Rehabilitation of CGIAR Global Public Goods: Information


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Rehabilitation of CGIAR Global Public Goods: Information

  1. 1. Global Public Goods: From Data and Information to Food
  2. 2. Table of Content .......................................................................................................................................3 1. Executive Summary...................................................................................................3 1.1 Background and Context to this Program............................................................4 1.2 Background - The CGIAR ICT-KM Program and the 2004 and 2006 Investment Plans........................................................................................................5 1.3 Global Public Goods – current state of play, weaknesses and opportunities.......5 2. Objectives and Components.......................................................................................7 3. Strategy Components.................................................................................................8 3.1 Identification of Priority Users and Needs ..........................................................8 3.1.1 Background ......................................................................................................8 3.1.2 Objective...........................................................................................................8 3.1.3 Activities ..........................................................................................................9 3.1.4 Outputs and Outcomes......................................................................................9 3.2 Integrated Access to Global Public Goods ........................................................10 3.2.1 Background.....................................................................................................10 3.2.2 Objectives........................................................................................................13 3.2.3 Activities.........................................................................................................13 3.2.4 Outputs and Outcomes ...................................................................................16 3.3 Networking and Capacity Building....................................................................16 3.3.1 Background.....................................................................................................16 3.3.2 Objectives........................................................................................................18 3.3.3 Activities.........................................................................................................19 3.3.4 Outputs and Outcomes....................................................................................20 3.4 Value-Added Products and Services Development...........................................20 3.4.1 Background.....................................................................................................20 3.4.2 Objectives........................................................................................................23 3.4.3 Activities.........................................................................................................23 3.4.4 Outputs and Outcomes ...................................................................................25 2
  3. 3. 1. Executive Summary A CGIAR vision for sharing global public goods and knowledge We see the CGIAR managing and sustaining the critical information systems it holds as Global Public Goods (GPGs), through integrated and collaborative approaches among CGIAR Centers and national, regional and international partners. We envisage a collaborative approach to maximizing the value and use of these GPGs, all in support of more effective action towards solving problems related to agricultural development, reducing poverty and alleviating hunger. A strategy for improving the quality and relevance of and access to CGIAR global public goods Access to accurate and timely information is essential in the global effort to fight hunger and poverty in the developing world. To support these efforts, the Future Harvest Centers have gathered a large amount of data, information and knowledge. Although much of this information exists as public goods held in trust by the CGIAR Centers, it is not well known – largely because it is not organized in a common way. The number and type of databases generated by the various scientific communities has expanded rapidly, but CGIAR partners and global research communities face difficulties accessing these resources. Such information and knowledge is referred to as Global Public Goods (GPGs). They extend from databases and raw scientific information coming out of research carried out by the CGIAR in collaboration with its partners, to spatial and graphic information, published research, gray literature and technical reports, and other information, tools and knowledge products. The strategy described in this document lays out an approach and concept for the CGIAR to provide its ‘information customers’ worldwide with simple but enhanced access to the vast array of scientific data, information and knowledge (generated by its research centers working with their national research partners) in an easy, searchable and flexible way. The strategy will be put into action through specific activities and projects within five components: • A preparatory, intensive study of the needs of priority users • Integrated access to these global public goods • Networking and capacity building to ensure the best possible linkages between CGIAR, NARS and other partners for public goods generation and sharing • Value–added information products and services • Program management, coordination, monitoring and evaluation Through this strategy, the CGIAR Centers commit themselves to working together and with their partners to standardize their information sources further, provide online access to their metadata sources, support the establishment of a CGIAR information gateway that provides universal access to the CGIAR’s Global Public Goods, and work with partners to expand the body and utility of GPGs. Following approval in principle to this strategy by the Alliance Executive, the specific activities and projects needed to bring the strategy to life will be developed through a collaborative process between CGIAR Centers and key external partners. The combined strategy and implementation plan will then be recommended to the Alliance Executive for a resource mobilization effort. 3
  4. 4. 1.1 Background and Context to this Program This ICT-KM GPG strategy has evolved from a CGIAR and World Bank cooperation involving a program of Rehabilitation of Global Public Goods (GPG1) - a $19 million investment to organize the CGIAR genebanks and information systems to make them more accessible. ICT- KM 2 also builds on the work of the ICT-KM 2004 and 2006 Investment Plans. Building on the progress of this GPG1 effort, a second investment was planned in early 2004, involving two complementary activities: • “Upgrading the CGIAR Genetic Resources System: A New Paradigm for the Rehabilitation of Global Public Goods”, focusing on genetic resources rehabilitation. • “CGIAR Global Public Goods: A New Scientific Information Management Paradigm”, focusing on the improvement of access to and integration of the CGIAR’s information-based global public goods on agricultural science. The latter activity covers plants, forests, food policy and households, national agricultural research systems, livestock, water, climate, fish and aquatic resource systems. Because of the strong information and knowledge management aspects, the ICT-KM Program was asked by the CGIAR Center Directors’ Committee to coordinate this information activity. A two-phase consultative process set the foundation for the development of the strategy described in this document. Phase 1, managed by Enrica Porcari, CGIAR CIO, brought together researchers from nine CGIAR Centers and several System-wide CGIAR programs. This “bringing together” produced the “CGIAR Global Public Goods: A New Scientific Information Management Paradigm” concept paper (identified in the above paragraph), which was discussed by the Alliance Executive in May 2004. Center Directors General supported the proposed directions of the concept paper but asked that it be fleshed out further with broader inputs from both within and beyond the CGIAR. Phase Two was a detailed and intense, two-week, facilitated, online consultation organized by the ICT-KM Program in March 2005. Some 200 people participated, representing a spectrum of CGIAR research disciplines, CGIAR management, and information management, ICT, database and marketing experts. External players included representatives from NARS, universities and information and knowledge management specialists. The main purpose of the online consultation was to obtain validation of the objectives and plans contained in the draft concept paper prepared in Phase 1. The results of this online interaction have enriched this strategy development process with a wealth of different perspectives, examples and suggestions on how the CGIAR can maximize the value of its global public goods. Consequently, the strategy presented in this document is one that has been significantly enhanced and refocused. The changes were based on the best way to proceed with: • The integration of information-related global public goods across the CGIAR • The provision of unified access to them • Capacity building and knowledge sharing approaches that will help bring the CGIAR NARS and other partners into a common world of global public goods • Approaches or opportunities for the creation of value-added information The development of the ICT-KM GPG strategy occurred during the implementation of the Program’s first Investment Plan. Further elaboration of the strategy, and action on it, has been on hold pending completion of the projects supported by that investment plan and some additional consolidation activities (see next section). 4
