Knowledge and Learning

Featured items

Opening CTA

How we are supporting open access

October 26, 2016

At CTA we have been working for a number of years on how to make agricultural information available, accessible and applicable. We have been involved in providing guidance through initiatives such as CIARD on how to provide unrestricted access to scholarly and scientific research outputs online through two broad avenues: Open Access (OA) Self-Archiving; and Open Access Publishing, referred to as Green OA and Gold OA, respectively. We are currently hosting the CIARD site and supporting the update of the good practices in online publishing through the CIARD pathways.

How we are supporting open data

CTA has also been a core partner of the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) initiative, supporting the participation of African Caribbean and Pacific partners in the network. We have published a number of documents with inputs from the GODAN secretariat.

What CTA is doing to ensure open access to its own outputs

CTA is following the principles of both of these networks for its own work and is currently considering the following ‘triple A’ approach.


Publications catalogue – we are developing our catalogue to make it easier to find and download open access documents and to see how to access those that are not open access to all.
• Licensing – we are working to make more materials fully open access and to make the licensing clearer by the use of Creative Commons licensing to show how the materials can be used. While most of the content is open access there are restrictions on the use of many images which we have purchased from others and so have their own licences.
Repository – We have transferred our archive and also our publications to a shared repository to encourage more use of these materials and are looking to develop this in the future. This allows open access to the materials and the metadata describing them. This repository – CGSpace run by the CGIAR centres – brings our materials into other documentation systems and to a broad research audience working in and for our target countries.
Co-publication agreements – We are negotiating agreements with publishers which mean that where initially the texts are not open access (to allow a commercial return for the publisher initially) the texts are made fully open within 2 years.


• Search engine optimisation – Being able to ensure that our materials are found is a key component that we recognised in open access through working with the CIARD project. We are currently redesigning our website which will ensure that our documentation and articles are more easily found.
• We also ensure that our outputs are posted to the most active platforms and so materials such as presentations, photos and videos are posted to our accounts on Slideshare, Flickr, and Youtube and Vimeo, respectively. Here we also need to look at licensing.

ICT Update Issue 82 SPANISH web 1


• To ensure materials are used, we are making more efforts to ensure their relevance to the target audiences. We are developing bespoke communication plans for each of our projects that identify the audiences and plan products to change their behaviour. This leads to reuse of materials in different ways and benefits greatly from open access licensing. This allows not only us to use the materials but our partners to modify and reach end beneficiaries.
• We continue to encourage translation for audiences using other languages. For example, the most recent example issue of ICTUpdate, on drones, has been translated and produced by other organisations in Spanish and Kiswahili, and other languages are in process.
• Learning materials produced under the Information Management Resource Kit (IMARK) in collaboration with 13 other international organisations are available for free as e-learning modules through the FAO e-learning Centre. CTA has also taken the lead in developing materials for face-to-face training on knowledge management.

Open data

• We are working to open more of our own project and evaluation data through the new website
• We continue to build capacity and encourage more publishing of open data by our partners through the continuing support of the GODAN initiative.

Looking to the future

By this time next year, we hope we will have a fully revised open access policy which removes the final barriers to making our outputs truly open access and freely available to support our mission to advance food security, resilience and inclusive economic growth in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific through innovations in sustainable agriculture.

Find out more

Stay connected

Follow @CTAflash, and  on Twitter for regular updates.