Information policy within agricultural research institutions
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CTA. 1997. Information policy within agricultural research institutions. Spore 68. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/48696
Representatives of African, European and international agricultural research institutions met in Bamako, Mali, in September 1996 for a workshop on the theme of information policies within agricultural research institutions in West and Central Africa
Representatives of African, European and international agricultural research institutions met in Bamako, Mali, in September 1996 for a workshop on the theme of information policies within agricultural research institutions in West and Central Africa. The workshop was organized by CTA in collaboration with the Institut d'Economie Rurale (IER), the Conference des responsables de recherche agronomique africains (CORAF) and the Institut du Sahel (INSAH). The meeting was concerned with the role of information in institutional development and the means through which better use can be made of research results. Concerning the role of information in institutional development, participants stressed the need to establish, in each research institution, an information system which takes account of the scientists needs and skills, the needs of the research programmes and their level of financial support. The institutional framework in which they operate, including their partners and the availability of new technology was also considered. It is the National Agricultural Research Systems which should be providing the lead in defining and following national agricultural information policies. Logically, agricultural research institutions should therefore establish a strategic development plan, which has as one component the management of information. There should be indicators which would allow the effectiveness of the proposed information system to be assessed at the institutional level. Participants stressed the need for a human resources management policy that offered a career structure for scientists, as well as transparent procedures for evaluating scientific work within a sub-regional framework. This would improve scientific productivity. In order to improve scientific communication, it would be useful to have an inventory of existing support systems with a view to setting up new systems, as necessary. Concerning the promotion and adoption of agricultural technologies resulting from scientific research, participants emphasised that it is imperative to take account of social needs in order to make such technology relevant. Finally, expertise, which is declining in the fields of training and advisory services, is considered to be one of the most important assets at the disposal of national research institutions. It would seem therefore, that high priority should be given to establishing a regional information system in order to make effective use of scientific potential in West and Central Africa. National institutions should be involved in setting up and maintaining the system, which should be fully operational in time for the plenary meeting of CORAF in March 1998.