  5. 5. 1.2 Background - The CGIAR ICT-KM Program and the 2004 and 2006 Investment Plans The ICT-KM Program is a catalyst to support the CGIAR’s vision of realignment, moving toward a one-system approach. The ICT-KM Program has a vision: We see a CGIAR without boundaries, an internationally distributed, unified and open knowledge “organization”. CGIAR staff, regardless of their location, will collaborate in science, using high capacity computing and communication. The Global Public Goods that the CGIAR manages will be safeguarded, developed and made accessible for use by all stakeholders. Over the next five years, the ICT-KM Program will be a catalyst in helping the CGIAR: • Transform the way it works, incorporating new ICT and KM practices to preserve, produce, and improve access to the agricultural GPGs needed by the poor in developing countries; • Be a leading knowledge broker, bringing together all actors in an open, inclusive community for the use and creation of Global Public Goods research for development. In 2004, an Investment Plan was elaborated by the ICT-KM Program to respond to this vision. The Plan strengthened communications infrastructure across the CGIAR System, improved tools for using data and information, nurtured scientific communities of practice, provided platforms for collaborative action and information sharing, initiated steps for integrating information systems, and improved the knowledge sharing culture throughout the CGIAR. In 2006 a second Investment Plan, “Consolidating Gains, Planning for the Future”, was developed, with projects implementation commencing in 2007. As the title implies, this Plan is doing two principal things: (1) consolidating and extending the work begun in the first Investment Plan on the CGIAR’s first intranet/extranet (CGXchange, and, more specifically, the CGVLibrary that gives integrated access to the vast majority of CGIAR Centres’ bibliographic databases) and the Knowledge Sharing work, at the institutional and research project levels; and (2) the refinement of the ICT-KM GPG strategy and the development of an Investment Plan to address its objectives. Detailed information on these two Investment Plans and the projects they support can be found on the Program’s website ( The strategy proposed in this document is building directly towards this vision and on the work to date of the ICT-KM Program. More specifically, it is building on the “Content for Development” projects’ integrated, information management work, which is improving access to textual and bibliographic information through the CGIAR’s new CGXchange portal. This strategy, Global Public Goods: From Data and Information to Food, is now moving the focus to opening access to CGIAR research and knowledge. Some preliminary technical capacity building in this area has already begun, with support from the 2004 and 2006 Investment Plans. 1.3 Global Public Goods – current state of play, weaknesses and opportunities As summarized from the various discussions and consultations during 2005, Global Public Goods are defined as data, information, and value-added information and services based on 5
  6. 6. data and information that are: • Searchable and located in repositories (electronic) • Globally available • Open and easily accessible to all • Demonstrably sustainable • Contributing substantially to the CGIAR mission GPGs traditionally share two other important characteristics: they are non-excludable and non-rival. That is to say, everyone can enjoy the benefits, and one person’s use of a GPG does not prevent another from enjoying the same benefits. The CGIAR has recognized that access to GPGs is essential to support agricultural research and development. In recent years, the number and type of databases generated by CGIAR scientific communities in a variety of fields (forestry, livestock, fishery, crops, socio-economics, etc.) has expanded rapidly. Nonetheless, development partners and global research communities (including CGIAR staff themselves) have difficulties accessing these resources in a consolidated manner. Difficulties include: • A lack of awareness of CGIAR GPGs: Potential users within and outside the CGIAR are not familiar with many of the databases available. There is a need for a concerted effort to promote awareness of available GPGs. • The inability to cross-search CGIAR information “islands” at once: There is presently no mechanism through which a user can search all the information resources held by the CGIAR from a single point of entry. CGIAR Center scientists themselves have no simple way of identifying commonalities between their work and that of their colleagues in other Centers. • Inadequacy of data standardization within and between scientific communities: There is presently no commonly agreed set of standards for describing and searching scientific data held in various communities. There are no commonly agreed metadata standards that will allow the simplest cross-search across these information sources. • The duplication of efforts: There is increased risk of duplication of efforts while collecting, analyzing and processing scientific research data. It is becoming less and less uncommon for scientists from the same institution to collect similar types of data from the same locations without realizing the unnecessary duplication of effort. • Some of the information resides on individual scientist’s computers and are not even accessible by scientists within the same Center. • The need to unify individual efforts and increase benefits from cross-sectoral alliances: There is an increased need from individual communities to benefit from scientific databases supported by others. Such cross-boundary alliances are now critical for enriching individual GPGs (e.g. linkages between water management databases and crop production GPGs, and common access to different poverty mapping and land use databases). • A return on investment from CGIAR scientific data resources that is well below its expected potential: As different communities at different locations are collecting similar datasets, there is a huge potential for integrating complementary datasets to form new GPGs, which have greater temporal and spatial coverage. As a concrete example, imagine a researcher or planner working for a national agricultural research system. To retrieve information from the CGIAR about a particular crop, the researcher needs to follow a tedious process to identify all relevant scientific databases and expertise through individual CGIAR websites, manually retrieve individual pieces of information and consolidate them. With the proliferation of potentially useful information, this process becomes increasingly complex, with many valuable information sources remaining undiscovered or not properly used. Publicly available search engines such as Google generate 6
  7. 7. such large lists of potentially relevant information that the user often is overloaded. The discussions during the online consultation highlighted several issues concerning how best to respond to the difficulties identified above. These were in addition to the obvious need to initiate a systematic effort to allow, in effect, the collation of these various dispersed information sources into a consolidated view, and the need for more effective and efficient search facilities. These highlighted issues include: • The need to know what GPGs actually exist at any one time; • The importance of REALLY knowing who the priority users of these GPGs are (or could be) and what their needs are; • The need to recognize that the human element will always be present and necessary (in addition to better access) to these resources in order to maximize their value and use (to truly tap into “knowledge”); • All too often, lip service is paid to partners. But only when partners ARE treated as partners will full benefits be realized. It also was apparent from the discussions that many CGIAR Centers are producing innovative science-based information products and services that target decision makers, policymakers, NGOs and farming communities. This suggests that there are grades of ‘derived’ public goods that can be created by the CGIAR – at the multi-Center, or System level – to drive impact and change. To summarize, there exists a strong need to: • Know what data and information resources exist • Know priority users and their needs • Provide easy unified access to both scientific data and textual information • Provide the option of searching in an integrated fashion, where appropriate, different data and information types • Ensure that data and information managed by partners and CGIAR Centers are more equally accessible • Develop services that add value to the basic data and information The strategy outlined here presents a path to address these needs. 2. Objectives and Components The overall objective of the strategy is to make it easier for CGIAR staff, partners and potential partners to access, use and add value through collaboration to the research and scientific outputs of the CGIAR – and so to have a positive influence on the lives of the poor. To respond to the need to provide more effective and efficient access to the data and information that users most need, thus maximizing the value and use of GPGs, this strategy envisages the development of a series of activities within five components: These components are: • Identification of Priority Users and Needs • Integrated Access to Global Public Goods • Networking and Capacity Building • Provision of Value Added Information Products and Services • Strategy Implementation Mechanism These components are elaborated in the following sections. 7
