As you develop your advocacy approach, you will need to bring together evidence and experience from other contexts to support and improve the impact of your own argument.

Use some quotations from key people

Lack of access to knowledge is a major bottleneck for many poor countries to develop their agricultural sector and ensure food security”…” knowledge is only valuable to the extent that those who need it can access it"…"Knowledge is a public good. By putting this public good at the reach of those in the poorer countries, we are helping to break an important barrier that hinders development".  FAO Director-General, José Graziano da Silva. 16/9/2013.

World Bank Announces Policy for Research and Knowledge:

"Knowledge is power,” World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick said. “Making our knowledge widely and readily available will empower others to come up with solutions to the world’s toughest problems. Our new Open Access policy is the natural evolution for a World Bank that is opening up more and more." [WB Press release 10/04/2012]

"Even the most groundbreaking research is of no use to anyone if it sits on a shelf gathering dust“. United Kingdom DFID Secretary (26/07/12)

Professor Monty Jones, former Executive Director, FARA and Chairman GFAR:

"FARA and the CIARD partners have made a collective commitment to improve access to data and information and ensure that it is used to the best effect, where it really counts - among the poor, particularly the rural poor"

Independent Review of the CGIAR:

"... suggests that CGIAR Centers should make their research available and useful for development as well as for international science. The CGIAR can achieve development impacts where they matter only by being part of an international public goods delivery system."

Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission for the Digital Agenda:

"Scientific information has the power to transform our lives for the better - it is too valuable to be locked away. In addition, every EU citizen has the right to access and benefit from knowledge produced using public funds." [EC Press release (Brussels, 2 December 2010)]

European Union "Open AIRE" website:

"Access to knowledge, information, and data is essential in higher education and research; and more generally, for sustained progress in society. Improved access is the basis for the transfer of knowledge (teaching), knowledge generation (research), and knowledge valorisation (civil society)."

Evidence and Case studies

The evidence needs to show experiences from other organizations that will support the arguments around the Benefits/Incentives/Barriers. It is particularly important to provide examples that provide some tangible indicators of achievement and output:

  1. Accessibility - presence on the web
  2. Policies - approved and adopted
  3. Reach - number of website visits/views
  4. Uptake - number of downloads of documents etc.

CIARD Case studies: In 2011/12, a range of organizations at the national level documented their experiences in developing information systems and organizational networks in the form of case studies. Lessons drawn from these case studies can provide a collection of evidence and a set of learning resources for other organizations. The following case studies are available:

  • Brazil: Empresa Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária (EMBRAPA)
  • Ghana Institute for Scientific and Technical Information (INSTI) & the Ghana Agricultural Information Network System (GAINS)
  • Jordan: National Centre for Agricultural Research and Extension
  • Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) and the Kenya Agricultural Information Network
  • Oman: Ministry of Agricultural and Fisheries
  • Thailand: An Agricultural Knowledge Repository 

European Union Open AIRE Initiative : The EU is currently concerned with making sure that research from the EU and EU funding is available and accessible. It considers it very important that there be full and open access to scientific papers by other researchers, practitioners and even the general public. OpenAIRE aims to support the implementation of Open Access in Europe. It provides the means to promote and realize the widespread adoption of the Open Access Policy, as set out by the European Research Council Scientific Council Guidelines for Open Access and the Open Access pilot launched by the European Commission.

Examples from the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR)Open Repositories: CGIAR Centers found that the titles and citations of articles and publications produced from their research could be easily found in Centers' library catalogues, publications catalogues and even Center websites. However the full text of most outputs was hardly accessible from popular search tools such as Google, international databases and open online repositories. This meant that key target audiences in policy, science, extension etc could not find or access the material. So, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) adopted open source DSpace tool to create an online open repository system called 'Mahider' which contains a range of outputs and links in the form of journal articles, grey literature, presentations, photos, videos and more.

'Social media': CGIAR Centers have adopted these to communicate their research products. IFPRI's launched the 'World Hunger Blog', and which had reached a total of about 6,000 visitors per month in around a year. IFPRI's RSS feed has become one of its most frequently viewed pages, with monthly "hits" increasing by more than 300 percent since January 2006. This gives visibility to hunger as a development issue, but also to IFPRI itself as a key resource centre on this topic.

A scientist at CIAT in Colombia posted a presentation on the SlideShare site. Over 5,000 people viewed the presentation, and she received comments on the presentation on SlideShare and Facebook. Tools like SlideShare can expose your outputs to people that you would never reach normally.

Other examples of the use of Web 2.0 pathways in the CGIAR include:

  • Bioversity International's news service (produced on a blogging platform);
  • IRRI has a blog highlighting developments.
  • IRRI has uploaded thousands of its photos to Flickr (the free photo-sharing space).
  • Almost all CGIAR Centers have RSS feeds on their web sites that allow readers to subscribe to automatic updates on Centers' news - example are Bioversity International and ICARDA.
  • CGIAR Centers such as CIMMYT and IRRI share more popular - and more applicable - introductions to some of their research work in their own video 'channel' on YouTube.
  • The "CropInfo" site managed by CIMMYT and IRRI presents a series of open websites used for research data management' using a wiki format.

Some published articles with arguments and evidence for opening up agricultural knowledge for all: