• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Title Page
 Copyright
 Foreword
 Acknowledgement
 Table of Contents
 Module 9: Information services...
 Session 1: Scientific and technical...
 Session 2: Information as an input...
 Session 3: Information as an output...
 Session 4: Cooperation in national...
 Session 5: Barriers to the flow...
 Back Cover














Group Title: Management of agricultural research : a training manual
Title: Management of agricultural research
ALL VOLUMES CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00084651/00010
 Material Information
Title: Management of agricultural research a training manual
Physical Description: 11 v. : ; 30 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Asopa, V. N
Beye, Gora
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Publisher: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Place of Publication: Rome
Publication Date: 1997
 Subjects
Subject: Agriculture -- Research -- Management -- Developing countries   ( lcsh )
Agricultural research managers -- Developing countries   ( lcsh )
Genre: international intergovernmental publication   ( marcgt )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Statement of Responsibility: prepared by V.N. Asopa and G. Beye.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00084651
Volume ID: VID00010
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 39160428
lccn - 98210567
isbn - 9251040915 (module 1)

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
    Title Page
        Page i
    Copyright
        Page ii
    Foreword
        Page iii
    Acknowledgement
        Page iv
    Table of Contents
        Page v
        Page vi
        Page vii
        Page viii
    Module 9: Information services and documentation
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Session 1: Scientific and technical information in a developing country research institute
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Session guide
            Page 5
            Page 6
        Exhibits
            Page 7
            Page 8
            Page 9
            Page 10
            Page 11
        Handouts
            Page 12
            Page 13
            Page 14
        Reading note
            Page 15
            Page 16
            Page 17
            Page 18
            Page 19
            Page 20
            Page 21
            Page 22
    Session 2: Information as an input to research
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Session guide
            Page 25
            Page 26
        Exhibits
            Page 27
            Page 28
            Page 29
            Page 30
        Reading note
            Page 31
            Page 32
            Page 33
            Page 34
            Page 35
            Page 36
            Page 37
            Page 38
    Session 3: Information as an output of research
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Sesson guide
            Page 41
            Page 42
        Exhibits
            Page 43
            Page 44
            Page 45
            Page 46
            Page 47
            Page 48
            Page 49
            Page 50
            Page 51
            Page 52
            Page 53
            Page 54
        Reading note
            Page 55
            Page 56
            Page 57
            Page 58
            Page 59
            Page 60
            Page 61
            Page 62
            Page 63
            Page 64
    Session 4: Cooperation in national programmes
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Session guide
            Page 67
            Page 68
        Exhibits
            Page 69
            Page 70
            Page 71
            Page 72
            Page 73
            Page 74
            Page 75
            Page 76
            Page 77
            Page 78
        Reading note
            Page 79
            Page 80
            Page 81
            Page 82
            Page 83
            Page 84
            Page 85
            Page 86
            Page 87
            Page 88
    Session 5: Barriers to the flow of information
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Session guide
            Page 91
            Page 92
        Exhibits
            Page 93
            Page 94
            Page 95
            Page 96
            Page 97
    Back Cover
        Page 98
Full Text















Module
9)


:A


tk


Food
and
Agriculture
Organization
of
the
United
Nations


I\













































Prepared by
V.N. Asopa
Indian Institute of Management
and
G. Beye
Research and Technology Development Service
Research, Extension and Training Division, FAO























FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS
Rome, 1997





















































M-67
ISBN 92-5-104099-0








All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a
retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic,
mechanical, photocopying or otherwise, without the prior permission of the
copyright owner. Applications for such permission, with a statement of the
purpose and extent of the reproduction, should be addressed to the Director,
Information Division, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Viale
delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy.


FAO 1997


The designations employed and the presentation of material in this
publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever
on the part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United
Nations concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or
area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its
frontiers or boundaries.












FOREWORD


There has been a tremendous development of agricultural research in developing countries
over the past few decades, during which time investment in agricultural research from both
national resources and international assistance has increased markedly. However, agricultural
research institutions are generally managed by veteran agricultural research workers promoted
for seniority rather than for management training and skills. Further, there are few courses
available on the management of agricultural research, and solutions and models used in the
developed world may not be appropriate for developing countries.
FAO has actively participated in strengthening the national agricultural research
systems of developing countries, and has stressed the importance of effective organization and
management for efficient research systems. The need for training in this area is great, and
resources particularly trained human resources are limited. FAO has therefore developed
a training programme on agricultural research management to support the training of trainers,
with the expectation of a multiplier effect, and to facilitate a common perception of the
structure and terminology of management, thus enhancing communication and understanding
among agricultural research managers in discussing management problems, solutions and
opportunities.
This training manual has been prepared as a basic reference resource for national
trainers, to help them structure and conduct their own courses on management at the institute
level. A separate manual will cover project and programme management. This manual is
based on the four structural functions of management: planning, organizing, monitoring and
controlling, and evaluating, each of which is covered in individual modules. Within each
module, the manual addresses pervasive management functions, including motivating,
leading, directing, priority setting, communicating and delegating, which are at all times a
concern to all managers. Topics such as leadership, motivation, human resources
management, policies and procedures are treated separately in individual sessions.
This manual as been designed for participatory learning through case studies, group
exercises, presentations by the participants and participatory lectures. Throughout the
manual, particular effort has been made to use the cases studied to capture the unique and
rich experience of developing country research managers in tackling policy, programme and
the day-to-day problems of managing research institutions and systems.
This publication is intended primarily for managers of agricultural research institutes
in developing countries and for higher education institutions interested in launching in-service
training courses on research management. However, it is hoped that agricultural research
managers everywhere will also find it useful. The manual provides a course structure with
contents that can be built upon and enriched. Users are therefore encouraged to send
suggestions for its improvement.



Louise O. Fresco

Director


Research, Extension and Training Division







iv Module 9 Information services and documentation


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS



The task of preparing a training manual on Agricultural Research Institute Management began
with the FAO Expert Consultation on Strategies for Research Management Training in
Africa, held at the International Livestock Centre for Africa (ILCA), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia,
12-16 December 1983. Following the recommendations of the consultation, and on the basis
of the curriculum design adopted, FAO embarked upon the preparation of this manual. In
the process of its preparation, many agricultural research managers and management
specialists have contributed. Besides the two main consultants, namely Dr Ronald P. Black,
Denver Research Institute, University of Denver, USA, who prepared the first draft, and Dr
V.N. Asopa, Professor at the Indian Institute of Management, Anmedabad, India, who
prepared the current version of the manual, the contribution of the following specialists in
various fields must be singled out: Ramesh Bhat, J. Casas, A.K. Jain, F.S. Kanwar,
V. Martinson, Gopal Naik, P. Nath, R.K. Patel, T.P. Rama Rao, S.K. Sharma,
E.S. Tayengco, and J.S. Woolston. FAO expresses its gratitude to them all.


Special thanks are due to the International Service for National Agricultural Research
(ISNAR), which has willingly made available its valuable experience and relevant materials
throughout the preparation of the manual.


FAO also thanks all those authors and publishers who have allowed the use of
copyright material from their publications, even though the courtesy is recognized in each
case.


This manual has been prepared under the responsibility of the Research Development
Centre, Research and Technology Development Division, FAO, with the guidance of:
Mohamed S. Zehni, former Director; and J.H. Monyo, E. Venezian and B. Muiller-Haye,
former Chiefs of the Research Development Centre. Scientific supervision was provided by
G. Beye, Senior Officer, now Chief, Research Technology Development Service.







Training manual for institute management


TABLE OF CONTENTS



Previous Modules were:

INTRODUCTORY MODULE
INTRODUCTION TO THE MANUAL AND ITS PURPOSE
Appendix 1 Management orientation and decision making
Appendix 2 Case method
Appendix 3 Summary of course contents
Appendix 4 Illustrative schedule for a workshop on agricultural research institute
management
Appendix 5 Management training
Appendix 6 Planning and management of short-duration, executive development
programmes

Module 1 INSTITUTIONAL AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH:
ORGANIZATION AND MANAGEMENT
Session 1. MANAGEMENT: THOUGHT AND PROCESS
Session 2. OBJECTIVES AND ORGANIZATION OF AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH
Session 3. ORGANIZATION OF INTERNATIONAL RESEARCH
Session 4. ORGANIZATION OF NATIONAL AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH SYSTEMS

Module 2 RESEARCH PLANNING
Session 1. PRINCIPLES OF RESEARCH PLANNING
Session 2. THE INSTITUTE-LEVEL PLANNING PROCESS
Session 3. SETTING GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
Session 4. FROM OBJECTIVES TO AN OPERATIONAL PLAN
Session 5. PARTICIPATORY PLANNING EXERCISE
Session 6. CASE STUDY: PLANNING AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH IN MUGHAL
SULTANATE

Module 3 ORGANIZATIONAL PRINCIPLES AND DESIGN
Session 1. ORGANIZATIONAL THEORIES
Session 2. STRUCTURE OF AN ORGANIZATION
Session 3. ORGANIZATIONAL DESIGN AND CHANGE
Session 4. CASE STUDY: ESTABLISHMENT OF A DIRECTORATE OF RESEARCH AT
SORONNO UNIVERSITY OF AGRICULTURE
Session 5. CASE STUDY: ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE AT SAMARU, NIGERIA

Module 4 LEADERSHIP, MOTIVATION, TEAM BUILDING AND
CONFLICT MANAGEMENT
Session 1. LEADERSHIP
Session 2. MOTIVATION
Session 3. TEAM BUILDING
Session 4. THE IRRI AGRICULTURAL EQUIPMENT PROGRAMME CASE STUDY: IRRI
MANAGEMENT COMPARES IRRI WITH DEVELOPING COUNTRY RESEARCH
INSTITUTES
Session 5. CONFLICT MANAGEMENT
Session 6. CONFLICT MANAGEMENT CASE STUDY: DR AGADIR







vi Module 9 Information services and documentation


Module 5 MANAGING HUMAN RESOURCES
Session 1. RECRUITING AND MAINTAINING STAFF IN THE RESEARCH ENVIRONMENT
Session 2. THE PROFESSIONAL STAFF
Session 3. HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGEMENT EXERCISE
Session 4. PERFORMANCE APPRAISAL
Session 5. PERFORMANCE APPRAISAL CASE STUDY: SUZENE KOPEC
Session 6. EXERCISE IN DESIGNING PERFORMANCE EVALUATION FORMATS

Module 6 MANAGEMENT INFORMATION SYSTEMS, COMPUTERS AND
NETWORK TECHNIQUES
Session 1. MANAGEMENT INFORMATION SYSTEMS (MIS)
Session 2. MIS EXERCISE
Session 3. COMPUTERS AS MANAGEMENT TOOLS
Session 4. NETWORK TECHNIQUES
Session 5. PERT AND CPM EXERCISE

Module 7 FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT
Session 1. FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT 1: COMPONENTS AND INFORMATION NEEDS
Session 2. FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT 2: PLANNING AND BUDGETING
Session 3. FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT 3: PROJECT DESIGN AND IMPLEMENTATION
Session 4. CASE STUDY: FARO ARROYA
Session 5. GENERATING FUNDS THROUGH CONSULTING AS AN INSTITUTIONAL
ACTIVITY. CASE STUDY: FOOD TECHNOLOGY RESEARCH INSTITUTE OF DONGAL

Module 8 RESEARCH-EXTENSION LINKAGE
Single Session: RESEARCH-EXTENSION LINKAGE


This Module comprises:

Module 9: INFORMATION SERVICES AND DOCUMENTATION
Page
Session 1. SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL INFORMATION IN A DEVELOPING-
COUNTRY RESEARCH INSTITUTION 3
Session guide: Scientific and technical information in a developing-country
research institution 5
Reading note: Scientific and technical information in a developing-country
research institution 15
Production of information 17
Reporting to the scientific community 17
Reporting to the institute's sponsors 18
Reporting for the application of results 19
Staff 19
Resource allocation and budgets 21







Training manual for institute management vii


Session 2: INFORMATION AS AN INPUT TO RESEARCH 23
Session guide: Information as an input to research 25
Reading note: Information as an input to research 31
Library organization 33
AGRIS and CARIS 34
Services for scientific staff 35
Role of donors 37

Session 3: INFORMATION AS AN OUTPUT OF RESEARCH 39
Session guide: Information as an output of research 41
Reading note: Information as an output of research 55
Policy making and planning 55
Developing essential resources 56
Annual reports 58
Journal articles 59
Papers for conferences 60
Scientific and technical reports 61
Who gets the credit? 62
Newsletters 62
Extension material 63
Extending the reach of publications 64

Session 4: COOPERATION IN NATIONAL PROGRAMMES 65
Session guide: Cooperation in national programmes 67
Reading note: Cooperation in national programmes 79
Policy making and planning 79
National agricultural library and archives 80
National AGRIS and CARIS centres 81
National agricultural science journal 83
Cooperation among libraries 84
Extension services 85
Training 86
Technology for communication 87

Session 5: EXERCISE ON BARRIERS TO THE FLOW OF INFORMATION 89
Session guide: Barriers to the flow of information 91
Barriers to the flcw of information (exercise worksheet) 95

The remaining Module is:
Module 10 INSTITUTE EVALUATION
Single Session: INSTITUTE EVALUATION










Training manual for institute management


This module consists of five sessions:


1. SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL INFORMATION IN A DEVELOPING-COUNTRY RESEARCH
INSTITUTION.
2. INFORMATION AS AN INPUT TO RESEARCH.
3. INFORMATION AS AN OUTPUT OF RESEARCH.
4. COOPERATION IN NATIONAL PROGRAMMES.
5. EXERCISE ON BARRIERS TO THE FLOW OF INFORMATION.