  8. 8. 3. Strategy Components 3.1 Identification of Priority Users and Needs 3.1.1 Background A recurring theme emerging from the on-line consultation was the need to better identify the primary users of GPGs, both current and potential, and their priority uses. Too often, activities are planned with only a cursory understanding of user needs. While we already know a lot about the users and uses of the CGIAR GPGs (indeed, these were discussed in the online consultation), further understanding is possible, especially with respect to potential users and uses. Increasing our understanding in this area will allow refinement of both the overall strategy and its constituent activities. Market research and focus group consultations with representative key audiences and boundary partners are required for the implementation of the strategy. This research will produce a clarification and confirmation of our boundary partners with whom we have the best opportunity of creating positive change in poverty reduction and rural development. It will also give a clear picture of the types of information products and services that users require the most, and how the CGIAR can add value through its research. The online consultation highlighted those activities carried out in this area that can inform a CGIAR audience analysis. There is an opportunity to build on studies done over the last few years by specific CGIAR units and on the extensive consultations with NARS done by the Global Forum for Agricultural Research (GFAR), with a number of regional organizations.1 User needs – examples from ILRI and IWMI ILRI’s practice of consulting with local communities in developing some information strategies gives other clues to audiences and needs. This has given a clear picture of the best method to deliver information in an appropriate form – e.g. to national policy makers and rural communities. Public goods based on these approaches help partners make more robust decisions, because they are involved in the GPG development process. Similarly, a rapid scan by IWMI of NARS in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, South Africa and Ethiopia – in preparation for the development of the GPG2 draft proposal – has highlighted a more basic need. The NARS lacked an adequate level of support in using and building on their information systems to make optimal use of GPGs. 3.1.2 Objective The objective of this component is to identify key customers for the CGIAR’s information GPGs, and their key needs, from both a content and a usage perspective. This will tell the CGIAR who its current and potential customers are, what types of information they require and how they prefer and are able to access this information. A user study is planned that can generate credible information in a timeframe of three to six months. 1 The Asia Pacific Association of Agricultural Research Institutes (APAARI), Association of Agricultural Research Institutes in Near East and North Africa (AARINENA), Central Asia and Caucasus Association of Agricultural Research Institutions (CACAARI), Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) and Foro Regional de Investigación y Desarollo Tecnológico Agropecuario (FORAGRO) in its GLOBAL.RAIS consultation. Several of this list’s members participated in the consultations. The proceedings of some of these consultations are available from GFAR at 8
  9. 9. The results of this component will be used to refine the process of identifying the key activities that will be pursued in the other components. Consideration will be given to implementing a light, periodic revisiting of users’ needs to ensure that the strategy continues to respond to priority areas. 3.1.3 Activities A user identification and needs assessment study should be carried out promptly. This study should be led by a partnership comprising one Center and one partner organization and should build on the results of the GFAR user study and any other recent user studies carried out by relevant CGIAR partners. Its purpose will be to identify the primary users of CGIAR GPGs, potential key users, the most critical information needs of these respective users (primary and potential), how these users would best like to obtain the information most needed, and the most pressing capacity-development needs of these users. It should also identify potentially key data and information sources that should be part of agricultural research GPGs. The study will be carried out using a combination of online surveys, focus groups and one-to- one communications. It should be completed within three to six months of approval of this strategy. The study will look both outside the CGIAR as well as inside. For instance, within the CGIAR, the breeders know user needs because they receive the germplasm requests. The IT people know who is downloading what from the Center web pages. The librarians know what content is requested from the Center libraries. The publications offices know what Center publications are requested. In addition, we need to build on the Centers' experience in participatory research and monitoring and evaluation. An analysis of relevant CGIAR Web traffic will also help us understand better who is using our Web information and how we can improve it. 3.1.4 Outputs and Outcomes The goal of this set of activities is to produce the following outputs: • A prioritized list of key (current and potential) customers for CGIAR global public goods both within and beyond the CGIAR Centers. • Input and ideas on the types of information products and services most needed and the types of problems they can help solve. • Detailed descriptions on how users need to access information (‘use cases’), which can be used as input in the creation of appropriate interfaces, database structures and presentations of information. • An assessment of capacity development needs of key partners for expanding the scale and use of GPGs. • A better understanding of the horizontal commonalities and thematic associations between the diverse Center- and sector-based information GPGs. • Strategy for keeping abreast of changes in priority users and needs. GFAR user study The findings of the recent GFAR “user needs” consultation hint at the kind of CGIAR public goods that can help NARS improve agricultural and rural development. There is a need to: • Strengthen the capacity of NARS leaders to advocate and articulate appropriate policies and strategies, and attract more resources and greater investment for further development of ICT-enabled National Agricultural Information Systems. • Develop capacity to enable professionals to create, manage and share information to drive agricultural innovation and development. This includes scientific, technology- related information (for research and research management and for extension outreach) and market information. 9
  10. 10. • Increase the integration of national and regional agricultural information systems and provide easier access to them (especially websites) to create an information management and knowledge-sharing network. • Establish appropriate governance structures for global, regional and sub-regional structures of GFAR, AARINENA, APAARI, CACAARI, FARA, ASARECA, CORAF, SADC and FORAGRO. • Promote and support more equitable access, sharing and exchange of agricultural information. 3.2 Integrated Access to Global Public Goods 3.2.1 Background Recent years have seen an explosion in the amount of scientific data and information available. Many of these information resources are Global Public Goods that represent a large investment and a major outcome from work across the CGIAR system. However it is not always easy to discover that these Global Public Goods exist or to find out where they are available. Information may be stored in a variety of different computer-based systems at different centers and in different formats. Because of lack of standardization and an absence of common finding tools, it can be difficult and time-consuming to locate specific information in order to support new research or new conclusions based on previous research. Due to the specific and often complex nature of a specific resource, knowledge about how to use these resources is sometimes required. These difficulties also represent a significant barrier to combining information from different sectors to support cross-sectoral and cross-disciplinary activities that draw on diverse and disparate research results. On the other hand, there are commonalties and potential synergies between many of these public goods that are not currently exploited. For example, relationships between data sets on different commodities or sectors plus relevant social and economic information represent an opportunity to address complex questions relating to agricultural development, natural resource management and poverty alleviation. These synergies may be represented by thematically-related potential interactions or common data elements in different data sources such as shared spatial or temporal elements. For example, natural resource management issues, which are a recognized priority among scientists with the CGIAR, require multi- disciplinary approaches and integrated analyses that involve the integration of multi-sectoral data. While a substantial and wide diversity of information exists among the various Centers, the implementation of holistic approaches and solutions is hampered by the lack of an integrated data infrastructure. There is also a need to ensure that all stakeholders in the development process understand the value of agricultural research. As one discussion participant pointed out, there is a tendency for men and women in the street, particularly in the developed world, to question whether the "people in the white coats" are doing anything worthwhile for them. The general public needs to understand what the research community is doing and they need to see tangible results of the research that they are supporting. There is also tremendous potential to apply those research results in concrete ways, if broader audiences in the developing world (including farmers, extension workers and policy makers) have better access to these research results. Integrated and unified access to CGIAR public goods will alleviate many of these problems and allow the exploitation of potential synergies, improving the quality of research and of development planning. It will give researchers and members of the development community rapid access to a range of complementary data that existed, but was not previously available due to a lack of integration. The on-line consultation confirmed that there is a need to make that data and information more readily accessible and easier to use both for CGIAR 10
