International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) – one of the research institutes under the umbrella of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research CGIAR - enhances food security and improves livelihoods in Africa through research for development.
“e-Research and open access” dual approach undertaken by IITA means that scientific papers and articles from IITA will be fully published online, have unrestricted access, be free for reuse and have acknowledgement, by the general public. e-Research will promote shared approaches to supporting IITA's research-for-development (R4D) which focuses on addressing the development needs of tropical countries.
As its basic policy, IITA pursues publication, full disclosure and open sharing of IITA data, information and knowledge through the release of IITA research findings and products into the public domain. In accordance with this policy, IITA switched to open access and open data on CGSpace (a repository of agricultural research outputs) last year. This virtual space promotes open knowledge and open science and aims to maximize research accessibility, discoverability and impact globally. At the moment, CGSpace already hosts nearly 50,000 documented agricultural research outputs and results produced by the CGIAR centers and their partners.
The idea of the open access and e-research year at IITA, as Martin Mueller (IITA’s e-research Coordinator and Database and Knowledge Manager) said, “was conceived due to the ambitious agenda of the Institute in implementing the overall OA plan, research Data Management Plan, the general e-research plan with its priority issues”.
Other plans in this regard include launch of procedural guidelines in information and data management, SharePoint deployment, risk assessment, setting up an information and data management unit. A set of open access and data management implementation Guidelines (CGIAR Open Access and Data Management Implementation Guidelines)and policy (CGIAR Open Access and Data Management Policy) have also been developed by IITA’s umbrella institution CGIAR.
CGIAR open access guidelines are designed to offer as much flexibility as possible for centers in planning for and preparing their own implementation plans and general approaches to supporting open access and data management. Through its policy, CGIAR recognizes the benefits that accrue to individual researchers and to research programs from wide dissemination, including greater recognition, of scientific, scholarly and critical knowledge. CGIAR considers open access and open data to be an important practical application of this commitment as it enhances the visibility, accessibility and impact of its research and development activities.
“The quality of our science remains the bedrock on which this success is based and a major foundation of the impact of IITA on the lives of the people of Africa. I am sure that your efforts will continue just as strongly in 2016, which is the year of open access and e-research in IITA. I enjoin everybody to support the implementation of open access and e-research initiatives and ensure that the Institute becomes full fully open access-compliant by 2018.”, - said Ylva Hillbur (IITA’s DDG Research).
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