The objectives of this module are:
to emphasize the importance of information,
to indicate the type of information needed and possible sources of that information, and
to identify the most common services a research institution's information system should
be expected to offer, with the concomitant implications for the design of an
information system.
Keeping these objectives in mind, the resource person could combine the first four sessions
into two long sessions, present all the four sessions individually, or present only selected
sessions. The overall effect should be to engender an understanding of the need for and
requirements of an information system capable of supporting scientific activities in a research
institute.
The exercise should be carried out by the participants so that they themselves identify
barriers to the flow of information in their countries, clearly delineate the functions of
information services, and appreciate important decisions to be made in information system
design.


MODULE 9


INFORMATION SERVICES
AND
DOCUMENTATION









Training manual for institute management 3


DATE


TIME


FORMAT Plenary participatory lecture


TRAINER




OBJECTIVES
At the end of this session, participants should have become familiar with:
1. The importance of being able to reach into a store of accumulated knowledge.
2. Ways to extract the information that an institute needs to shape its research
activities and keep its scientists up to date.
3. The functions of an internal information unit and the related staff qualities
needed.


Module 9 Session 1


Scientific and technical
information in a developing-
country research institute


I







Module 9 Session 1 Information in a developing-country research institute


INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS


Exhibit 1
Exhibit 2
Exhibit 3
Exhibit 4
Exhibit 5


Hand-out 1
Hand-out 2


Five stages of research
Why produce information?
Expectations from an information system
Functions of an information specialist
Duties of an information specialist


Stages of research and common information services
Searching the literature: the main variables


REQUIRED READING

Reading note: Scientific and technical information in a developing-country research
institute.


BACKGROUND READING

None.


SPECIAL EQUIPMENT AND AIDS

Overhead projector and chalkboard







Training manual for institute management 5






Module 9 Session 1

Session guide








SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL INFORMATION
IN A
DEVELOPING-COUNTRY RESEARCH INSTITUTE

Initiate the session by highlighting the importance and use of information in the research
process. Draw on the experience of participants. Ask which sources fulfil their information
needs and what type of work requires most information. Explain that information can take
many forms, such as state-of-the-art reviews, bibliographies, indexes, abstract journals,
technical journals, proceedings and reports of meetings, newsletters, trade publications,
various categories of books, patents and technical specifications, personal communications
from experts in the field, and use of consultants. Use the answers that the group gives you
as the basis for the explanation of information needs at different stages of research
(EXHIBIT 1).
Give an overview of the flow of information to a scientific and technical user.
Information may be recorded in a publicly available document, or may exist only in
someone's mind or notebook. Between information source and user there are the operations
of the information service, such as dissemination which is initiated by the information
system and searches which can be initiated by the user. The information needs of
scientists conducting basic research and those conducting applied research differ according
to the nature and stage of the work.
Ask participants: 'What does this all mean?' Ask participants to describe their
institution's information system and how it helps to tap existing knowledge. Observe that
resource and other constraints create differences between information systems in developed
and in developing countries. These shortcomings are being overcome through networking,
and through international database systems, such as CARIS and AGRIS.
The keys to gain access to the global store of knowledge are:
recruitment of appropriately skilled staff,
modest investments in the most relevant library materials (books, journals and
equipment), and
cooperation among institutions working in the same country or region.
Ask participants: 'Why should a research institute produce information?' Show
EXHIBIT 2 and discuss why information has to be provided. In discussing the 'reporting to
scientific community' objective, discuss the 'publish-or-perish' syndrome. For reporting to







6 Module 9 Session 1 Information in a developing-country research institute


donors, it is not always necessary to have a special publication: standard publications could
go a long way toward satisfying reporting requirements. Information has to flow to and from
users. Therefore an effective communication linkage with the extension agency has to be
built up. Next show EXHIBIT 3 and discuss usual expectations from an information service.
Show EXHIBIT 4 and discuss the three functions of an information specialist. First,
management of the library, which includes the traditional library functions of acquisition,
cataloguing, serials management, tracking down references, and retrieving items. The second
function is that of an information service to projects, a function which should have a higher
priority than library maintenance. Information services to projects provides help in project
preparation and implementation. The third function is communication, especially in relation
to reporting to the scientific community, to sponsors and to users. Emphasize that
'information specialist' is a general term covering many different activities and functions,
from primary library functions to project and internal communications activities (EXHIBIT 5).
An information specialist differs from a specialist librarian, placing more emphasis on access
to information rather than acquisition and storing, and an information specialist has very
much more of a service function: finding the information people need and presenting it in a
usable form. Observe that an information professional uses principles and techniques of
information management.
Note that the head of an information unit has to support managerial decision making
by providing data, having in this way also a role in institution management. An agricultural
scientist selected for this function would probably find it easy to establish peer relations with
the clients.
Discuss the gatekeeper concept. A gatekeeper evaluates and synthesizes information
coming from outside, and passes on useful information to other members of the team. This
has both advantages and disadvantages.
Finally, discuss resource allocations for information systems. Observe that if
researchers have no access to information they will be isolated and their effective output will
be impaired. For as long as researchers feel the need for more and more relevant
information, there is a case for considering larger fiscal allocation to information services.
Thus the problem is one of finding the optimum balance between direct expenditure on
research and direct expenditure on information.







TRAINING MANUAL FOR INSTITUTE MANAGEMENT
Module 9 Session 1


EXHIBIT 1


THE FIVE STAGES OF RESEARCH ....

STATE-OF-THE-ART REVIEW
IDEA GENERATION
PROJECT SELECTION AND PROPOSAL
PREPARATION
PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION
COMMUNICATION AND DISSEMINATION OF
RESEARCH RESULTS




... RESULT IN

REPORTS
JOURNAL PUBLICATIONS
CONFERENCES
MEETINGS
INFORMAL DISCUSSIONS
FURTHER PROPOSALS










TRAINING MANUAL FOR INSTITUTE MANAGEMENT E IIT 2
Module 9 Session 1T


WHY PRODUCE INFORMATION?


Reporting:

1. To the scientific community
problems with foreign journals
need for help
alternatives (e.g., technical reports)
'publish-or-perish' syndrome

2. To the institution's sponsors
annual reports
specialized reports
adequate infrastructure support for
document preparation

3. For the application of results (e.g., for
extension agents, farmers, etc.)
information flows to and from extension
staff with communications skills
national languages)







TRAINING MANUAL FOR INSTITUTE MANAGEMENT
Module 9 Session 1


EXHIBIT 3


EXPECTATIONS FROM AN
INFORMATION SYSTEM


1. Need-specific and service-oriented

2. There are established procedures for acquiring and
processing materials according to the real and
projected needs of the user

3. Provision of as many services as possible, given
the collection and input procedures

4. There is a mechanism for continual review and
evaluation of the information service


Source: Atherton, P. 1977. Handbook for Information Systems and Services. Paris: UNESCO.






TRAINING MANUAL FOR INSTITUTE MANAGEMENT
Module 9 Session 1


EXHIBIT 4


An information specialist uses principles and
techniques of information management to:

1. Manage libraries.

2. Provide an information service to
projects.


3. Fulfil communication functions.


FUNCTIONS OF AN
INFORMATION SPECIALIST







TRAINING MANUAL FOR INSTITUTE MANAGEMENT E T
Module 9 Session 1T







DUTIES OF AN INFORMATION SPECIALIST





select materials
organize and supervise order processing for
published materials
determine routing of incoming publications
informal selective dissemination of information
respond to requests for information
generate ideas for proposals
research and write proposals
network with similar and competing organizations
maintain informal and formal communication links
with other information specialists both inside and
outside the organization
carry out research in support of ongoing projects
provide information research and technical
assistance
organize office publishing activities
stay abreast of the information field
consult (with private industry) on status of
international information activities
maintain information, including cataloguing and
classifying collections and special files
prepare and implement on-line searches







12 Module 9 Session 1 Information in a developing-country research institute


STAGES OF RESEARCH AND COMMON INFORMATION SOURCES


STAGE OF RESEARCH INFORMATION SOURCES

A. State-of-the-art review

1. Keeping abreast of developments in 1. Technical and trade journals,
one's own field personal communications, newsletters
2. Keeping abreast of developments in 2. In-house technical journals, conference
related or complementary fields announcements
3. General reading 3. SDI retrieval services, reviewing
publisher's catalogues, newsletters,
monographs, newspapers, etc.

B. Idea generation
1. Broadening areas of study 1. Unpublished reports or trade journals
2. Recognizing new scientific and 2. Trade journals, unpublished reports,
technical advances: monographs, informal communications,
-procedures primary literature, abstracts and indexes,
techniques bibliographies, new product or technology
-apparatus announcements
Materials







Training manual for institute management 13


STAGE OF RESEARCH INFORMATION SOURCES

C. Project selection
1. Determining the scope of a project 1. Informal communications, trade journals,
professional associations
2. Determining project personnel 2. Directories of consultants, resume files,
contact files, informal communications,
professional associations
3. Determining project viability 3. Communication with other research
institutions and organizations in the field,
communications with colleagues, profes-
sional associations, experts in the field,
government agencies, industrial clients
4. Justifying the project 4. Marketing information, economic studies
and technical materials from primary
(surveys, etc.) and secondary (published
data) sources, manufacturers, directories,
user profiles
5. Promoting the project 5. Annual reports of foundations, grant
indexes, informal communications, indus-
trial clients, in-house marketing networks
6. Preparing the proposal 6. Past proposals, style manuals, guides to
writing

D. Project implementation
1. Gathering data for specific information 1. Literature surveys, equipment information
requests (pilot plants, laboratory scale), specific-
ations, informal sources, experts,
professional associations, etc.
2. Keeping current with developments in 2. Personal communications, technical
fields related to project reports, newsletters
3. Controlling the budget 3. Guides to budgetary and fiscal control,
resources on management information
systems

E. Dissemination of research results
1. Reporting results 1. Technical writing guides, journal
publication requirements
2. Identifying channels for dissemination 2. Conference schedules, client rosters,
of research results publishing marketplace
3. Contacting potential clients 3. Marketing textbooks, sales manuals