  11. 11. researchers and a broader community including NARS researchers and other actors in the agricultural and development communities. The challenge "At present an enormous amount of information is stored in various systems. Pertinent information is stored in varying systems, in various media, employing various technologies. Unfortunately there remain significant amounts of information inaccessible to many partners and to those who need the information the most. Furthermore, tremendous amount of information will be generated in the future and the availability of this information to various partners at the right time and in right format is crucial. The challenge here is to share the existing information, utilizing the existing resources to share information, and making new information available to other partners." - Rajesh Sood The value proposition "All agricultural research from the CG and from other bodies... could be of tremendous value if it was made more generally available and more accessible to people who are not experts or scientists in the agricultural area." - Interview with Dr. Robert Day "Where users can actually navigate from content to content regardless of which of the centers is the source of that content and who authored it, the value of your content as a whole can really grow, almost exponentially. Information architecture can help to create those links and paths, regardless of which center the content comes from. That might be the most critical way in which information architecture can be of benefit to the CGIAR" – Lou Rosenfeld Providing integrated, unified access to these Global Public Goods requires the creation of an information gateway that will provide a starting point for users seeking to find the scientific and research data and information that corresponds to their particular needs. Within the framework of an information gateway, a variety of different services can be presented to help users achieve their particular goals—for example, to discover what GPGs are available, to search across those GPGs to satisfy simple information needs, and to navigate to more specific and sophisticated services for more detailed information and specific kinds of resources. The information gateway provides a platform for users with a broad range of different needs to use these different facilities to explore a large and diverse scientific information space. It will allow users to highlight commonalties between different resources that can be exploited to create new knowledge and to make contact with experts in order to draw on knowledge acquired and developed within a particular community. Expert input to the on-line consultation in designing this strategy has helped focus thinking on how we can best provide integrated and unified access to our public goods. In the original proposal, the need was expressed for a simple search mechanism to search across a range of GPGs. In the on-line discussion, the need for this kind of service was confirmed, but that need was qualified. A simple, cross-domain search was characterized in the discussion as "broad and shallow", appropriate for someone starting to research a topic, looking for an identification of areas that might be fruitful for further exploration or needing only basic information on a particular area. However it was unlikely by itself to meet the diverse needs of the wide range of potential users of such a GPG Gateway service. In particular, researchers with specific interests or specific goals in mind will need richer, more specialized services. These "vertical and deep" services may concentrate on restricted subsets of information, may exploit a richer metadata set and may be based on search protocols and interfaces specific to those particular resources or sectors. The results from Activity 1 – Identification of Priority Users and Their Needs will be used to refine priorities in terms of these specialized services, to ensure that only the most important and useful among them will be implemented within the GPG Gateway to satisfy these more specific and sophisticated research needs. 11
  12. 12. Integrated access "In this day and age, practically all scientists and policy makers are engaged in integration of information as their primary task. Integrated access means: 1. The capacity to discover all information sources and services (e.g. tools) pertinent to the research question or decision at hand 2. The availability of suitable means (protocols, interfaces, tools) to retrieve relevant information from all identified information sources 3. The existence of suitable semantic links between information units that permit integration of the information into a seamless whole, for interpretation and assertion of knowledge" - Richard Bruskiewich The GPG gateway will not be developed in isolation. It will draw on lessons learned in similar activities in specific areas, such as the Global Biodiversity Information Facility. It will build on standards and approaches in the general scientific community (e.g. for Open Access), distributed services being implemented in the CGXchangePortal created under the ICT-KM 2004 and 2006 Investment Plans and work being undertaken by sector-specific standards and implementation groups. It will include and be included in other differently targeted services and facilities: for example, the resource discovery and search services of the GPG gateway can be included as an element in the WAICENT portal of the FAO. By using common standards, protocols and approaches the descriptions of GPGs should be able to be harvested, exposed and used in other gateways and portals, further encouraging the use of those GPGs by diverse communities. This CGIAR GPG gateway does not replace or undermine other platforms and gateways, but complements and builds on them in order to make it dramatically easier for any user to locate the information they require. Most importantly, in order for CGIAR science to be universally accessible, each Center has a responsibility to support the sharing of data, to undertake curatorial tasks necessary to ensure that data produced is preserved and made available and to operate nodes that will feed the central GPG Gateway. Encouraging a culture of sharing and promoting an attitude of stewardship across the CG System has already begun with the ICT-KM Program’s Investment Plans , and this will continue as a primarily focus of Activity 3 of this strategy – Networking and Capacity Building. The Integrated Access activity, however, will provide a concrete opportunity for encouraging and developing this kind of community and the promotion and sustainable support for these activities in all Centers. Global Biodiversity Information Facility "Significant added-value comes through the opportunity for all Global Public Goods (gene and non-genebank) to be accessible in a unified and searchable way, through common standards and platforms, and for new and relevant information products to be defined, created and provided, in partnership with users throughout the world. "GBIF [Global Biodiversity Information Facility] has been developing an architecture to support free international exchange of biodiversity data...GBIF manages central services to make these data more accessible. In particular there is a central public registry of web- service-enabled data resources (using UDDI) which will allow users and tools to discover and access the data, and a central data index which stores some of the core data fields from all records within the network (taxon, locality, date) to support rapid searches. These central services are the basis for GBIF’s prototype Data Portal ( GBIF expects (and will encourage) other organizations to share the same infrastructure to develop their portals and access mechanisms." - Donald Hobern Information integration "We will have to address several issues within the CG System, partners of the CG System and users (not only the NARS) to make CGIAR GPGs available to them. This will include a 12
  13. 13. greater integration of information first within the IARCs, then across IARCs and finally with other systems providing avenues for information and knowledge sharing and exchange." – Ajit Maru 3.2.2 Objectives The objective of this component is to increase the value, usefulness and accessibility of CGIAR GPGs through better integration and harmonization of data resources between disciplines, sector- and commodity-based efforts, Centers, other CGIAR initiatives, and external information resources. A CGIAR Global Public Goods Gateway will be created to enable a wide community of users to discover and exploit Global Public Goods and the data and information that they contain. 3.2.3 Activities Providing unified and integrated access to Global Public Goods requires two complementary activities: the development and adoption of standards to promote information sharing and interoperability; and the creation of services built on those standards that make it possible for users to find the information that they need. Neither of these is a trivial undertaking. The strategy presented here for Integrated Access to GPGs is an ambitious one, the full realization of which could take considerable time and resources, and it is important to bear in mind that it may not be possible to realize all of this vision in a single, limited project. In pursuing this strategy and moving towards this goal, it will be necessary to establish priorities based on what information GPGs and services will have the most impact and benefit, and what is feasible and practical within the constraints of available resources. Refinement of these priorities will be required, as concrete plans are developed to begin the implementation of this long-term strategy and goal. Establishment of a GPG Gateway This activity will set up and implement a GPG Gateway to facilitate access to, and use of, GPGs. Specifically, the activity will create an inventory or catalogue of GPGs and implement the ability to use that catalogue to discover GPGs by browsing or searching resource descriptions, or by searching for common data elements among GPGs. A simple cross- resource search facility will allow a broad simple search, while links to the services of individual GPGs or groups of GPGs will provide richer search services for more specialized and detailed requests. In both cases, users will be able to access directly actual data stored in individual Center nodes through links returned with descriptive metadata where the full data is not returned by the search. Users will be able to customize and personalize the selection of resources and personalize the service by saving preferences and storing searches. Links will also be provided where appropriate to people-based services to assist users in applying or interpreting complex data resources. Some of these different aspects of the GPG Gateway are described in more detail below. Global Public Goods inventory An important preparatory stage, currently in progress, is the creation of a comprehensive catalog of CGIAR Global Public Goods. This is an inventory of GPG collections and databases held by Centers, Challenge Programs and System-wide initiatives. In addition to a general description of the GPG content and a current assessment of their status, data elements of each type of Global Public Goods will be described in a data dictionary to promote identification of commonalties across different types of GPGs. Descriptions will also include technical information about the individual services supported, where GPGs collections or database support specific search and retrieval capabilities. These metadata descriptions will use and extend standards for metadata and for description of services based on standards employed by the FAO, the CGIAR and other communities. 13
  14. 14. Search Services Services will be put in place within the GPG Gateway to search and browse the Global Public Goods inventory in order to discover collections of GPG resources that might be of particular interest and to identify common data elements in different types of GPGs that might provide opportunities for integrating different types of information. This service will also support ongoing standardization work, by facilitating the identification of commonalties and differences across the full range of GPGs. A basic cross-resource search facility will also be provided, to allow users to search using a few basic common access points across the entire range of GPGs, and to return specific data sets related to their search topic. Depending on the priorities of different user communities, more specific search services may be implemented, targeted at specific kinds of GPGs or specific users needs. Human component The GPG Gateway will also provide a platform to promote knowledge networks established under Activity 3 – Networking and Capacity Building described below. GPG users and potential users who are not already familiar with a particular subject area or type of data will find within the GPG Gateway links that will allow them to contact scientists knowledgeable about the use of the GPGs. Users will be able to make contact with those networks of scientists and to benefit from their experience and knowledge in the development and use of those GPGs. In turn, from the contacts made with users of the Gateway, the scientists will gain knowledge from those who are applying their research data about the uses to which the GPGs are being put, creating a virtuous circle that will promote greater sharing and potentially more focused research activity. The human face of information systems "We probably need hybrid information systems - ones in which information access (both metadata, digital objects and learning objects) is tightly coupled with the possibility for access to human beings (both synchronously and asynchronously)." - Jai Haravu Standards development Underlying all of the above activities implementing a GPG Gateway and concurrent with them is the adoption or development of standards for metadata description, descriptive values, and search protocols that enable unified and integrated access. From comments during the on-line discussion, it appears unlikely that a single metadata standard will accommodate all the needs related to very diverse data structures and a diverse community of users. Instead, depending on the needs validated during the user needs assessment activity and the work currently being undertaken in the ICT-KM Investment Plans , a family of compatible standards or a set of implementation agreements will likely be required. The work of the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative serves as an example in this regard, where a very basic core of metadata elements for the description of documents exists at the heart of richer metadata sets used by specific communities. The principle underlying the success of Dublin Core is the ability to transform automatically richer standard descriptions to simpler formats to support cross-domain searching. The standards used in the Integrated Access activity need to build on standards already undertaken for different sub- communities with the CGIAR and partner organizations, including the work undertaken by the FAO, individual communities of practice such as the genetic information community, and work undertaken for the CGXchange Portal. As well as standards describing metadata elements, there is a need for standards to determine the codes, taxonomy terms, vocabularies, terminologies and ontologies to be used to actually describe a particular information resource. It is important to build on work undertaken by the FAO as well as sector-specific communities such as the genetic information 14
  15. 15. community. Given the diversity of needs expressed during the on-line consultation and the existence of well-established vocabularies in certain fields, the ultimate goal would be to establish semantic linkages between several different vocabularies and to create computer- based services that will translate from one set of terms to another. These semantic links will provide the ability to access in a consistent manner a wide variety of information public goods, bridging the differences of terminology and specificity of description across different communities. However, it is recognized that this goal is ambitious and represents a long-term activity involving many stakeholders that may take many years of cumulative effort to achieve. Finally, different protocols for supporting search and retrieval across disparate data sets will need to be agreed on and implemented to support integrated and unified access. These may involve harvesting data for indexing and maintenance at a central site, or in some cases, protocols for distributed searching, depending on the needs expressed and the practicalities of the data involved. All of these standards—for metadata elements, for terminologies and for service protocols-- will need to be agreed upon by a range of different stakeholders to ensure compatibility with other efforts and to promote widespread support and acceptance. Among these stakeholders are subject experts, delegates from partner institutions such as the FAO and NARS institutions and (most importantly) representatives from different sectors or communities already working toward the establishment of sector-specific standards. Standardization is especially important in integrating NARS public goods and NARS actors into a GPG Gateway, since well-designed, stable and widely implemented standards encourage others to invest independently in supporting and contributing to the same information framework. With clearly defined, open and easily accessible standards, it is easy for others to contribute time and effort to making their resources available through part of a global system. It should be noted that as a result of this standardization work, not only will access be dramatically easier through a gateway, but also direct access to data resources within CGIAR Centers and partner institutions will be possible. The challenge of standards "The biggest challenge, obstacle and problem relating to integrated access is the task of defining and agreeing to useful protocols, semantic and software standards, collaboratively, and their systematic application to all potential GPG sources." - Richard Bruskiewich Encouraging the Sharing of Global Public Goods Much CGIAR work and investment goes into the production and analysis of GPGs for publication in professional journals. Scientists make the effort to publish their most valuable and useful data, so it is regrettable when journals restrict access behind copyrights and high subscription costs that many developing-world partners cannot afford. The CGIAR GPG Strategy will encourage publication in outlets that do not prohibit simultaneous free posting of these GPGs by Centers on the internet. Many, but not all journals are becoming sensitized to this issue and the CGIAR should favor those that are. The CGIAR Information Management Professionals could provide advisory bulletins to Centers listing "GPG-friendly" journals. The Communications units could be involved in encouraging scientists to publish in Open Access journals. The Centers collectively could be an influential lobby, on partners' as well as their own behalf, to persuade publishers to allow open access. Arguably, the biggest challenge is to convince researchers to share and document their data. Researchers do not like to see their data being used and interpreted out of context. And they often do not want to share it, because they plan to carry out additional studies with their data and/or plan to use them for further publications. When publishing, researchers clearly put everything into context by describing their materials and methods. In addition, many refereed journals nowadays require authors to provide their raw data when submitting 15
  16. 16. manuscripts. A sensitivity raising activity is required to get across to CG staff the fact that their work is the property of their Centers, that it is a Global Public Good, and that they have a responsibility to make it available freely and widely. 3.2.4 Outputs and Outcomes The outputs of this activity include: • A information gateway available on the Web where users from the CGIAR, NARS and the wider agricultural and development communities can discover what GPGs are available • A browsable and searchable directory of all the GPGs available using a standard metadata format for the description of those resources. • Creation of overall, data element and service metadata descriptions for each GPG, to be used as the basis for cross-domain as well an intra-domain searching across multiple information sources • A standard or family of standards in the areas of metadata, descriptive vocabularies and protocol or service descriptions to support resource discovery, a simple cross- domain search and more specific search services • Links to allow users to go directly to those resources to use their particular features and capabilities and rich specific data models and datasets. • Ontology or terminology-based services to translate search terms used in one domain with search terms used in another (including geospatial references) to facilitate cross-domain searching where the analysis of needs indicates these are required • Links to people-based networks and services to allow personal advice and assistance to users that require these services and to aid in the integration of NARS and other researchers within the information community (the exact nature of these to be determined in Activity 3 Networking and Capacity Building) The outcomes of this activity include: • Enhanced opportunities for CGIAR Center researchers and their partners to benefit from and contribute to a common GPG data resource • Demonstrated transparency and accountability of the CGIAR research investment to donors and other stakeholders • Improved efficiency in CGIAR Center research operations through broader, more effective data sharing and reduction in duplication of effort through better knowledge of existing research data and results • Strengthened capacity of CGIAR Center and NARS researchers by providing ready access to GPG data resources • Increased support for integrated approaches to natural resources management and conservation issues through easier identification and use of complex data sets. • Easier access to information for scientists, researchers and stakeholders in the development community • Wider use of the Global Public Goods produced by the research of IARCS and partner institutions, promoting greater returns on the investment of the CGIAR in agricultural research 3.3 Networking and Capacity Building 3.3.1 Background There is a need to enhance/support/strengthen the creativity of scientists and to devise effective ways for them to express and share what they know. This means a greater focus on interactive/connecting tools for use BY people in addition to accessing tools FOR people. In other words, there needs to be discovery places where people can find (and download) things and also interactive spaces where people can communicate (and upload things). 16
  17. 17. A high-performance information system to satisfy the ICT-KM 2 concept of the CGIAR cannot function without motivated people and collaborative partnerships between them at its foundation. Such relationships have to be developed among people at various levels: within the CGIAR, with national and international agricultural research and development institution partners, and with professional and user communities. This activity will pay special attention to building the human factor of Global Public Goods development. “Survey after survey of “information use” and “use behavior” has shown that information users depend less and less on formal information systems and more on professional peers and mentors in order to reach decisions and take action in their day-to-day and critical work.” - Jai Haravu Compiling an inventory of relevant and useful CGIAR GPGs and designing and agreeing on common approaches to information structures, ontology and metadata can only be achieved through a collaborative process between CGIAR researchers, research program leaders, and CGIAR partners. These partners include the NARS, NGOs, farmer organizations, other development actors and other international agricultural Institutions such as the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Global Forum for Agricultural Research (GFAR) and GFAR’s member organizations (both regional and sub-regional: ROs and SROs). With agribusinesses emerging as important intermediaries in the transfer of technologies to agricultural communities, their representative inclusion in the consultative process for compiling the inventory is also important. Networking and close relationship with the NARS and agricultural communities will take on more importance when it comes to obtaining deeper and more relevant information with which to complement CGIAR datasets, making these GPGs more adaptable and useful locally. For example, the SINGER database will require more information beyond taxonomy and the location of its collection to make its database more useful to professionals and agricultural communities adapting the germplasm accessed through it for local use. All efforts by the CGIAR to share and exchange information, knowledge and skills should embed mechanisms for networking and building linkages and relationships with its partners. These linkages should be at both the individual and the institutional levels. Some of these linkages do exist at the IARCs but need to be strengthened and supported. The mechanisms include (in addition to the more traditional forms such as advocacy, workshops, conferences, seminars and training programs) creating joint directories and yellow pages of CGIAR and partners’ expertise, establishing communities of practices around themes and sub-themes, mentoring weak partners and being mentored by more knowledgeable partners. Recognizing NARS partners as equal players in GPGs development is key to a sustainable, collaborative relationship between the CGIAR and the professional and user communities of CGIAR GPGs. Comments made during the on-line consultation indicate that some NARS feel that the flow of information is largely top-down – from CGIAR Center-to-NARS, and that their contributions are not given due recognition by the CGIAR. The call from these users is to enable the NARS to “belong” with the CGIAR to a community for global agricultural research and development. Achieving this feeling of belonging to ‘one community’ has to be a priority and key performance indicator for this activity. “Use of GPGs is a community-level process that incorporates technological, individual and organizational components. It should operate via partnerships between community leaders and local experts of that particular GPG. The use of GPGs is maximized when these experts (who know something about the intricacies of that GPG), the local leaders and other local partners (NGOs) work together on projects that are goal-oriented and taken up with limited local resources. The local/national collaborators can be social scientists/extension workers, community and economic development professionals, and policy makers.” 17
  18. 18. - Shaik.N.Meera As indicated by the various GFAR and ROs reports, the NARS are very heterogeneous in their capacities to use ICTs to access and use GPGs effectively. In several thematic areas in the discussion, the lack of capacity in some NARS to access larger databases through the Internet and even DVDs has been mentioned. There is a technological barrier between the CGIAR and some NARS. While the CGIAR may not have resources to satisfy all the NARS’s needs for technology to access the GPGs, there needs to be support to selected NARS to have facilities to access the GPGs. Integrated access to CGIAR information resources can assist improved access by the NARS if the nearly 200 research sub-centers of the 15 IARCs and their offices spread around the world are enabled to provide access to CGIAR GPGs. The CGIAR’s ability to build strong learning networks and capacity – enabling it to use GPGs for researchers and development players, together with national agricultural research and rural development institutions and international agencies such as UNESCO and the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) – is a critical factor for the success of a Global Public Goods program for the CGIAR. This is an area where several IARCs, such as IRRI, ICRAF and ICRISAT, have initiatives that will need to be strengthened. Through consultations with its regional members, GFAR has identified in some detail the capacity development needs for information and communications management of the NARS. Regional and sub-regional organizations of GFAR, FAO and several other donor and development organizations are involved in capacity development. The CGIAR can partner in these activities and help build a capacity development network for the NARS and the user communities. Component 3.2 provides easier access to our public goods science. This networking and capacity building activity adds value by bringing communities together to identify synergies that will create partnerships in the area of information and informatics, across professional communities, research sectors and themes. To build the "human factor" into GPG development requires, among other things, that we promote the sharing of tacit knowledge among peers. This cannot be achieved just by training partners in the use of our GPGs, building electronic directories, and creating common information standards in a GPG system. To enable the sharing of tacit knowledge and the creation of knowledge networks, we must engage in activities that build trust among stakeholders. We can contribute to this goal by having a KS component in our research projects: promoting techniques like facilitation and participatory decision making, peer assists, after-action reviews, innovative face-to-face meetings, knowledge fairs, efficient use of on-line communities, and mentoring. All of these methods can help us improve our collaboration and win the trust of our partners, thus contributing to a more interactive process for developing and using GPGs. 3.3.2 Objectives The objective of this activity is to build and strengthen systems that are centered around connecting people and their knowledge, in addition to data and information, through partnerships and networks, both within the CGIAR and with our national, regional and global science and development partners. These connections will increase the quality, breadth, relevance and usefulness of the CGIAR’s and our partners’ Global Public Goods. This activity targets the creation and linking of communities of practice and other information and knowledge sharing mechanisms, with the goal of creating a community of communities working together for global agricultural research and development. It also includes capacity building with national partners, and aims to achieve a strong sense of ownership and an increased commitment, with all 18
