New CGIAR; new commitment to Open Access?

Now is the time to act!  Now is the time to get serious about Open Access!

That was the message from the 7th July 2010 Bioversity & CAS-IP organised workshop on Open Access.  A workspace was set up by ICT-KM as a store for all the presentations and documentation of the meeting.  Access is, of course, open.

The timing is perfect.  If the new CGIAR can embrace Open Access as a policy we can start to get somewhere.  From discussions during the workshop I see OA in the CGIAR as essentially a two-pronged attack; from the top and from the bottom.  If the Consortium can set the stage to commit to OA from the top then we can rely on having:

1)     A mandate
2)     A reward structure in place (performance indicators)
3)     Resources for the infrastructure and maintenance

These are all required to go forward.  There are examples our there in the life sciences to draw lessons from.  Maria Garruccio at Bioversity talked about some of these examples during the meeting.

It is also our turn to get serious too; from the bottom up!  We need to keep addressing, and responding to the more nitty-gritty reasons why people are reluctant to share (see the Nature item referenced below), community by community if necessary.  A consistent effort is going to be required to steward the process and to continually build trust and value along the way.  It is not I believe, enough to just require OA if we are going to do open access well.  We will also need to keep addressing some of the specifics that hinder effective OA even if they are not immediately thought of in this context.  By this I am referring to issues such as:

–         privacy issues
–         handling of traditional knowledge (see TK guidelines)
–         PIC (prior informed consent)
–         attribution

And I am sure other units have their own lists of issues.  It might start slowly, but there is a real opportunity to create a new commons out there in the Ag field.  Let’s start moving!  Plans are already underway for a CG wide workshop on Open Access in November, to be hosted by ICRISAT. More info TBA.


More info:

–         Interesting article in Nature “When blogs make sense” about differing approaches to data sharing by two scientific communities.

–         ICT-KM blog post about the meeting

(Thanks to Victoria Henson-Apollonio for sending the Nature link)

3 responses to “New CGIAR; new commitment to Open Access?

  1. Thanks very much Kay. You say “Now is the time to get serious about Open Access!” I think CGIAR has lost some valuable time by not adopting system wide open access. Physicists adopted OA nearly two days ago thanks to the SLAC and CERN preprint servers and Paul Ginsparg’s arXiv. But better late than never.
    The success of OA in CGIAR, I believe rests more on the bottom up approach than the top down. From what little I have come to know in the past few weeks, the top seems to be favourable to the idea of openness to publicly funded research.

    By the way, was the July 7 event which Alam Swan addressed attended by participants from all CGIAR centres?

  2. There was an error in my previous post. I meant two decades, but I typed ‘two days’! Sorry about it folks.

  3. Pingback: New CGIAR Leadership to Push Open Access? «

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