14 Module 9 Session I Information in a developing-country research institute


SEARCHING THE LITERATURE: MAJOR VARIABLES


DEPTH OF SEARCH TYPE OF DOCUMENT ORGANIZATION OF KNOWLEDGE


* reason for inquiry (purpose
to which data will be put)
degree of detail needed
specific fact versus subject
area
subject-specific versus as
much as possible
Possible source formats
* books
* periodicals
* documents
* trade literature
* patents
* microfilm (of any of the
above)
Scope of search
* theory
* research practice,
development, production,
materials
economics, commercial
use
operation, installation,
equipment, maintenance
human resources
organization and
management
social, ethical, public
relations aspects
instruction, education
(elementary, intermediate
or advanced)
technical or popular
presentation
legal aspects
history


* bibliographies
* publishing lists,
catalogues
* dictionaries,
glossaries,
encyclopedias
* almanacs
* handbooks, data
books
* standard works
* state-of-the-art
surveys, literature
reviews, Advances
in... series
* symposia,
workshop,
proceedings, etc.
* textbooks
* monographs
* theses
* directories: town,
personal, trade
* atlases, maps,
guides
* statistics
* tables
* abstracts
* contents lists
* articles
* news items
* advertisements,
catalogues


* various subject contexts of the
same topic due to different
applications of ideas or things,
and separating effect of clas-
sification schemes
* fringe subjects
* analogous ideas or things
* classifications and the relation
between general and specific
* comprehensiveness of search
* numbers of sources involved
and scatter of information
through them
* type of abstract or index used:
includes subject covered or
title covered
* publication delay
* variations in terminology and
arrangement of indexes
* authority
* topicality of literature
* source: firms, research bodies,
government, private, societies,
institutions, universities,
colleges, individuals
commercial publishers (e.g., of
trade journals)
* whether available locally or to
be obtained from external
source
* type of library searched:
academic, public, industrial,
research bodies, societies,
institutions


Source: Atherton, P. 1977. Handbook for Information Systems and Services. Paris: UNESCO.


Module 9 Session 1


Hand-out 2






Training manual for institute management 15


SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL INFORMATION
IN A
DEVELOPING-COUNTRY RESEARCH INSTITUTION


Research is the process by which we try to add to the store of existing knowledge. However,
researchers must first know what is already in store. Previously recorded knowledge helps
us choose the most promising topics for research projects; it gives us standards of comparison
for judging the quality and significance of our work; it offers us a variety of methodologies
and techniques from which we can select those that are most appropriate to our needs. If we
fail to take advantage of what is already in the store of existing knowledge, we shall miss
opportunities to make our work more effective; at worst, we may merely duplicate what has
already been done elsewhere.
Existing knowledge can be tapped in various ways: one way, often very effective, is to
consult scientists at other institutions. That is why scientists travel, attend conferences, call
their colleagues on the telephone or participate in bulletin boards and discussion groups on
the Internet. However, it is recognized that, while such contacts may give valuable leads,
we must go to books, journals and reports when we need accurate information. In
developing countries, scientists have fewer opportunities to travel and meet fewer visitors,
so it is even more important that they have access to knowledge in printed form.
Here, too, developing countries face problems. While some books, journals, and reports
can be obtained on exchange or purchased with local currency, many of the more useful
items require hard currency. If the institution has a fixed budget in hard currency, these
purchases are then in competition with other requirements, such as for equipment and travel.
Although equipment purchases and travel can be considered one item at a time, subscribing
to an important scientific journal usually represents an intention which is continued from year
to year. But, next year, the price is likely to increase and some issues may get lost in the
post. It is, perhaps, little wonder that, in developing countries, many research directors
shrink from making these long-term commitments and, as a result, their libraries are often
weak and lack the more important publications.
In contrast, in developed countries, many agricultural stations have at least one
professional librarian or information scientist, up-to-date library collections, and the computer
equipment that enables them to locate documents that are likely to contain information needed
by the staff. Even if these facilities are not totally available on site, scientists know where
to call to reach them. Libraries are linked through networks and have devised techniques for
sharing resources. For clients, it makes little difference whether the information they need


Module 9 Session 1

Reading note







Module 9 Session 1 Information in a developing-country research institute


is in one library or has to be called from another library in the network. The libraries make
extensive use of photocopying and use the telephone and electronic mail (E-mail) to
communicate with each other. Increasingly, telefax is used to transfer information from one
library to another.
At present, agricultural scientists in most developing countries are greatly disadvantaged
in comparison with their colleagues in developed countries. Much has been done to narrow
the 'development gap' in the education of agricultural scientists and in the provision of
laboratories and equipment, but when measured in terms of scientific information available
to researchers, the gap remains wide.
This disadvantage is seen most keenly by those scientists who have studied in developed
countries. Having become accustomed to an effective information service while abroad,
many have a sense of deprivation on returning home. Where local information services are
weak, these scientists see themselves cut off from developments in their own disciplines, and
a significant number seek to emigrate to countries where they can more readily advance their
work and their careers.
The most senior scientists in developing countries may personally not feel the
disadvantage to the same degree as their more junior colleagues. Senior scientists have more
personal contacts and more opportunities to travel. Unfortunately, the harm is done at the
level where creativity and innovation are most needed to ensure progress in research and
development.
If agricultural research institutions are to become scientifically more self-reliant, they
need to build up their own information units. They must have the means to reach into the
global store of knowledge and to select what is most useful and relevant to them. Having
control is quite different from being fed by services based in the industrialized countries,
because even though such services may be inspired by goodwill, they select on the basis of
an alien interpretation of the institution's needs.
Mechanisms have been developed to make it easier to know what work is under way at
other institutions, and thus to encourage direct personal contacts (e.g., the international
Current Agricultural Research Information System (CARIS), which is a freely accessible
database describing research projects). Some of the larger developing countries, such as
Brazil and India, have made great progress in building information services and networks to
support their research institutions, and some of the more recent technologies are well adapted
for use in poorly favoured locations. Research stations in industrialized countries have been
served by on-line information retrieval systems, which require sophisticated computers and
high quality telecommunication links; now, essentially, the same benefit is obtainable from
compact disc read-only memories (CD-ROMs) wherever there is a supply of electricity stable
enough to operate a personal computer. With the advent of the Internet the scope of
international access to information has increased manyfold.
The key factors to allow entry to the global store of knowledge are: recruitment of
appropriately skilled staff, modest investments in the most relevant library materials (books,
journals and equipment) and cooperation among institutions working in the same country or
region. Staff and budgets are considered later in this session, while 'information as an input
to research' is addressed specifically in Session 2 of this module.






Training manual for institute management


PRODUCTION OF INFORMATION


A research institution has an obligation whether moral or contractual to report the results
of its work, and to do so at several levels:
to the scientific community at large, so that results can be evaluated and incorporated in
the permanent store of scientific knowledge;
to the agency usually governmental that has provided funds for the institution and on
whose goodwill the institution will depend for future funding (on occasion, some
institutions may also need to report to a donor agency); and
to the extension agents and farming practitioners who might employ the results to improve
agricultural production.
Reporting is an essential component of the research process. Periodically, a scientist needs
to look back over the work that has been done, identify significant results and draw
appropriate conclusions. Only then can the scientist feel a sense of achievement and define
the objectives of the next phase of work.
Once again, institutions in developing countries have more obstacles to overcome than
those in industrialized countries, and particularly if the national language is not also an
international language.


REPORTING TO THE SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY
The problems are perhaps most evident when scientists seek to publish articles in
internationally recognized journals. English is now the dominant language, and even
scientists who are proficient in oral English may encounter immense problems in meeting the
requirements of a journal's editor. Editors may be ready to correct minor mistakes, but their
primary interest is in the scientific content, and they do not have time to study and rewrite
passages whose meaning is obscure. Often a very good paper is rejected simply because the
writing is opaque or because the author is unable to meet the journal's requirements for
presentation (graphs, tables, references, etc.).
Another obstacle is that, while the editors and referees of international journals may be
professionally interested in the agricultural problems of a developing country, their criteria
for evaluating a paper may differ significantly from those of the author's institution. For the
journal, what counts most is scientific novelty or originality. Work based on well known
concepts may not be of much interest, even when these concepts have been applied in novel
situations. Yet, in the research institution, the work might be seen as a major contribution,
and there would be understandable resentment when a paper describing such work is rejected.
Scientists know, of course, that their long-term professional reputations depend to a large
degree on their publications in reputable journals, usually defined as those journals that refer
manuscripts for peer review by scientists who have already established reputations in the
respective disciplines. It is in these journals that we build our store of accumulated
knowledge, and an institution's reputation also depends largely on the papers that its staff
have had published in peer-reviewed journals. When an institution encourages such
publications, it is better able to recruit and retain the more qualified and more productive
scientists. To foster the excellence motive an organization should:







Module 9 Session 1 Information in a developing-country research institute


make it known that good publications will carry weight when a scientist is being
considered for promotion;
ensure that scientists have enough time to prepare manuscripts, if necessary by reducing
both the burden of administration and other reporting requirements; and
provide effective support services (editing, typing, graphics, etc.).
Will such action tend to promote the 'publish-or-perish' syndrome which is said to afflict
many academic institutions? This syndrome manifests itself when management takes account
only of the number and not of the quality of publications. Where that is the case, the
researcher is tempted to exploit a given piece of work to produce several minor papers rather
than one major article giving a complete and consolidated account of the work.
However, it is reasonable to expect that, in institutions concerned with applied research,
the director (or a scientist designated by the director) will review all manuscripts before
approving them for publication. This gives the opportunity for the kind of counselling that
should prevent the development of the publish-or-perish syndrome.
Much applied research does not easily lend itself to publication in journals. Session 3
of this module will discuss other means of scientific publication, including technical reports
issued by the institution itself, newsletters and presentation of papers at conferences.


REPORTING TO THE INSTITUTE'S SPONSORS
An institution has an obligation morally if not contractually or by law to report to the
authorities or donors that provide support. Naturally, the director is likely to give top
priority to the production of such reports. The key item is usually an overall annual report,
but many more specialized documents may also be needed. Unless these requirements are
well managed, they can consume a large part of the time of the scientific staff. Often,
however, the requirements are negotiable, and one document may be able to serve more than
one need. In general, the authorities are looking for an overall summary to serve various
interests. When an institution offers quantity rather than quality in its reporting, the
authorities are not necessarily impressed, but the institution's staff are heavily burdened.
Perhaps the need can best be met by assigning the bulk of this work to a scientist with
writing skills. The person might be a deputy director, an assistant to the director, or the
head of the institution's information unit. By concentrating the work on the desk of one
individual, the institution can achieve considerable economy as text that has been written for
one purpose can often, with minor adjustments, be re-employed to meet another purpose.
By centralizing this work under the supervision of one senior staff member, it is easier to
ensure that:
an overall view is presented,
the institution's policies are consistently expressed, and
reports are not clogged with unnecessary detail.
Here again, the persons responsible for producing these reports need the support of a good
infrastructure for typing, graphic arts and printing.






Training manual for institute management 19



REPORTING FOR THE APPLICATION OF RESULTS
Depending on its constitution, a research institution may have direct obligations to provide
extension services or may have links with organizations that carry this responsibility. In
either case, agricultural research institutions need to cooperate with the agricultural
community and must ensure that the collaboration provides an information flow in both
directions, so that researchers are aware of what is happening on the farms and can ensure
that their own work is of maximum relevance to the agricultural economy.
Obviously, if the institution has a direct responsibility for extension, it will have staff
dedicated to this function. They will need support for writing and production of pamphlets
and preparation of audiovisuals. Even if the main responsibility for extension is elsewhere,
the institution will need some such capacity in order to deliver its knowledge to those who
can interpret and apply it. In most cases, it is better not to load all this work on research
scientists: not only because it takes time away from their research, but also because they may
not have the appropriate communication skills. It is good when researchers can also act as
teachers, and they must be encouraged to do so in training courses and seminars, but, in
general, the institution is better served if it employs staff who, in close association with
researchers, can be charged with the organization of training programmes, production of
training materials and responsibility for interaction with extension services.
Again, if the national language is not also an international language, the institution may
find that it needs to build twin capacities, one for writing and editing of papers addressed to
the global scientific community, and a second for users in its national constituency.


