CGIAR – the global research partnership for a food-secure future (www.cgiar.org) – has long been known as a leader in agricultural research for development (AR4D); but not necessarily considered a leader in easy, free, and open access to its research results and data.  But this has changed.  With a process that started in April 2012 with the approval of the “CGIAR Principles on the Management of Intellectual Assets”, which requires that “the [CGIAR] Consortium . . . promptly and broadly disseminate their research results”, and culminated late last month in the unanimous approval of the CGIAR Open Access and Data Management Policy, the CGIAR Consortium is now officially Open Access.

Of course, this is a process that will take some time to fully implement, but many CGIAR Consortium Member Centers are already providing free and open access to research outputs.  For some examples, see:

The new Open Access policy, mandatory across the Consortium following its approval, calls for a timeline that would have all CGIAR Research Programs (CRPs) compliant with the policy within 3 years, and all Centers compliant within 5 years.

CGIAR produces a veritable goldmine of critical research data, information and knowledge, and has decades of research outputs that it could contribute to the AR4D sector.  Our goal is to make that data, information, and knowledge more accessible to the world, to increase the pace of innovation and impact of the research enterprise.  This is, obviously, easier said than done, which is why the implementation process will focus as much on institutional culture change and incentives as it will open, interoperable standards and platforms.  We will work closely with partners, including the new Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN)  initiative (www.godan.info) being spearheaded by DFID and USDA, as well as FAO, a recognized leader in data standards for agricultural research.

To support implementation of the Policy, the CGIAR Consortium is in the process of developing comprehensive Implementation Guidelines.  A first draft version of the Guidelines was posted in October on our website, and a second version will be posted for public consultation in December.

For more information about CGIAR’s Open Access efforts, as well as to track progress, please see www.cgiar.org/open

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