Forum on Open Data, Open Science and Open Access to Agricultural Information, Accra, Ghana

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The final of three Open Data and Open Science Forums in Africa is set to take place July 11 2016, followed by the last in a series of training workshops, July 12-13


Organized by FAO in conjunction with several partners, this Forum is an opportunity to draw together senior level researchers and officers from a mixture of institutions in Ghana to talk about some of the challenges to open access to agricultural information in Ghana and Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).

Timely access to agricultural research holds great potential in tackling food insecurity and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to ending poverty and hunger, particularly in SSA where institutional and national challenges mean that research often isn’t visible or accessible.

In Ghana agriculture provides over 90% of the country’s food needs and employs over 50% of the population. But many farmers don’t have access to agricultural information, or to the Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) that provide it. Accelerating progress in agriculture depends to some extent on concerted effort by all stakeholders, and a handful of prerequisites to open data and open science.

As well as better access to ICTs, these include: creating an enabling environment that supports open data and open science in agriculture; scientists and researchers being willing to share knowledge on open platforms, and farmers and rural populations empowered to adopt new technologies and innovations.

Through capacity development and support FAO has long worked alongside the Ghana Agricultural Information Network (GAINS) to enhance access to agricultural information in Ghana. FAO and GAINS proposed the Forum as part of FAO’s relationship with GAINS and its member institutions, as well as its current work with several partners, including Research4Life, Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) and Open Agriculture Knowledge for Development (CIARD).  

 The event is targeted at senior level officers, with around 60 participants attending from a mixture of agriculture-related institutions – government ministries, academia, private sector organizations, farmer organizations and NGOs from Ghana and the sub region.  Around 50 participants – researchers, lecturers, post‐graduate students in food, agriculture and rural development, and selected library and information professionals will attend the two-day training workshop that follows the forum.

Approach

The chief aim of the forum is to act as a dialogue platform for stakeholders to share knowledge on institutional and national initiatives in Ghana aimed at enhancing the visibility, access and use of agricultural data and science.Taking place over half a day the Forum will be split into two 45-minute expert and senior policy panel sessions with follow-up Q&As in Plenary .

Part II of the Ghana Forum (12-13 July 2016) is a two-day training workshop with a core focus on accessing online, peer-reviewed literature through the Access to Global Online Research in Agriculture (AGORA) and the International System for Agricultural Science and Technology (AGRIS). The workshops also provides an overview of intellectual property and copyright challenges, and existing tools for accessing information to agricultural research, including Google Scholar, Google Books, Aquatic Commons, PubAg, and TEEAL.

Specific objectives

  • Raise awareness of the main global trends in scientific publishing in agriculture focusing on open data and open science strategies
  • Share knowledge and discuss national trends on enhancing access to agriculture data and science;
  • Discuss strategies to advocate for open data and open science in agriculture
  • Discuss potential mechanisms for enhanced knowledge sharing initiatives in agriculture in SSA.
  • Enhance capacities of researchers, lecturers and post‐graduate students in agriculture and rural development on accessing online, peer‐reviewed literature in agriculture and related sciences through AGORA and AGRIS.

Expected outcomes

A common understanding of:

  • The role and potential contributions of open data, open science and open access to food and nutrition security
  • Current trends in open data and open science and the challenges that Ghana faces
  • Institutional and national policy implications and strategies for open data and open science
  • Enhanced mechanisms for sharing knowledge on open data and open science initiatives, technologies and standards
  • Enhanced skills to access and use online resources on AGRIS and AGORA.

Organizers


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The following organizations are working together to organize the forum:

  • Institute for Scientific and Technological Information (INSTI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)
  • Association of African Universities (AAU)
  • Information Training and Outreach Centre for Africa (ITOCA)
  • College of Basic and Applied Sciences (CBAS) of the University of Ghana (UG)
  • Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
  • Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN)
  • Research4Life
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