STAFF


When recruiting for the information function, and particularly when selecting the person to
head it, the institution is confronted with a choice: should it look for a professional
information specialist (for example, a communication scientist or a librarian) or an
agricultural scientist? This is no new problem. It has been a subject of debate for perhaps
a hundred years. One the one hand, most information professionals have had a good general
education in the humanities as well as training in the management of information and in the
various techniques employed for its organization and delivery. On the other hand,
agricultural scientists know the subject, can more easily enter into a peer relationship with
their clients and will better understand their needs, although most agricultural scientists will
require additional training if they are to learn the principles and techniques of information
management.
There is no universally applicable resolution of this dilemma. There are, for example,
professional librarians who, without any formal training in science, have acquired
considerable knowledge of the subject by reading, attending seminars, asking questions and
discussing problems with their clients. An individual with an enquiring mind and who can
relate well with clients will learn to recognize the specific pieces of information that will be
useful to the staff.
In principle, an agricultural scientist ought to be even better able to see connections, to
take initiatives in seeking out new information and, in effect, to be a genuine partner in the
research process itself. This, however, will be true only if the agricultural scientist is well
motivated and sees prospects for a future career in information work.







20 Module 9 Session 1 Information in a developing-country research institute


For the right person, information work provides an exciting challenge, because it involves
contact with the director and with all aspects of the institution's programme. The person
selected must be intelligent and articulate, and the function should never be assigned to
someone who just happens to be available, perhaps having failed in research or another type
of work.
In choosing the person to lead the information unit, the director should look for an
individual who has the qualities necessary to be able to participate in the institution's
programme and management councils. When new issues come up, the director can call on
this person to present background information and to ensure that the senior staff are kept
aware of what other institutions are doing in the same subject area. Indeed, one of the most
important responsibilities of an information unit is to provide a personal service to the
director, screening new information that comes to the institution, summarizing where
appropriate, and drawing the director's attention to those items that may be significant. Such
a service can be of immense value to the director but, if the job is to be done well, the
director must have a close relationship with the information provider, specifying topics of
special interest and reacting to the material that has been supplied (i.e., providing feedback).
Clearly, the interaction is more likely to succeed if the director and the information provider
have a good personal rapport built on a foundation of mutual respect.
An individual with the required qualities may not be difficult to find. Behaviourial
studies in the 1960s revealed that, within a research team, individuals develop particular
responsibilities on which others rely. One scientist may be the team's expert for experiment
design and statistical methods, while another may advise on equipment and instrumentation.
Almost invariably, one of them becomes the team's expert in information activities. This
fact is confirmed where libraries keep statistics about their users: one scientist in the team
is a heavy user, while others are seen much less frequently. The one scientist is often called
the 'information gatekeeper' for the team, and a gatekeeper shows up even in a team that has
not consciously assigned this role to one of its members.
The gatekeeper evaluates and synthesizes information coming from outside and feeds
what is useful to other members of the team. They, in turn, consult the gatekeeper before
they go looking in the library or consulting other information sources. Gatekeepers, because
they have a better understanding of the external environment, become responsible for drafting
the team's reports and making presentations. They quite often feel that their own research
is suffering because of the amount of time they spend in information analysis and
communication, but most of them enjoy it!
Even a small research institution is likely to have one or more gatekeepers working
informally among the scientific staff, and the director is well advised to identify them. Could
one of them be interested in taking a more formal role and becoming the head of the
information unit, perhaps combining this with reduced responsibility for a personal research
project? Provided adequate status and salary are given, this is not a job to be despised, even
by a mid-career PhD. Some short-term training in information management might be needed
but, since gatekeepers often rise to the top of their professions, a well-motivated agricultural
scientist should see this as a path to a senior position in research management or policy
making.
Depending on the size of the institution, other information staff will also be needed.
These may include agricultural scientists with appropriate skills, librarians, writers, editors,
translators and audiovisual specialists. Many of the qualities required are those that are






Training manual for institute management 21


associated with the teaching profession. It is interesting to note that, in the great upsurge of
information work that occurred in the United States after the Second World War, many of
the new staff were recruited, not from the research community, but from former high school
and college science teachers. What is needed, both for teaching and information work, are
individuals who know how to seek out knowledge and how to impart it at the level of
understanding of the recipient.


RESOURCE ALLOCATION AND BUDGETS


It is virtually impossible to find truly reliable figures for amounts that research institutions
devote to the information function, mostly because there is considerable variation in their
internal structures. If we consider only the amount spent directly on the library, it may
conceal the fact that research teams include scientists (gatekeepers) and assistants who employ
a large part of their time in obtaining information or delivering it to others.
All scientists spend some of their time in information work, and more so in those
institutions that lack a good internal information service. In other words, the needs are
inescapable and, if the institution is not organized to meet them efficiently, the researchers
are obliged to fend for themselves.
In fast-moving areas, such as biotechnology, information may become the most expensive
input to the research programme. Obvious information-related costs may be 20 to 30% of
the budget, but the real total (including the time of staff budgeted under other heads) may be
as much as 50%. In more traditional areas, the evident expenditure may be 5%, while the
true total might be 25 to 30%. Unfortunately, in many developing-country institutions, the
proportions are even more skewed, and a negligible expenditure on the structured information
service is only partly compensated for by a heavy commitment of the time of the researchers.
Probably, proportional to its total budget, a developing-country institution ought to spend
more on information than a similar institution in a developed country. Not just equipment
but also important books and journals all cost as much or more in a developing country than
in developed countries, but salaries are usually much lower. So, if the developing-country
scientists are to be as well served as their more fortunate contemporaries, purchases must
take a larger share of the total resources. It can be argued that this is not fair (and, indeed,
it is another manifestation of global inequity) but, unfortunately, that is the present reality.
The problem can probably best be seen as a choice made at the margin: when resources
are available, is it better for an institution to increase its research staff by one more scientist,
or should it use the opportunity to build a better information service for existing staff and
thereby enhance their effectiveness?
Each such choice must be made in the light of the situation within the particular
institution. Obviously, at the extreme, if the researchers have no access to information, they
will be totally isolated and their effective output will be virtually zero. So some access needs
to be provided, and the problem becomes one of finding the optimum balance between direct
expenditures on research and direct expenditures on information. Nevertheless, where the
staff feel that they are out of touch with developments in their various disciplines, there is
a case for considering a larger allocation for information services.
It would be foolish to adopt a certain fixed percentage and suggest that it should be
appropriate for all institutions. Costs vary considerably in different parts of the developing







22 Module 9 Session 1 Information in a developing-country research institute


world, and an institution with a broad programme will need a fuller information service than
one with a highly focused programme. However, it is a cause for concern if the direct
allocation for information services is less than 5% of the budget; 10 or 15% might not be too
much.
Of course, the director may not be in complete control of the budget allocations,
particularly where salaries are paid in national currencies but purchases require hard
currency. In such situations, directors need to promote discussion at the level where resource
allocations are determined. At national level, the issues may take on a new complexity: to
what extent, for example, can a central agricultural publishing service or a national
agricultural library set the level for needs at research stations in the provinces? If countries
rely on centralization to ease the problem, institution directors need to be involved in
monitoring the quality of the service received. In these cases, better service may become
available only through investments in better communications (photocopying, transport,
telephone and, where the telephone system is good, E-mail and telefax).







Training manual for institute management


DATE


TIME


FORMAT


TRAINER


Plenary participatory lecture


OBJECTIVES
At the end of this session, participants should have become familiar with:
1. The importance of information as an input to research.
2. Creating access to information through libraries and networking.


Module 9 Session 2


Information as an input to
research


I








24 Module 9 Session 2 Information as an input to research


INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS

Exhibit 1 Library collections and organization

Exhibit 2 AGRIS and CARIS

Exhibit 3 Services for scientists

Exhibit 4 Sources of material






REQUIRED READING

Reading note: Information as an input to research.





BACKGROUND READING

None.






SPECIAL EQUIPMENT AND AIDS

Overhead projector and chalkboard


I



I



I



U



I



I






Training manual for institute management 25


INFORMATION AS AN INPUT TO RESEARCH


Initiate discussion by emphasizing that information is power, and an important input to
research. It shapes research programmes and keeps scientists up to date. Apart from using
written reference material in different forms, information staff benefit by interacting with
fellow scientists.
Show EXHIBIT 1 on library collections and organization. Ask participants whether the
collection in their library is relevant, recent and useful. Emphasize the need for
centralization of information so that the institution's information resources are not dispersed.
Simultaneously, scientists must have access to the required information. Otherwise they will
waste their time in building their own collection of references, particularly reprints.
A library needs to have knowledgeable staff and provided with an adequate budget for
purchases. Libraries have to be properly organized and managed. There has to be a rational
policy for acquisitions and discards. Quick cataloguing is equally essential. EXHIBIT 1
describes three ways in which libraries acquire literature. First, by request: to authors for
reprints; to regional and international agencies for publications; and to donors. Second, by
exchange with other institutions for journals. Third, by purchasing reference books,
handbooks and textbooks, and the most relevant journals. Libraries cooperate among
themselves for costly journals. An appropriate mix of these methods should provide an
effective cost minimizing mode of acquisition.
Discuss the Cuban model as an example of how limited finances can be efficiently
utilized. A centralized organization manages agricultural information for all the national
institutions. Duplicate purchases are avoided. Tables of contents of journals are distributed
and the most important articles are photocopied.
A library renders technical as well as public services (EXHIBIT 1). The ratio between
public services and technical services has to be maximized for greater efficiency.
Cataloguing and indexing is a time consuming, skilled-staff-intensive process. The burden
of this can be significantly reduced by using externally prepared indexes and databases,
especially for journal articles. Commercial systems are expensive, but participation in
international networking such as AGRIS is highly desirable.
Now discuss some of the recent developments, such as micro CDS/ISIS mounted on a PC
for cataloguing and displaying books and technical reports.


Module 9 Session 2

Session guide







26 Module 9 Session 2 Information as an input to research


Discuss AGRIS and CARIS (EXHIBIT 2). These are international cooperative systems,
managed by FAO and linked through national centres. CARIS is unique in identifying
research projects and individual scientists, thereby facilitating contacts, cooperation and
exchange.
Show EXHIBIT 3 and discuss services for scientists. The service has to be:
responsive answering enquiries,
alerting indicating information available if scientists are interested, and
unsolicited delivering information believed to be of interest.
The support facilities in a library must include a photocopying machine.
Show EXHIBIT 4 and discuss important sources of material. In the case of donors,
observe that an information component should be negotiated as part of the overall negotiation.
Database searching for research projects has to be retroactive initially, but there should
also be provision of current awareness periodicals.







TRAINING MANUAL FOR INSTITUTE MANAGEMENT
Module 9 Session 2


EXHIBIT 1


LIBRARY COLLECTIONS AND ORGANIZATION




QUALITY OF THE COLLECTION

It should be:
* Relevant
* Recent
* Useful


ACQUISITION MODALITIES

Material acquired through:
* Requests
* Exchanges
* Purchases
* Cooperation with other institutes
The Cuban model: A central library circulates
photocopies of tables of contents, and supplies
copies of requested articles.


