This week, I was asked by ICRISAT to share some experiences on ‘Open access repositories: Sharing research to the global community’ at a workshop as part of a ‘Capacity Development Program on Appropriate Technologies and Innovative Approaches for Agriculture Knowledge Sharing.’
My main points:
- open access has been on the CGIAR agenda for several years; it has additional impetus today through a high level policy commitment.
- open access is not a research ‘add on’; it needs to be part of, and draw on, wider efforts to make research and science processes, platforms and engagement more open.
- while much open access typically focuses on journal articles and similar products, research organizations produce many types of products that can be made open access (posters, presentations, video, photos and images ..). Open licensing and publishing of all of an institute’s own products is a massive positive step often overlooked in the focus on articles published by third parties.
- simple data on views of our various web services and platforms shows a massive increase in all views in recent years, especially views of content that we want to make more open. This doesn’t tell us much about impact but suggests that more content being open leads to more views. Research needed!
- one of the tougher institutional issues is around metrics. We can use the journal ‘impact factors‘ to tell us something about the use of articles in academic journals; but we don’t have any similar factor to measure the impacts of other types of products; and we certainly have some challenges to show that choosing open helps lead to some of the development outcomes that CGIAR centers seek.
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In the coming few months, ILRI, like other CGIAR centers, will produce an open access and research data management plan setting out how it will implement the CGIAR policy. We ahve much to build on; much to still put in place.