  19. 19. partners, to share and exchange information and knowledge as an integral part of the way the CGIAR carries out its research. 3.3.3 Activities Projects/activities to be implemented under this component will be developed in two priority areas: • Networking to promote horizontal integration (cross-Center, cross-CoP and CGIAR- wide) and to enhance links with NARS and other relevant science networks, and thus enhance the use and value of GPGs • Capacity Building for CGIAR researchers and NARS, for on-going and sustainable integrated GPGs. Both parts of this activity are opportunities for ‘360 degree learning’. All projects will include a strong learning component, as well as feedback mechanisms – between COPs, between Centers and between NARS and the CGIAR – to benefit the continual development of GPGs to meet user needs. Promoting integration across Centers and CoPs, with NARs and the broader scientific community The CGIAR System as a whole, with its wide breadth of long-term experience and knowledge, and its local presence in more than two hundred offices and project sites across Africa, Latin America and Asia, is uniquely placed to develop integrated methodologies and holistic approaches to solving problems related to Agricultural Systems and Integrated Natural Resources Management. The CGIAR System is also home to a wealth of Communities of Practice (CoPs) that address various aspects and dimensions across disciplines, commodities and IARCs related to integrated natural resource management and crop improvement. These CoPs and the system as a whole can benefit significantly from greater integration, from an information perspective, with NARS partners and the broader scientific community. Projects will promote integration by: • Establishing a cross-community network of specialists to promote awareness and cooperation, leading to improved horizontal integration of CGIAR information resources and efforts • Conducting focused workshops and other fora to promote cross-Center, CGIAR-wide collaboration for the maintenance, sharing, and integrated analysis of information GPGs. • Developing and implementing pilot projects, or case studies, that promote the useful integration of diverse efforts and allow for a holistic, or Integrated Natural Resources Management (INRM), approach to GPGs, which will address current research questions requiring information from multiple resources. • Fostering a role for the CGIAR as an important player in agricultural research networks through more active marketing of our GPGs. • Introducing KS approaches into research projects involving donors and partners in order to build trust among stakeholders and to promote greater knowledge sharing and collaboration. • Obtaining feedback on the GPGs and their use through these networks in order to improve them and adapt them to different user groups. Capacity-building to promote sustainable public goods CGIAR Centers will need to build the capacity of some researchers to take responsibility for implementing standards and metadata approaches in cooperation with other Centers and partners. The capacity of NARS partners will be enhanced by working with the CGIAR to 19
  20. 20. create and implement these common information standards approaches and metadata activities. The CG must recognize NARS GPG inputs and support, and partner with the NARS in generating GPGs. By doing so this will promote lasting cooperation between the NARS and CGIAR partners. Projects needed in this area will: • Build frameworks and implement services that promote the sharing and exchanging of global public goods within and across NARS and with the CGIAR System, as well as with the international science community. • Build the capacity of some NARS researchers to take responsibility for implementing standards and metadata approaches in cooperation with other Centers and partners. • Build the connectivity capacity of some strategic NARS for enhancing access and use of data. • Develop codes of conduct for data sharing, IP and security with collaborators; 3.3.4 Outputs and Outcomes • A directory and network of experts, including information specialists and thematically- oriented users, established to provide and promote analysis and coordination of integration efforts; • Institutional capacity developed for holistic, integrated approaches to complex, natural resources management and conservation issues; • Partnerships within the CGIAR System that demonstrate the viability, effectiveness and sustainability of this approach; • Important examples of the power of integrated information resources used to demonstrate the value of integrated access to, and query of, information GPGs; • Intellectual Property management tools that support data sharing and data integration are available and used; • Demonstrated and documented transparency and accountability of the CGIAR research investment to donors and other stakeholders; • Improved efficiency in CGIAR Center research operations through effective data sharing; • GPGs increasingly serve the information needs of developing countries; • Greater participation by NARS and ARIs in building GPG databases; • Broader GPG content, which is also of wider relevance; • GPGs embedded into national research and development programs; • Increased awareness of and collaboration between GPGs and other key databases, leading to increased synergies; • Increased capacity of NARS and user communities to share, exchange and use GPGs • Increased number of collaborators with and contributors to each GPG; • Increased use of GPGs. 3.4 Value-Added Products and Services Development 3.4.1 Background In preparing this strategy, an important new perspective emerged from the consultations: the potential for the creation of new kinds of information products and services that add value to the existing public goods. Participants in the consultation proposed a wealth of ideas and examples for new products and services that the CGIAR can offer. These range from techniques which allow communities to test and evaluate public goods proposed by national authorities, and which also help them to propose their local goods for feeding into the national system; to different types of ‘derived’ or summary publications, and specialized databases offering higher-level information to non-scientific users. Such value-added products and services can take many different forms – briefings, summary and synthesis material, implementation and extension material, case studies and best practices for farmers and NGOs, and material for policy makers. They 20
  21. 21. may be searchable electronic information, publications, audio-visual, course material, etc. Toward a CGIAR System-level science synthesis and recommendations The ‘awareness’ part of CGIAR communication follows a System-wide agenda, driven by the Marketing Group. However, there is currently no coordination at the System level. There is also no agenda for a substantive level of communication or presentation of our science to different user audiences. The CGIAR Centers have a number of examples of these value-added products and services. A coordinated effort – at the System level, across Centers from a geographic or thematic perspective – can bring to life a new quality of information that will increase the use of the CGIAR’s science. One approach would be to move toward a number of the derived products or services that represent the System’s interests and focus specifically on increasing the use of the ideas and science of the CGIAR. There are a number of examples of these kinds of services, both inside the CGIAR and with other organizations. Some of the CGIAR examples include: • ILRI’s poverty map and accompanying ‘popular science’ book, which explains the issues and provides easy-to-understand concepts that have been used and quoted by donors and African government officials. • IFPRI’s integrated 20/20 activities, consisting of reports, meetings and media campaigns, have a high visibility on the international development policy agenda. • IWMI’s Water Policy Briefing and targeted web pages on drought prevention and early warning; water use and conservation approaches in Central Asia; and smallholder water and land management solutions for South Asia, all propose recommendations from research, and give solutions to improve livelihoods based on the findings of peer-reviewed research. • Healing Wounds, the CGIAR-wide compilation of examples of the CGIAR’s contribution to rebuilding agricultural systems that were destroyed by conflict or natural disaster. The HarvestPlus project ( improves the micronutrient content of staple crops for better nutrition in developing countries. We have a group of CGIAR scientists working with geographic information to target HarvestPlus varieties in those places where they can do the most good. We can improve our research capacity among the international and national R&D community by building the type of system that the demo illustrates. I have connected to and loaded data from a CIMMYT server and a CIAT server. I wanted to look at areas where maize and beans are grown together and see what trial data exists for these areas, in the hope of finding some potential sites for HarvestPlus varieties. The screen shot shows southern Brazil. This can be done with an unlimited number of web map servers (for example, 15 CGIAR web map servers). A decade ago, we might have created the data ourselves, duplicating effort. More recently, we would call up colleagues on the phone or send email trying to get copies of the data, perhaps sent on CDs or tapes. In the future, our goal is to just connect to the Internet and get working right away. We may have to actually download the data – but the principle is that it’s all there and accessible. We are building this through ICT-KM1, with all the Centers involved. In order to get our maps to work together (and overlay perfectly), we need a STANDARD coordinate system, standard data formats, and standard documentation formats. The demo shows metadata using the Federal Geographic Data Committee standard in XML files. 21