LIBRARY SERVICES

Technical and Public:
* Maximize ratio of public services to technical services
for greater efficiency
Cataloguing:
* Use external databases to reduce internal cataloguing







TRAINING MANUAL FOR INSTITUTE MANAGEMENT
Module 9 Session 2


EXHIBIT 2


AGRIS AND CARIS


FEATURES
* International
* Cooperative
* CARIS lists research projects and individual scientists


CONTENTS
Databases constructed from national inputs


ORGANIZATION
Managed by FAO, Rome, through
National Centres


OUTPUTS
Printed form (hard copy):
* Agrindex (monthly)
* National bibliographies
* Subject-specific bibliographies
Computer-readable form (soft copy):
* CD-ROMs with entire database
* CDS/ISIS records


I







TRAINING MANUAL FOR INSTITUTE MANAGEMENT
Module 9 Session 2


EXHIBIT 3


SERVICES FOR SCIENTISTS




Responsive Answers enquiries

Indicates information available if
Alerting scientists interested


Delivers services believed to be
Unsolicited
of interest

Equipment Photocopiers; microform readers
support and reader-printers







TRAINING MANUAL FOR INSTITUTE MANAGEMENT
Module 9 Session 2


EXHIBIT 4


SOURCES OF MATERIAL




* Major libraries
* National libraries and institutes
* AGRIS network
* CGIAR Centres
* Donor agencies
* Authors






Training manual for institute management 31


INFORMATION AS AN INPUT TO RESEARCH


In developing countries, many agricultural research stations have libraries that are almost
never used by researchers. Such a library may be in the care of a very junior person who
has had little or no training in either librarianship or agricultural science and, indeed, there
may be almost nothing of real value on the shelves. If there is no hard currency budget for
purchases, the library is likely to contain only what has been donated, and donations are often
made more in the interest of the donor than that of the recipient. So the shelves may contain
some trade publications and newsletters, surplus materials from other libraries, and
documents sent free of charge by international and regional organizations. There are
probably few reference books and only odd issues of major agricultural science journals.
In such institutions, scientists are forced to fend for themselves and to build their own
personal collections any one of which may be more valuable and relevant than all the
material in the library. Scientists acquire their own material by setting up arrangements with
their friends and colleagues, and they pick up publications when they travel. These personal
collections are often largely in the form of reprints of journal articles, and many scientists
mail printed postcards to request reprints from the authors. Some scientists go to great
trouble to acquire documents in this way, and they may have quite elaborate indexes,
nowadays often on a personal computer (PC).
'Information is power,' and it is an unfortunate fact that there are some scientists who,
having invested time in building a collection, are unwilling to share it with their colleagues.
The institution loses because:
scientists consume time that might otherwise be devoted to their research, especially when
several scientists are independently chasing the same information;
information resources are dispersed among different offices, overlap in content and are
not easily accessible (there is no comprehensive catalogue of what is held); and
its reputation suffers when authors receive multiple, and obviously uncoordinated,
requests from the institute's staff.
Clearly, scientists would not be as inclined to spend their time collecting and organizing
reprints if the publications most needed were available in the library. Even an institution that
is limited in its resources for purchasing can improve the situation by requiring scientists to
channel their reprint requests through the library. In writing to an author, the librarian
should name the scientist who first made the request and add a line or two to indicate the


Module 9 Session 2

Reading Note


-- -E







Module 9 Session 2 Information as an input to research


purpose for which the reprint is needed. Proceeding in this way ensures that requests are not
duplicated and that, once the library has obtained a reprint, it is probably catalogued, listed,
and made accessible to all of the scientists who might wish to see it now or later.
To be effective, scientists must have access to information relating to their work, and,
if it is not provided by the institution, they will use other methods, even very inefficient
methods, to acquire it. If the institution is to avoid such a situation, it must develop the
means to serve the information needs of its researchers, and that requires having a budget for
the purpose. Generally, one must pay for the things that are most useful, namely reference
books, handbooks and textbooks, and subscribe to the most relevant journals. Directors need
to weigh these needs against competing needs, and make appropriate allocations in budgets.
When some funds are available, how should they be spent? The most renowned
reference books and the most prestigious journals may not be the most relevant and useful
items. What is needed depends markedly on research mandates and geographical situations.
Persons in the institution who are providing an information service either formally through
the library or informally as information gatekeepers can usually identify material that they
have been advised to consult. If there is a major library in the Ministry of Agriculture or
in the agricultural faculty of a national university, its librarians should be able to list the
material that are commonly sought by national researchers. The institution's own scientists
can identify the journals from which they most often request reprints.
If the institution publishes its own reports, it can offer these in exchange for some of the
publications that it is seeking. It can ask the government for an allocation of UNESCO
coupons which, if available, permit foreign purchases for payment in local currency. It
should husband foreign exchange allocations for those items that are most needed and that
cannot be obtained by other means.
Reference works, such as flora, catalogues of agricultural chemicals, national statistical
series and dictionaries are always useful. Basic textbooks may be particularly valuable for
the junior staff, and are essential if the institution is receiving trainees. Scientific journals
represent a continuing expense, and only the most needed should be purchased.
Valuable material can often be obtained free of charge by writing to the technical staff
in various divisions of FAO and in organizations like CTA, IDRC and GTZ. The institution
should also establish relations with those CGIAR centres with which it shares common
interests. However, in writing to any of these bodies, the institution is far more likely to
obtain relevant and useful material if it takes the trouble to explain its work and interests
(i.e., why it seeks particular material) than if it makes bald requests.
Newsletters put out by international and regional organizations give not only interesting
accounts of currently important topics but often also contain information about new
publications and how they may be obtained. CTA's newsletter Spore is an outstanding
example.
At the same time, librarians should not be expected to keep everything that becomes
available or everything that is offered free of charge. Many libraries are sadly cluttered with
material on subjects that are outside the scope of the institutions. Many librarians believe that
they will be admonished if they discard such material on their own initiative. Yet the
irrelevant material impedes the work of librarians and have a negative effect on clients. It
is useful, therefore, to develop a library acquisition and collection policy.







Training manual for institute management 33


To a major degree, the problem of access to agricultural journals can be alleviated by
cooperation among institutions in the same country (or in a group of neighboring countries).
In North America and other market economies, such cooperation is usually on a voluntary
basis. One institution cancels its subscription to an expensive journal once it is confident that
another institution will continue to keep the journal and supply photocopies of individual
articles on request. In some centrally planned economies, this cooperation has been driven
by national policy. Cuba, for example, has been subject to trade embargoes and to an acute
shortage of foreign exchange. In response it set up the Centro de Informacion y Divulgacion
Agropecuria (CIDA) to manage agricultural information for all the national institutions.
CIDA has identified the journals that are most needed in the country; it tries to ensure that
they are all obtained and that money is not wasted on buying duplicates. Each journal is
placed in the institution where it is most appropriate, but the table of contents is reproduced
and circulated to other institutions that may be interested in it. These institutions, in turn,
can call for loans or photocopies of the articles that they particularly need.
If efficiently managed, such cooperation can greatly enhance the cost:benefit ratio for
hard currency expenditures on journals, and each institution has access to many more journals
than it could otherwise afford. As will be discussed in Session 4 of this module, the essential
management tool is a consolidated list (a 'union list') of the journal collections in all the
cooperating libraries. Obviously, however, the formula cannot be applied to reference books
and guides to which scientists need immediate access.


LIBRARY ORGANIZATION


Useful technical advice is given in a book that was specially written for agricultural librarians
in developing countries: Primer for Agricultural Libraries, by Olga LENDVAY (2nd edition,
1980) published by PUDOC, Wageningen, the Netherlands. It is available in English,
French, Japanese, Portuguese and Spanish editions.
A very much more complete and detailed guide is by Claire GUINCHAT and Michel
MENOU: General Introduction to the Techniques of Information and Documentation Work,
published in English and French versions by UNESCO, Paris, in 1983.
Library operations inevitably involve two components:
the work that librarians do to organize their collections through processes such as
cataloguing and indexing (technical services); and
the work that librarians do to satisfy the needs of their clients (public services).
Clearly, without the first the second would be virtually impossible. Nevertheless, the ratio
technical services:public services is one measure of a library's efficiency.
In a totally self-reliant library, every document would have to be properly catalogued so
that it could be found when needed. This, however, involves a heavy commitment of time
to technical services. Thus, for example, at a typical rate of 10 items per working day, it
would require two person-years to construct a full catalogue of a collection of 5 000 reprints.
However, if the library can use externally prepared indexes to the agricultural literature, the
librarian need not catalogue the reprints; she or he need only file them in a way that permits
easy retrieval once a reference is known (the reprints could be filed under the titles of the
journals in which they are published).






34 Module 9 Session 2 Information as an input to research


Can a developing country library obtain indexes to the world's agricultural literature?
In the past it was more difficult than it is today, and the remaining difficulties may be
minimized or overcome in the next few years. In large measure, the improvement is due to
the setting up of AGRIS [International Information System for the Agricultural Sciences and
Technology], an information system that is managed by FAO and that involves the
participation of almost all countries, developed and developing. AGRIS, which will be
described more fully later in this session, has been in operation since 1975. Before it began,
a review indicated that there were more than 500 regular bibliographic products in the field
of agriculture. However, they overlapped with each other and, since they were almost
entirely produced in the developed world, they emphasized temperate rather than tropical
conditions. The most serious impediment then as now is that the best products are
expensive and require hard currency. The abstract journals of CAB International (formerly
the Commonwealth Agricultural Bureaux) and Biological Abstracts are remarkable for their
coverage of the world literature and for the scientific judgment that is given to the selection
of articles and the writing of abstracts, but, typically, their prices put them beyond the reach
of a developing country institution.
Major bibliographic services are also available as databases for on-line searching from
remote locations, but, again, this is costly and it depends on international telecommunication
connections. A really important new development is the use of CD-ROM technology, which
makes whole databases available for local searching on a microcomputer. Efforts are
underway to bring CD-ROM technology to developing countries at reasonable cost.
With these developments near or at hand, a small library should probably not invest in
building a comprehensive local index of relevant journal articles and reprints. Nevertheless,
such a library still needs to catalogue its collection of books and technical reports and to put
them in an ordered display on the shelves. The medium can be traditional 8 x 13 cm cards,
or it could now be a PC running the freely available software known as Micro CDS/ISIS.
In either case, staff need to be trained, but such training is now obtainable in almost every
country.
Micro CDS/ISIS was developed at UNESCO and is periodically updated. It operates on
IBM-compatible PCs, and there are at least 3 000 installations in developing countries. It is
adapted to a wide range of information processing and library management operations. Once
installed for one of these purposes, it can provide the means for experimenting with others.


AGRIS AND CARIS


AGRIS and CARIS [Current Agricultural Research Information System] are international
information systems based on cooperation among national governments, and managed by
FAO. For AGRIS, each country is invited to participate and report the publications and
other documents that have been issued on its own territory. FAO merges the bibliographic
and indexing data that it receives from the participants (describing about 10 000 new
documents each month) and creates a global database that is copied and made available to all
the contributors. Thus, in exchange for its national input, each country receives organized
data from most of the world. AGRIS seeks to be comprehensive and is well on the road to
being so; however, there are a few countries that do not participate, and there are others that
report only part of their national production.







Training manual for institute management 35


Each participating country designates a national AGRIS centre, where the national input
is prepared and the AGRIS products are received. In order to tap into the system and benefit
from the services available, each agricultural research institution should establish proper
relations with its national AGRIS centre. The AGRIS centre receives Agrindex in one of
three language versions: English, French or Spanish. This monthly printed bulletin lists the
new records added to the global database and contains indexes by author, subject and
country. Items of relevance to the institution can be identified, either by manual searching
in Agrindex or by preparing a topic profile and matching it against records in the computer
file at regular intervals. FAO at first carried out a limited number of such operations free
of charge for developing countries, but now AGRIS centres receive the database on CD-ROM
and thus there should be a local capacity to produce outputs for national clients.
Each national centre decides for itself what it will report to AGRIS. The system is
hospitable to records describing informal technical reports as well as more formal
publications, such as those in scientific journals. Because developing countries participate
directly, their production of information is often better represented in AGRIS than in the
commercial systems, and this makes it particularly valuable to developing country research
institutions.
In many areas, it is not necessary to address the total file in order to find the information
that responds to a particular need. AGRIS is being exploited to provide a number of
specialized products, such as national agricultural bibliographies and bulletins on particular
crops. Often these bulletins are available free of charge and can be obtained for use in the
institution's own library. Specialized sub-sets of the AGRIS database can be copied on to
disks in a form ready for application on a local PC loaded with Micro CDS/ISIS. Indeed,
FAO has now developed special enhancements to Micro CDS/ISIS so that it can be used for
managing AGRIS and CARIS files, as well as local data recorded in a compatible format.
Of course, as with other bibliographic services, AGRIS provides only the reference to
potentially relevant documents, and follow-up action is needed to acquire those documents
that appear to be of interest. However, in many cases, a national AGRIS centre can ask for
the help of its partner centres in other countries and obtain copies of the documents that they
have reported to the system.
A parallel system, CARIS, covers ongoing research projects and is compiled in much the
same way as AGRIS, i.e., national CARIS centres report the projects to FAO, which then
incorporates this input into a database. The CARIS files are particularly useful for
identifying institutions (and even individual researchers) that have projects related to one's
own interests and with whom one might wish to establish cooperation in research or exchange
information.
In a similar manner to the distribution of AGRIS data, FAO is currently (1996)
developing software for dissemination of CARIS data on CD-ROM.


