their research.

For more information write to us at ictkm@cgiar.org or visit our site www.ictkm.cgiar.org

The Knowledge Sharing Project of the ICT-KM Program is proud to announce the active participation of the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) in the upcoming Knowledge Sharing Workshop. 15 FARA staff and focal points of the Regional Agricultural Information & Learning System (RAILS) will participate in the event, that will held its face-to-face meeting early May 2008 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. “Our particular interest in this workshop is how to strengthen the RAILS’ team capacity to facilitate knowledge sharing among and within national RAILS network and our main expectations are that key RAILS team are capable of sharing their lessons learnt from this exercise to their fellow network members as well as document their learning appropriately that can facilitate dissemination”, states Myra Wopereis-Pura, the RAILS coordinator. 

The workshop is now fully booked with 40 participants for its on-line phase and around 22 participants for the face-to-face meeting.  We warmly welcome all 21 participants from CGIAR partner organizations, our colleagues from FAO, as well as the 19 CGIAR staff.
 
The Workshop starts with a first on-line phase on March 24.