Improving agricultural publishing capabilities in ACP countries
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CTA. 1991. Improving agricultural publishing capabilities in ACP countries. Spore 36. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/45631
A great deal of valuable research is carried out in National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS) in developing countries, but too little reaches the people who can use it, such as other scientists who need to build on advances and innovations,...
A great deal of valuable research is carried out in National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS) in developing countries, but too little reaches the people who can use it, such as other scientists who need to build on advances and innovations, extension and development workers who need to turn this knowledge into practical approaches for farmers, and the farmers themselves who need the knowledge in order to increase agricultural production. When research results are unpublished or published badly, the research is wasted. Scientific publishing in ACP countries is poorly developed. There are very few well managed journals locally in which research scientists can publish their findings and there are even fewer publishers willing or able to publish books on original research Lack of trained manpower is among the major causes of this lag in publishing and book development. Many editors and other publications personnel are thrust into the jobs without any training. Research scientists themselves are not prepared for publishing their results. In agricultural colleges and universities, communication skills are overlooked while emphasis is placed on science. There are no formal institutional courses or short-term group training in the art of scientific writing or the production of agricultural technology transfer materials. CTA is committed to helping ACP countries improve their publishing capabilities through several activities including the following training programmes. TRAINING EDITORS In 1989, in collaboration with the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), CTA sponsored a 1 0-day editing and publication workshop, in Ibadan, Nigeria. (See Spore 23 page 9). It became clear at this workshop that the need for this kind of training in ACP countries is great. A similar workshop is being organized for francophone editors, again in collaboration with IITA. It will be held in Cotonou, Benin, from 3-15 March 1992. These courses are meant to provide an introduction to all aspects of editing and publications management, for agricultural editors, information officers and journalists. The curriculum covers several topics including: good communications, the role of the editor, the editorial, production and printing processes and publication management. The courses include practical assignments and demonstrations of the latest technologies in publishing. Similar courses will be organized in the future in other regions. GETTING PUBLISHED In November 1990, CTA participated in the planning of a project designed to improve publishing capabilities for agricultural scientists in Africa. The project also aims at bridging the communication gap between researchers and the farmers through strengthening the capability of NARS in the production of technology transfer materials. This is a collaborative project between the African Association of Science Editors (MSE), the West African Rice Development Association (WARDA), and the OAU Semi Arid Food Grain Research and Development (SAFGRAD). This project is meant to cover a period of 3 years with at least 2 sets of training courses each year. The first of these courses took place in Lome, Togo, from 18-30 November 1991. The objective of the course is to reinforce the ability of agricultural scientists to publish results of their research by improving their knowledge and skills in scientific communication. It is also intended to give the trainees an insight into the world of journal publishing in order to reduce the risks of having their papers rejected for reasons of style and presentation. A course on writing and production of agricultural extension material is planned for 1992. CTA's support for strengthening publishing capabilities is not limited to Africa. In the Caribbean and Pacific regions, CTA Regional Branch Officers have, and continue to organize, courses on editing and publication, technical writing and report writing. USEFUL PUBLICATIONS Editing and publication: a training manual by lan Montagnes. Published by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), 1991. This is an invaluable tool, not only for trainers of editors, but for the editors themselves, publication officers, as well as authors, particularly 'at research institutes and extension agencies in the Third World.' The manual was developed during a 3-year editing and publication project co-sponsored by IRRI and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) in collaboration with the University of Toronto Press. This manual can be used by other organizations to run their own training programmes and it is a useful reference for individual editors and authors. The contents are organized in 11 modules divided into 86 units following the logic of a book. However, in training, individual units can be selected and adapted. 'This is meant to be a fluid resource rather than a crystallized textbook. ' Editing and publication: a handbook for trainers. This handbook has been written as a companion to the training manual. It is based on the teaching experience the author gained during the courses that led to the preparation of the training manual. In it, other trainers will find advice and sample materials; exercises, assignments and schedules.