SERVICES FOR SCIENTIFIC STAFF


One of the functions of an information unit is to provide a service to the institution's director.
For researchers, the information unit should provide:
a response service, seeking out information in answer to an enquiry;







Module 9 Session 2 Information as an input to research


an alerting service, providing indications of information that is available or that could be
obtained; and
an unsolicited service, where the information unit takes the initiative to find and forward
information that it believes is relevant for the researcher or the team.
Clearly, if the information unit is working in close partnership with the researchers, it can
raise the level of its service and contribute more effectively.
A vital, almost essential, item of equipment is the photocopier. Such a device should be
purchased from a reputable national agent who is capable of providing maintenance, spare
parts and the consumable supplies of paper and chemicals. The long-term operation of a
photocopier is best assured by placing it in a room that can also be used for other sensitive
equipment, such as computers.
Without a photocopier, the information unit must either call scientists to come and read
material in the library or lend out the publication. Assertive scientists will insist on
borrowing, and the library will then be left without the documents, possibly also urgently
needed by other scientists. In extreme cases which, unfortunately, are not uncommon -
the library is left with only the material that no one wants to see. With or without a
photocopier, the director who wishes to have an effective library must support the
information staff in enforcing limits on the duration of loans and ensure that the offices of
individual scientists are not stocked at the expense of the institution's common facilities.
With a photocopier, the information staff can keep original papers where they will remain
available to all users and still provide copies for the scientists to read away from the library.
In an alerting service, for example, the information unit can provide:
photocopies of the tables of contents of journals coming to the library or available from
other sources; and
outputs of searches obtained from AGRIS or other databases.
In a response or unsolicited service, the unit can photocopy pages from reference works or
articles from journals.
Inevitably, scientists and information staff will identify the existence of apparently
interesting documents that are not available locally. There are services, such as those of the
British Library, the French CRNS, and the US National Agricultural Library, which can
provide photocopies of almost anything very promptly, but for a fee. However, these
services are expensive, and developing country institutions must usually find other means of
obtaining the publications needed. As a result, acquisition of documents requires a significant
investment of the time of the information staff but, with experience, they discover which
sources are the most productive. These may include:
the country's national agricultural library or the libraries of other agricultural institutions
and faculties;
the national AGRIS centre, which may be able to request documents from AGRIS
centres in other countries;
depending on the subject, the libraries of CGIAR and other international and regional
centres (e.g., if the needed document deals with potato, it is likely to be available from
CIP);







Training manual for institute management 37


libraries of donor organizations, especially when the institution receives donor support for
its research; or
authors of individual papers (who may send reprints on request).
The institution is likely to find that some of the documents it needs are more readily or more
cheaply available in microform (microfilm, microfiche, comfiche, etc.) than as hard copy.
Modern microform readers are reliable optical instruments that cost a few hundred dollars.
Microfiche reader-printers, which provide enlargements on paper, are considerably more
expensive and, because of the problems of maintenance and supplies, are usually appropriate
only for larger institutions.


ROLE OF DONORS


Not every research institution benefits from the support of international donors, but those that
do have remarkable opportunities to strengthen their information services. What is most
important is to raise the issue in the initial negotiations for a research project. If requested,
donors are often willing to include a budget for information equivalent to 5 to 10% of the
total, although, of course, they will want that money to be used for project-related material.
Such grants may be used for the purchase of relevant books and journals, for equipment,
and perhaps also for the short-term training of an information specialist.
Some donors are also willing to provide an information service tailored to the subject of
the research project. One can ask that databases be searched, first retroactively and then at
regular intervals, to obtain citations of relevant documents and, once these listings have been
reviewed, to go back to the donor for the full texts. Depending on which donor is involved,
the service may be provided by the donor's staff or by another institution in the donor's
country.









Training manual for institute management


DATE


TIME


FORMAT


TRAINER


Plenary participatory lecture


OBJECTIVES
At the end of this session, participants should be familiar with:
1. The concept of information as an output of research.
2. Developing resources for sharing information.
3. Modes of diffusing information and extension material.


Module 9 Session 3


Information as an
output of research







40 Module 9 Session 3 Information as an output of research


Overhead projector and chalkboard


U



U



U



U



U


INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS

Exhibit 1 Information as an output of research
Exhibit 2 Policies and plans

Exhibit 3 Resources needed for publications

Exhibit 4 Annual reports

Exhibit 5 Journal articles

Exhibit 6 Conference papers

Exhibit 7 Institution reports

Exhibit 8 Credits for publications
Exhibit 9 Newsletters

Exhibit 10 Extension material

Exhibit 11 Distribution





REQUIRED READING

Reading note: Information as an output of research.





BACKGROUND READING

None.





SPECIAL EQUIPMENT AND AIDS







Training manual for institute management 41


INFORMATION AS AN OUTPUT OF RESEARCH


Show EXHIBIT 1 and initiate the discussion by asking what are the outputs of research. The
discussion should then be oriented towards the intangible outputs of research i.e.,
knowledge disseminated through consultations, training and publications. Discuss various
forms of publications. Every organization has to evolve a policy and plans for what will be
printed and in what form, keeping in view its objectives (EXHIBIT 2). Publications require
facilities (EXHIBIT 3) and have to be supported by resources. In-house editing, composing,
graphic arts and printing facilities have to be arranged. For covers, a house style should be
adopted for easy recognition. Policies are also required with respect to various forms of
publication. EXHIBIT 4 raises the question of whether an annual report should be
comprehensive or short and lively.
Similar questions arise with respect to other forms of publication. The participants are
probably well aware of the advantages of journal articles (EXHIBIT 5) vis-A-vis conference
papers (EXHIBIT 6). Research institutions could initiate their own series of reports, which
then could also serve the purpose of pre-publications (EXHIBIT 7).
There is an established implicit value system in research organizations regarding credits
for publications. While the general basis is a definite intellectual contribution, sometimes
expected but probably unwarranted credit to the director of the institute or head of the
division can create conflicts (EXHIBIT 8).
Research organizations may have an internal newsletter or participate in a network
(EXHIBIT 9).
Irrespective of whether or not extension is an integral constituent of a research
organization, it constitutes an outreach activity and has to be organized accordingly
(EXHIBIT 10). Extension material can be produced in many forms, but it must be compatible
with the users so as to successfully disseminate the research findings when they are ready for
diffusion.
Every research organization must organize an effective distribution system for its
publications. The focus should be on prompt distribution at the lowest effective cost
(EXHIBIT 11).


Module 9 Session 3

Session guide









TRAINING MANUAL FOR INSTITUTE MANAGEMENT
Module 9 Session 3


EXHIBIT 1


INFORMATION AS AN OUTPUT OF RESEARCH


RESEARCH
I


TANGIBLE PRODUCTS
(e.g., cultivars,
technology)


INTANGIBLE PRODUCTS
(e.g., knowledge,
know-how)


Consultations


Training


Publications
I


* Journal articles
* Conference papers
* Specialized technical
reports
* Reports to sponsors and
donors
* Extension pamphlets
* Audiovisuals









TRAINING MANUAL FOR INSTITUTE MANAGEMENT
Module 9 Session 3


EXHIBIT 2


POLICIES AND PLANS





Institute needs mechanism
MECHANISM
to address issues





When to use:
ORIGINAL journals articles?
RESEARCH conference papers?
technical papers?





Target audience?
ANNUAL REPORT Content?
Style?





SPONSORS
S Who writes?
AND
AND* What reports?
DONORS





Interface with research
EXTENSION What products?
With whom?







TRAINING MANUAL FOR INSTITUTE MANAGEMENT
Module 9 Session 3


EXHIBIT 3


* TECHNICAL WRITING
for annual reports
reports to sponsors and donors
extension materials
* EDITING
avoid unnecessary delay by
compromising on perfection
* TRANSLATING
* COMPOSING
* ILLUSTRATING
graphic arts for tables, figures, page
layout, etc.
clarity and consistency
avoid overdressing
* PRINTING
* COVER DESIGN
house style
* DISTRIBUTING







TRAINING MANUAL FOR INSTITUTE MANAGEMENT EXHIBIT 4
EXHIBIT 4
Module 9 Session 3







ANNUAL REPORTS





COMPREHENSIVE
with exhaustive details of research and results?

OR

SHORT AND LIVELY
focusing on institutional strategies, structure,
resources and achievements?




Comprehensive report can be a management tool, but
is it the best available?


Comprehensive can be considered definitive, but
journal articles are better for reporting research results.


Short and lively is better for sponsors and
stakeholders, including relevant ministers and senior
officials.


Whichever is chosen, it should include key data in
tabulated form: staffing, finances, projects,
publications, etc.







TRAINING MANUAL FOR INSTITUTE MANAGEMENT
Module 9 Session 3


EXHIBIT 5


JOURNAL ARTICLES





Choosing the right journal:

/ Submitted article subjected to peer review?

/ Articles noted by abstracting services?

/ Only short delay before publication?

/ Journal reasonably priced and so accessible to
developing countries?

/ Pre-prints for collaborators, sponsors and donors?










TRAINING MANUAL FOR INSTITUTE MANAGEMENT
Module 9 Session 3


EXHIBIT 6


CONFERENCE PAPERS


EFFECT


* Professional stimulation
* Personal contacts


LIMITATIONS


Not as good as journal articles for definitive publication
because:
No or minimal peer review
Neither as well distributed nor conserved
Unlikely to occur at a time opportune for
publication of final research results










TRAINING MANUAL FOR INSTITUTE MANAGEMENT
Module 9 Session 3


EXHIBIT 7


INSTITUTION REPORTS





Matter unsuited to journal publication


Suitable for publication of:
Data compilations
genotype-environment interactions
soil surveys
annual meteorological and hydrological reports
Reports to partners
Reports to sponsors
Reports to donors
Academic theses


Internal review process

Pre-publications


Editing adjusted to target readership







TRAINING MANUAL FOR INSTITUTE MANAGEMENT EIIT 8
EXHIBIT 8
Module 9 Session 3













CREDITS FOR PUBLICATIONS





FOR
Substantive intellectual contribution


FORM
Scientific credit
Opportunities for advancement


RESPONSIBILITY
First-named author takes overall responsibility
and answers criticism


CREDIT TO DIRECTOR
Director makes an intellectual contribution to all
research, but takes credit only if personally
involved in the project







TRAINING MANUAL FOR INSTITUTE MANAGEMENT EXHIBIT 9
EXHIBIT 9
Module 9 Session 3
















NEWSLETTERS





Typical of research networks


Features
Not a medium for formal research reports
Genuine news
News relevant to the newsletter's readership
Short length (say, 4 pages of A4 size)
Timeliness (at least quarterly)


House newsletters
Supplementary to annual reports







TRAINING MANUAL FOR INSTITUTE MANAGEMENT EX T
Module 9 Session 3










EXTENSION MATERIAL





Form
Pamphlets
Audiovisuals


Compatibility with
Farmers'
values
knowledge
vocabulary
Social structure
Religious structure
Economic possibilities
Labour availability (in time and quantity)


Caution
Development of a product requires:
consultation
testing
If one product fails, it jeopardizes acceptance of
subsequent products
Evaluate products for acceptance and adoption







TRAINING MANUAL FOR INSTITUTE MANAGEMENT
Module 9 Session 3


EXHIBIT 11


DISTRIBUTION





Maximize:
Effective distribution
Effect of institute's research


Mailing list:
Computerize
Classify by subjects' area of interest
Should include
key cooperating scientists
government officials
libraries
national AGRIS Centre
major abstracting and indexing services









Training manual for institute management


INFORMATION AS AN OUTPUT OF RESEARCH


A research institution receives funding so that it may address problems that are considered
important for the national agricultural economy. To respond to this responsibility, the
institution must deliver the products of its work with the greatest possible speed and effect.
The products are both tangible and intangible. Tangible products may include improved
cultivars and more effective technologies; intangible products are new knowledge and
know-how. Intangible products are delivered through consultations, training, demonstrations
and publications.
An institution's reputation and its future funding could depend to a large degree on the
significance, quality and reach of the information that it provides to the scientific community,
sponsors and user agencies.
Information products could include articles for scientific journals, papers for conferences,
the annual report, specialized technical reports published by the institution itself, pamphlets
and perhaps audiovisuals.
To achieve an effective publication programme, an institution needs to have access to a
minimum set of key resources. Depending on the location and its position in the national
research structure, it may be able to call on particular capacities such as for printing that
are available in the private sector or in central facilities. However, for the present
discussion, we are assuming that the institution needs to be largely self-reliant.