  22. 22. Last week a problem came up where we needed something similar – but not spatial data. We were looking for information on phosphorous content in soils and the soil taxonomy. If we could build a data set that links phosphorous measurements with the soil taxonomy, we might be able to estimate phosphorous in places where we only know the soil taxonomy. I know that lots of the CGIAR crop trials data, which are held in crop-specific trial databases, has the information I need. But I do not how to get it. Quotes from Glen Hyman talking about the use of GIS in the HarvestPlus project. The common element across these value-added services is that they build on the science and CGIAR’s basic public goods. Some value-added products may be created for the purpose of pointing to the science and increasing the use and relevance of our databases. Others will synthesize key information or points for action for new audiences (educators, implementers, decision makers) who will not connect with the core public goods and data. The science, research and technology transfer information services programs of the European Union offer other examples of these kind of scientific and technical global public goods – created for the purpose of driving the creation of partnerships and the uptake and impact of science (rather than general awareness). Thousands of scientific summaries, contacts, references to technologies and methods available for licensing are available at the click of a mouse through the Europa website. Services include: CORDIS, Innovation, Brite/Euram, European Regional Cooperation, and INTAS – in cooperation with the NIS. The following text is excerpts of a summary of statements by Bob Day, interim coordinator of SAKKS, a forward-looking knowledge management initiative of USAID, now working with the CGIAR. The Strategic Analysis and Knowledge Support System (SAKSS) regional nodes will work with national bodies responsible for the collection and storage of data, assist them in their tasks, and attempt to integrate this data into regional planning and assessment tools. In his presentation, he explains how his team uses various types of practical and visual information and knowledge sharing practices to make data relevant to critical, non-expert audiences. This connection opens a new dialogue and ‘feedback loop’ that drives innovation and brings people who were at the fringes of a discussion to the fore. Bob gives a series of lively examples of how knowledge management is more than building a database or indexing data. For him, it’s all about creating environments to share and discuss. Shared working environments combined with new types of practical information create opportunities for knowledge to flow between new groups of people. One example is ILRI’s Poverty Mapping project, where researchers created an attractive generalist publication with interesting maps and visual information. This information attracted the attention of policymakers that would not have otherwise accessed the data or read technical papers. He also expresses concern with the lack of systems and processes to manage and provide access to information that lies beneath the published research. There is a rich layer of information that people want and can benefit from sitting in filing cabinets, on personal hard drives and technical reports and grey literature. How can we organize and provide access to this wealth of information? He discusses the need for an open, data sharing meta -layer, where people can feed their data into systems so others can add insights. 22
  23. 23. 3.4.2 Objectives The objective of this component is to increase the value and ultimate use of GPGs through the coordinated, System-wide creation and provision of innovative, high- impact value-added services. 3.4.3 Activities Activities addressing this component will be refined and informed with inputs from the user study proposed in Section 3.1. Coordinated activities designed for the creation of value-added information products and services from CGIAR Centers and NARs partners could include: • Centers’ research management, impact assessment and marketing people working together to define information products that can improve the impact and uptake of their research. A priority will be given to cross-sectoral, cross-regional activities that are sustainable and bring together two or more CGIAR Centers and NARS partners. • Creation of CGIAR System or theme-level information products and services designed to inform and influence boundary partners to take action. • Creation of information products and services that synthesize and combine information from across thematic areas or regional priorities, involving several Centers and national partners, e.g. through using GIS technologies. • Joint CGIAR/NARS information products and services designed to provide information to support the NARS rural development agenda. • Innovative information activities or campaigns that encourage change in practices, scaling up of technologies and ideas. • Strengthening of information intermediaries to leverage and transform GPGs for other audiences (such as extension workers [in the case of farmers] or journalists [in the case of taxpayers and decisions makers in developed countries] • Identification and sharing of lessons learned through analysis of selected value-added products: the way they were created, the networks that were involved, their impact, and the actions needed to promote and increase their use. • There is a large number of software tools developed by the CG Centers which could be made available to the NARS on-line and which could provide a very important pathway to them to manage and analyze their data. How do we prepare the knowledge we want to share in such a way that a Masai tribeswoman would recognize it as something useful? Then, how do we converge the literacy levels of the CGIAR or our scientific partners with that of the Masai, so that we can communicate on topics of mutual interest? As an example, here’s how the solar power sector helps bridge this technical-community gap. It uses custom comic books with very few words. Alternatively, more than one hour of multimedia can be stored on a solid state memory card/stick and presented to a village on a small handheld device. - Jock Gill A community-centered approach to GPG creation Experiences from participatory research suggest that important and globally-relevant public goods can be developed in people-centered processes such as local adaptive research, agro- enterprise development, community-based management of natural resources, etc. A range of practical, farmer-focused GPGs include methods for characterizing information networks in communities and approaches for enhancing them. This involves the use of knowledge-sharing techniques from R&D organizations; strengthening local organizations using ICTs in community telecenters; and strengthening information intermediaries in rural 23
  24. 24. areas. This practice is being used by many development agencies. The experience of CIAT's InforCom Project suggests the agencies are quite keen to have international centers as partners. See Http:// - Simone Staiger Which GPGs are most useful? Ask communities what they need and what GPGs they already have. Some NGOs bridge the communication gap between technical staff using translators or moderators, who come from the local community but also have an international perspective. They consult with the community to find out what GPGs they want (and what the community can offer to the world), and do the same with the international crowd. Then they make ends meet. This model was used in village telecenters in India, and is the same as the one that helped save lives during the tsunami in Pondicherry. Fisher folk didn't have to learn how to use a computer database. They said they wanted information about sea conditions and other things such as government aid programs. A moderator, supported by MS Swaminathan Foundation, was the intermediary for a system set up to download NASA satellite data on wave conditions in the Bay of Bengal. The recommendations were then written on a chalkboard outside the office and broadcasted via bullhorns mounted on the beach each morning. For more details on this work see - Mark Winslow Mixing GPGs with NARS data to solve a global health problem ICARDA uses GPGs to target new varieties of grasspea for populations in need. Lathyrism is a debilitating disease caused by eating habits related to the Lathyrus Sativus grasspea variety. Eaten in small quantities, this hardy grasspea is safe, but if a person subsists on it for an extended period, paralysis of the legs can occur. ICARDA had announced to the world that it had solved lathyrism by developing non-toxic grasspea varieties. This generated a wave of good feeling, but the varieties had not yet reached the poor people who survive on grasspea during famines. What could be done? Data on the distribution of grasspea was available from the ICARDA genetic resources database. These were then supplemented by literary sources. Reports from previous epidemics were analyzed and both information streams presented on a map. ICARDA presented the map to FEWS-net, World Food Programme, and national agencies in Ethiopia in order to brief these players of the problem of lathyrism in areas where famine and grasspea cultivation overlapped. Of tremendous help was a data set from the Ethiopian Biodiversity Institute. The detailed data was mapped for Ethiopia and Eritrea. Armed with this information the 24
  25. 25. World Food Programme is aware of the problem, and can target some of their food aid to grasspea producing areas. - Dirk Enneking 3.4.4 Outputs and Outcomes The following outputs and outcomes can be expected from this activity: • Coordinated plan exists for maximizing the value and use of GPGs, thus further unifying CGIAR Centers and partners • GPGs are in effect transformed from data/information to food • Connections between CGIAR science and research and the poor are better understood and demonstrable • Users get the data and information they need at the right time and in the right format 4. Next Steps An underlying goal of this strategy is to support the integration and change processes in the CGIAR, to help it work more as one unified system. The strategy presented here is tackling very complex issues and has the potential to be very extensive in scope, especially with its intent to seriously include a broad variety of partners. Accordingly, authorization and funding is being sought for carrying out the set of user studies and for the development of a full program proposal, including a business plan with the most effective and efficient management model elaborated to respond to the Program developed. 25