Open Access Essentials: How You Can Go Open Access with CIAT
By Maya Rajasekharan, Liliana Gil, Maria Virginia Jaramillo, Carlos Saa, Simone Staiger, Megan Zandstra. Open access is becoming one of the key pillars of CIAT’s organizational change efforts and we are living exciting times in information and data management at CIAT promoting the sharing of data as widely and effectively as possible in a way that maximizes and preserves global access. After the issuing of a CIAT Open access policy, all 15 CGIAR centers approved in 2013 a Consortium-wide Open Access and Data Management policy that we now start to implement.
Open access changes profoundly the way we think about and act upon intellectual assets in general and data specifically. In a time where technology advances increase every day our data management capacities, we can envision how “Open Access improves the speed, efficiency and efficacy of research“, as the policy states.
CIAT’s growing strength in data analysis
CIAT started to work on a “Big Data” platform that permits major improvements in the way our scientists collect, analyze, manage, improve, and share the right kind of data for decision-making. Furthermore CIAT is going full potential with applications that have been developed, such as Agtrials (http://agtrials.org/), an information portal developed by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) which provides access to a database on the performance of agricultural technologies at sites across the developing world.
We are looking forward to the hiring of a new information and data manager who will lead and coordinate functions related to internal and external data and Information management at CIAT in collaboration with CGIAR research programs. This person will provide leadership in the implementation of CIAT’s data management strategy and CGIAR’s open-access policy at the center level as well as in the development and implementation of an information management strategy.
CIAT strategy 2014-2020 on Big Data
Our research strengths in diverse areas have given rise to a formidable capacity in CIAT for data collection, processing, management, and analysis, including an ability to integrate different types of data (quantitative, descriptive, and digital) across agricultural disciplines. This capacity is critical for achieving and documenting development impact. New science and technology will give data analysis an even more prominent role in CIAT’s future research. To this end, the Center will create a “big data” platform that permits major improvements in the way our scientists collect, analyze, manage, improve, and share the right kind of data for decision-making. Building on past successes with data sets on genetic resources and the global environment, for example, Center researchers will devise intelligent monitoring systems for the crops we research (focusing on pest and disease dynamics and variety adoption) and create a system to support site-specific crop management, which is responsive to climate, soils, and local socio-economic conditions.
Perspectives on Open Access
In an introductory internal seminar last week: Open Access Essentials: How You Can Go Open Access with CIAT? , several staff members gave an overview of Open Access, and how we need to get prepared to benefit from the opportunities as well as what we need to do to comply with the new policy.
Here are some key messages from the seminar:
Legal perspective: CIAT’s general counsel Maria Virgina Jaramillo reminds us that Open Access falls under the umbrella of the CGIAR Principles on Intellectual Assets. We need to assure that information is technically open but also legally accessible. Scientists need to understand that the ownership of their information product lies with the center, authorship with the scientist.
Practitioner’s perspective: Liliana Gil, who has been working since 2012 in recovering and organizing data, gives the following concrete tips:
- Data management should be handled at project level
- Organize data from the start across a whole project. Agree how the data will be managed and organized within the project team. Plan a logical archiving system before the project and stick to it.
- All project actors are responsible for ensuring research data is described by the appropriate metadata
To make data available depending on the type of data, different repositories can be use:
- For trials data, the suitable repository would be AgTrials. Researchers can use the repository to publish metadata and data or just metadata.
- SISLAC (http://sislac.org/) is the platform being used for publishing metadata from LAC soil’s profile.
- AfSIS (http://africasoils.net/) is the data base used to make available data such as soils spectra, trails and GIS data from African Soils.
- CIAT uses DATAVERSE (http://thedata.org/) as a repository for datasets, information about datasets and the DATAVERSE cataloging information.
Librarian perspective: Megan Zandstra and Carlos Saa highlight that, when it comes to publishing your research, it is possible to check the open access policies of a journal or publisher via the Sherpa/Romeo tool (http://www.sherpa.ac.uk/romeo/). Many high-impact journals will allow post-review manuscripts to be included in institutional repositories, even if they are not officially Open Access journals. CIAT’s digital repository of research is called DSpace (http://ciat-library.ciat.cgiar.org:8080/jspui/).
Many challenges are ahead of us to take advantage of open access.
Together with the new information and data manager we need to make a full diagnosis of each research area to identify the gaps and most urgent needs. We need to form a steering committee to enable inclusive decision making as well as the development of a strategy and an action plan.
Our move towards Dspace and dataverse needs to go full speed: At CIAT we fixed ourselves concrete targets for 2014: One is to increase the number of self-archived articles in the CIAT archive for public use. With some exceptions we should at least try and get 90% of CIAT publications in full text in our archives (when they are published in non-open access journals). Another important target for this year is to make scientific data associated with 50 peer-reviewed publications open access.
We have 5 years to become fully compliant with the policy. For Piers Bocock, the CGIAR Consortium Director of Communications and Knowledge Management, key conditions are: 1) The use of a suitable repository and CGIAR core metadata, 2) Putting in place incentives and plans; 3) Support and encourage researchers and data managers to use suitable repositories and standard metadata; 4) Work with partners to promote and support this work.
The collaboration within the CGIAR communities -Open access and data management working groups- will be of great help to make significant progress over the next months.