POLICY MAKING AND PLANNING


First, there is need to establish a publications policy and set up a process to plan and review
publication activities. This should not be seen as an attempt to impose rigidity. The policy
and plan should allow scope for the initiatives of individual scientists, because most of the
publication opportunities arise as a consequence of their work. However, management should
seek to achieve maximum impact from the effort devoted to the preparation of publications.


Module 9 Session 3

Reading note







Module 9 Session 3 Information as an output of research


The policy and plan should address issues such as:
preferred mechanisms for the publication of original research: when to use journal
articles, conference papers or specialized technical reports;
content and style of the annual report, considering its purpose and to whom it is
addressed;
managing the demands on scientists, assessing what reports must be written (such as for
sponsors, donors, etc.), and how these requirements can be met without writing multiple
accounts of the same work;
defining the interface between research and extension: i.e., what extension materials the
institution should produce and to whom they are to be delivered;
language policies, considering which types of publication should be produced in the
national language and which in an international language; and
managing the support effort, involving deciding what capacities the institution needs for
writing, editing, translating, composing, illustrating, printing and distributing its
publications.
Even if the institution is required to conform to policies and plans determined at a higher
level, it should formulate its own position so that the director can reflect this in discussions
with appropriate authorities.


DEVELOPING ESSENTIAL RESOURCES


Although most research reports are prepared by the scientific staff, an institute needs a
capacity for editing these texts and for the more explanatory type of technical writing (annual
reports; reports to governors, officials and donors; extension materials; etc.). Depending on
the size of the institution, this does not mean that the information unit must necessarily
include persons titled Editor, Technical Writer, etc. A large institution would be well
advised to have such staff, but, in a small institute, these functions could be combined with
others. What is important is that the director should identify the human resources that can
be applied for writing and editing and be sure that they are sufficient.
Any piece of writing can be improved by intelligent editing. Reports that are clear and
concise are far more likely to be read, and to have an impact, than those that are long and
obscure. Despite common misconceptions, turgid prose is not more scientific. Indeed the
best science articles are as easy to read, and as interesting, as a good newspaper story. An
editor needs to have a general background in the subject but, being more distant than the
author, can more easily spot passages that are obscure, and can then suggest how to clarify
them. Every publication going out should be reviewed from an editor's perspective.
That is not to say that the institute should adopt a perfectionist policy. Editing also costs
money and, once a document is reasonably clear, further work is of diminishing benefit.
Timeliness is also important and when the author has finished the first version of an article
the process of editing should not be allowed to delay it for more than, at most, a few weeks.
Someone must exercise judgment and apply a limited editing resource where it will have the
most useful result. A document that will be read by only a few specialists does not justify
the same treatment as one intended for a large audience.







Training manual for institute management 57


Typing, especially foreign-language typing, is a serious bottleneck in many research
institutions. Everything must be typed once but, where possible, every effort should be made
to avoid retyping of the same material (especially where typists lack proficiency and every
retyping introduces new errors). Today, microcomputers are among the least expensive
pieces of research equipment, and every institution needs to have them. When that has been
achieved, the scientists are also likely to have acquired keyboard skills (and, if not, they
would welcome the training). The same word-processing package should be installed on
every machine and all staff encouraged to write with the keyboard. Once the initial
trepidation is overcome, writers enjoy exploiting the word processor to revise and re-arrange
their texts. Then, when the work goes to an editor, it can be delivered on diskette and, after
the editor's contribution has been incorporated, a clean output can be returned to the author
for checking. If the institution has one high-quality printer, it could be reserved for printing
the final version.
Few developing country institutions have adequate skills in graphic arts. This is why they
are often unable to meet the requirements of scientific journals for graphs, tables and charts,
and why their technical reports seem unsightly. Consistency is very important, and both
authors and editors should pay considerable attention to the labelling and titling of
illustrations and to making sure that these are complete and unambiguous.
If the preparation of illustrations is left to scientists and their technicians, it can be
difficult to raise the standards. A technician who draws up graphs and charts only as an
occasional job is not likely to develop appropriate skill and accumulate experience. It is
better to have one studio producing all the illustrations that are to be published. To staff the
studio, the institution may be able to identify one of its technicians who has demonstrated
talent and interest and can be given further training, and then re-assigned to this function.
Costly new technologies are not recommended for a small institution. Even with existing
technologies, much can be done to improve the layout and hence the readability of publi-
cations. It is largely a question of giving adequate attention to the possibilities for neat, clear
presentation and of acquiring the skills to do so. For example, a practised technician will be
able to choose the most suitable dimensions for graphs, tables, charts and photographs, and
to place them in appropriate relation to the text. However, it is important to distinguish
between what is needed for a clear straightforward presentation (always desirable) and any
effort to dress up a publication with tricks like the blocking of histograms (adding a
redundant third dimension) and tinting the background. Superfluous art is not advised and
can be counterproductive, partly because it is effective only when it is done very well, partly
because it often requires high quality paper and printing to be properly appreciated, but
mainly because it gives the impression that the institution believes it needs to sell itself and
is not sufficiently confident of the intrinsic, scientific merit of its work. In text, a justified
right-hand margin (left-hand in Arabic) can appear pretentious, especially if it is achieved by
a process that leaves visible, and hence disconcerting, gaps in many of the lines. Unjustified
margins are perfectly acceptable in technical reports.
Distribution policies will be discussed later in this session. If any report is worth
publishing, it merits reproduction in at least a hundred copies, and perhaps several hundred.
If the institution carries document preparation to the stage of camera-ready copy, printing can
best be done by photo-offset or by use of one of the more modern, heavy-duty photocopiers.
A large institution might have its own print shop for printing and binding, but increasingly
today there are adequately equipped commercial facilities, even in the provincial cities, of
most countries. In using such facilities, however, the institution may need to monitor closely







Module 9 Session 3 Information as an output of research


the work and ensure that the supplier meets the specifications for quality and consistency in
printing, binding and trimming.
A final word on appearance: even though the style should be unpretentious, there is
considerable benefit to be gained from identifying publications as items in a series and in
reinforcing this concept by adopting a standard cover design, colour and format. In this way,
the publications become instantly recognizable, even when seen across a room or from the
other side of a desk. This recognition is an effective reminder of the existence of the
institution and its contributions.


ANNUAL REPORTS


In colonial times, an institution was usually required to produce a comprehensive annual
report. This provided a detailed account of progress for each ongoing research activity and
of the results that it had achieved. Many institutions promulgated the practice into the era
of independence, and some directors sincerely believe that the preparation of this type of
annual report is a necessary management tool. However, it is doubtful whether it is a
document whose use justifies the often very substantial effort required for its production. It
is true that if reproduced in quantity it can be placed in libraries and archives and be cited
as the definitive record of the institution's work, but there are many disadvantages as well:
the writing of contributions for a comprehensive annual report takes up a lot of scientists'
time and, having done this, they are less likely to prepare separate technical reports and
articles for journals;
ensuring consistency and balance among the contributions to a comprehensive annual
report can keep an editor busy for many weeks, thus also diverting a resource that might
be otherwise employed;
the time of writing is dictated by the calendar rather than by the natural rhythm of
research, so that comprehensive annual reports are cluttered with fragmentary accounts
of unfinished work. These can also be misleading because, until the work is finished, the
researcher may not appreciate their true significance;
readers may have to find the relevant sections of several annual reports if they want to
get a full story on, say, a multi-season experiment (and they can do so only if they have
access to a library that has the reports in uninterrupted sequence); and
the comprehensive annual report is too bulky and too detailed for the reader who wants
to obtain an overall understanding of the institution and its work. For such a reader, and
they may include important decision-makers, what is more important is the research
strategy, notable achievements and the information needed to understand how the
institution operates, namely the staff, its structure, relations with other institutions,
finances, etc.
Another option is to produce a relatively short and lively annual report that focuses on the
state of the institution itself rather than on the details of each research project. This would
cover the developments of the last year, changes or improvements in research strategies, and
the capacity to achieve its goals. Such a report might be read by the Minister of Agriculture
in the back seat of a limousine and is likely to have more impact with all of the institute's
stakeholders.







Training manual for institute management


The annual report is a document of record, so even a shorter one needs to include lists
of publications and a series of paragraphs outlining the scope, objectives and status of each
research project. Such information makes the report useful to the scientific community, but
not in the sense of providing clues that can be pursued by personal contact or by requesting
the appropriate publications.
Scientists must write because, like everyone else, they are accountable to those who
provide their salaries and the resources allocated for their work. Usually, they are required
to prepare plans and budgets for the activities that they propose to undertake. They will
again be required to write reports when their projects are concluded. Do research managers
also need formally written annual reports while the work is in progress? For many scientists,
formal writing is not easy, and excessive demands for reporting can detract from the progress
of the research itself. Probably managers have other means to keep their staff on track but,
even if they must insist on written accounts, these could be informal and need not be
enshrined in the annual report. Alternative mechanisms for definitive publication of research
results are discussed in the following sections.


JOURNAL ARTICLES


Session 1 of this module discussed the importance of publishing articles in independent
scientific journals, and the value of such publications for the reputations of authors and of
the institution itself. It also identified some of the obstacles that facing developing country
scientists wishing to publish in the same journals as their more fortunate contemporaries.
One approach is to find journals that are reputable and also hospitable.
Unfortunately, relatively few agricultural science journals are published in the Third
World. There is no advantage in selecting a journal whose standards are lax. The primary
conditions that the journal has to satisfy to be considered of high standard are embodied in
the questions below. If the answers are positive, then the journal in question is a reputable
one.
Does the journal refer all manuscripts for peer review by independent referees? The
dialogue between the author and a referee can be very profitable particularly, for
example, when a paper from a crop-oriented institution is reviewed by a discipline-
oriented referee.
Is the journal noticed by major abstracting and indexing services, such as those of CAB
International and Biological Abstracts? A paper that is not noticed by these services may
escape the attention of much of the scientific community.
Does the journal publish papers without undue delay? If the average lag between
submission and appearance is more than a year, the paper may be out of date before it
appears.
Is the journal accessible in the countries where the work might be relevant? A journal
with a high subscription price will not be found in many Third World libraries.
One example of a useful journal is Turrialba, published by the Inter-American Institute for
Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), San Jose, Costa Rica. It enjoys a good scientific
reputation, accepts papers in English, French and Spanish, and is widely distributed in Latin
America. Another is the Arab Journal of Plant Protection, which publishes in Arabic and






60 Module 9 Session 3 Information as an output of research


English. Some developing countries have national agricultural science journals, and those
that pass the above criteria provide good opportunities for national researchers. It is in the
interest of the institution and its staff to identify a few suitable journals and then develop
good relations with their editors. These issues will be discussed in Session 4 of this module.
However, inevitably, there is some delay between the submission of a paper and its final
appearance, and this militates against the institution's goal of delivering its results as quickly
as possible. What is written for a journal is the ultimate, and should be the best, description
of a piece of work that may have started several years before. At least for a priority target
audience, means should be found to short-circuit unnecessary further delay.
Since journals require very clean typescripts, a high quality version will have been
prepared by the institute, and it can be reproduced locally by photo-offset or photocopier.
These extra copies can be identified as pre-prints and should carry a title page which names
the journal to which the paper has been submitted, as well as a statement cautioning readers
not to cite the paper until it has been accepted. Pre-prints speed up communication with key
collaborators in other institutions and may obviate the need for other forms of reporting to
sponsors and donors. Note, however, that such pre-prints should be produced in only small
number less than fifty copies in order to avoid the article being considered as 'published'
and therefore unacceptable to a journal publishing only work 'not previously published.'


PAPERS FOR CONFERENCES


Conferences enable scientists to meet colleagues with similar interests, to exchange ideas, to
discuss the advancement of knowledge in their subject and its applications, and to plan future
cooperation. Personal contacts established at conferences may endure for many years as the
partners consult by correspondence and exchange news about their professional activities.
Intellectual stimulation is indeed the principal benefit but, nowadays, an invitation to
participate is often linked with a requirement to present a paper. In many cases, such papers
are then published as conference proceedings.
Generally, a conference paper is a poor substitute for an equivalent journal article. It will
be mere accident if the timing of the conference happens to coincide with the completion of
the author's work and the mature interpretation of its results. Conference papers are not
subject to the peer review that is provided by reputable scientific journals, although there may
be some screening of papers to be included in the proceedings as opposed to the pre-prints,
which are published 'as is,' i.e., exactly as delivered by the author and receive no editorial
attention. Conference proceedings are seen to be more ephemeral than journals, and they are
not as well distributed or as well conserved.
An institution having a travel budget can permit its scientists to visit other institutions and
attend conferences. In these fortunate circumstances, the travel programme can be set to
provide the maximum and most appropriate professional stimulation. It need not and
indeed probably should not be made contingent on the preparation of conference papers.
However, an institution that has little or no travel budget does not have the same freedom of
choice and, to stay abreast of developments, it must accept most invitations, even when the
provision of travel costs is made conditional on the delivery of papers. The preparation of
such papers requires considerable effort on the part of the authors, and not necessarily at the
most appropriate time in the development of their research. They accept this additional







Training manual for institute management 61


burden in exchange for the opportunity to refresh their ideas and make new professional
contacts.
Having invested resources in the preparation of a conference paper, the institution should
ensure that it is used to maximum effect. Even if the proceedings are to be published, this
may not happen for a year or more after the actual conference. As with journal articles, the
institution can reproduce pre-prints and distribute them to interested stakeholders and to
partners in other institutes.


SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL REPORTS


Not all research lends itself to publication as journal articles, and yet it needs to be
documented and be made available to the institution's stakeholders and the scientific
community. This is particularly so for work that produces voluminous data sets: few journals
are interested in tabulations that run to hundreds of pages!
Much agricultural research involves studies of interactions with the environment and leads
to compilations detailing the performance of different genotypes, but the results can be
interpreted only if the environment is fully described. Hence, institutions also need to publish
accounts of the soils in which their experiments are conducted, as well as detailed data on
the weather and hydrological conditions in each season. All such compilations, with
appropriate commentaries, can best be produced as technical reports and be published by the
institution itself. As previously suggested, these reports should form part of a series with an
easily recognizable house identity.
However, once a series of technical publications is in place, there is a temptation to use
it for the results of all original research. It avoids peer review and the delays inherent in
refereed journals. That temptation should be resisted, because peer review adds refinement
and credibility. The delay in publication can be circumvented if necessary by distributing a
limited number of pre-prints of journal articles to key recipients.
Institutions may be required to produce progress reports for management purposes or to
meet the needs of donors and partner institutions. Writing burdens of this kind should be
kept to a minimum. There are circumstances, of course, when they are unavoidable. A
donor-supported project, for example, may call for the institution to deliver a substantive
scientific report. If this is produced in only a few copies, it is still likely to be cited by the
recipient and the institution will have difficulty in responding to requests for further copies.
Better, therefore, that the report be reproduced as part of the institution's series of technical
publications and made available to all.
Similarly, if members of the staff combine their research with studies for higher academic
degrees, then their theses represent a considerable investment of resource. With the consent
of the university, each thesis could also be reproduced and incorporated in the publication
series.
It may be useful to set up an internal review procedure to assess the significance and
scientific validity of proposed technical publications, but the institution should not become
overly zealous in pursuit of a uniform style. There is a limit to the amount of editorial effort
available and justifiable, and the first priority will be for items such as the annual report and
for articles to be submitted to journals. Technical reports intended for specialized audiences







62 Module 9 Session 3 Information as an output of research


should not be held waiting for an editorial effort that, because of higher-priority work, may
never become available.


WHO GETS THE CREDIT?


Publications earn professional credit for the scientists whose names appear as authors.
Publications count when scientists are considered for employment or promotion. Hence, the
designation of authors is a serious matter, and institutions need to have an unambiguous
policy to avoid dissension and jealousies among the staff.
For papers in scientific journals, the time-honoured practice is to name as authors all
those who made a significant intellectual contribution, the first-named author being the one
who takes overall responsibility and will respond to any subsequent criticisms. Technical
staff are included as authors if they have also made intellectual contributions, such as to the
design of the methodology or to the interpretation of the results. Those who have assisted,
but not in the fully intellectual sense, are acknowledged in the text.
The same formula can be applied to conference papers and to scientific and technical
reports. What is most important is to be consistent in the application of the policy, and
especially so in any naming of the director. It can be truly said that, having been responsible
for the definition of the entire research programme, the director has made an intellectual
contribution to everything that results. However, for the sake of the morale of the staff, the
director would be wise to relinquish any right to authorship of the institute's research papers,
except of course in a particular case where the director was involved personally and
significantly in the conduct of the research itself.


NEWSLETTERS


Staff members of the institute may be participants in one or more research networks and, if
so, they will be called upon to contribute items to the network newsletters. If an institution
is itself coordinating a network, it will probably become responsible for producing that
network's newsletter.
Such a responsibility need not become unduly burdensome. What is important is to limit
the content to genuine news and not allow the newsletter to become a vehicle for the
publication of research papers (which properly belong to scientific journals or technical
reports). It is also important to maintain a sharp focus on the research topics of the network
and resist the temptation to use the newsletter for more general items about the work of the
institution or developments in other fields. The published items should be concise and,
typically, can involve announcements of developments in the network, new research projects,
appointments and promotions of participating researchers, recent and upcoming meetings, and
important new publications.
Thus restricted in subject scope and to genuine news, the newsletter need not be a weighty
or expensive product. For a specialized topic, the content could normally be covered on one
large sheet of paper folded to make four pages. Offset printing from plates reproduced
photographically from typewritten pages is usually more than adequate: most of the news will






Training manual for institute management 63


be superseded in the next issue, so any one issue has a short useful life. However, the word
'news' implies that the information is recent, and it cannot be recent if the newsletter appears
only once or twice a year. A four-page newsletter issued quarterly is likely to be far more
interesting than one of eight pages that has waited six months; most of the material in an
annual newsletter will already be stale.
Should an institution have a house newsletter to tell its stakeholders about its work, new
projects, events, achievements, staff changes and financial developments? This, of course,
is the main function of the annual report, but, depending on the size of the institution, the
director may feel that the stakeholders need a more frequent supply of information. If so,
two or three issues could be published at fixed intervals between the appearance of successive
annual reports.


EXTENSION MATERIAL


Different research institutions have markedly different responsibilities for extension. Some
are directly involved and have extension agents on staff, while many work through agencies
that have been specially charged with the extension function. In either case, the institution
must tailor its products (pamphlets, audiovisuals, etc.) to the particular needs of the intended
audience. Key concepts here are 'consultation' and 'testing.'
If a researcher were given sole responsibility for preparing a pamphlet, it is not likely that
it would be a success with farmers. Researchers and farmers have very different
vocabularies and each has a separate knowledge system. Recommendations that are
incompatible with the farmers' knowledge system, or not expressed in the farmers'
vocabulary, are not likely to be adopted.
Researchers and extension agents have somewhat closer knowledge systems, but, here too,
there can be important differences. So, even if the institution is preparing material for
extension agents rather than for farmers, there is need for prior consultation.
Before anything is produced, the staff should meet representatives of the intended
audience (farmers or extension agents) and define objectives to which both parties can agree.
If, for example, the production is to be a pamphlet setting out the advantages of a new
practice, the writers must know what the existing practices are and give reasons why the
change would benefit the persons involved. The pamphlet must be written in a language that
the audience understands and be consonant with its values and socio-economic conditions.
Once drafted, the product should be tested with a sample audience: firstly to see whether
it is understood and, secondly, to see whether the content is acceptable. If there is any
possibility that it will be rejected or ignored, the institution should be very careful, because
more than the present product is then at risk. The failure of one product diminishes the
credibility of the process, and makes the task even more difficult next time.
Also, once a product has been out for a year or so, the institution should follow up to see
whether it has had an effect. If the product has not had the effect that was sought, the
institution must find out the reason for the failure. Such a study could throw new light on
the knowledge or value system of the intended audience and lessen the risk the next time.






Module 9 Session 3 Information as an output of research


EXTENDING THE REACH OF PUBLICATIONS


When the cost of the research itself or of the time devoted to the preparation of a report is
considered, the additional cost of reproducing and mailing an extra 100 copies is minimal.
Yet, if those 100 copies are well placed, the action can significantly enhance the credit of the
institution and speed the application of its recommendations.
Managing a list of addresses is simple on a PC. Each address is flagged with codes to
indicate the function and the subject interest of the addressee. When a new publication is
ready for distribution, the appropriate combination of codes is chosen, and the addresses
matching this combination are automatically printed as mailing labels.
The address list should include:
key scientists for the major topics that figure in the institution's research programme.
Using the codes, the institution sends only those publications that match each scientist's
subject interest;
key officials in the Ministry of Agriculture or its equivalent in the local system, the office
of the FAO national representative, public and private institutions concerned with
agricultural development, farm-credit organizations, publishers of agricultural magazines,
professional associations of agricultural engineers, agricultural schools and colleges, etc.
Using the codes, the institution sends to these recipients mainly its publications of general
interest, plus lists of the more scientific publications, which the institution can then supply
in response to a specific request; and
agricultural libraries in the country, key agricultural libraries in neighboring countries,
libraries of regional agricultural organizations, and the library of FAO. Libraries receive
either all publications or a selection, as defined in exchange agreements, and implemented
through the tagging of the database with appropriate codes.
All publications should also be sent to the national AGRIS Centre, so that they can be
recorded in the database and be announced in the various products of the system. The
institution should assist the national AGRIS centre by, for example, including short abstracts
in its publications (the abstracts could then be incorporated in the AGRIS records). The
institution should similarly cooperate with the national CARIS centre to ensure that its
ongoing research projects are described in the international database.
To make its work known even more widely, publications can be sent to CAB International
and to producers of other bibliographic services.
Journal articles will be picked up for AGRIS and CABI by other mechanisms, but
automatic mailing systems can be used to send pre-prints and reprints of these articles to
appropriate key scientists.






Training manual for institute management


DATE


TIME


FORMAT


TRAINER


Plenary participatory lecture


OBJECTIVES
At the end of this session, participants should be familiar with:
1. The core components of a national information system.
2. National agricultural libraries and archives.
3. National AGRIS and CARIS centres.
4. Extension services.
5. Technology for communication.


Module 9 Session 4


Cooperation in national
programmes







66 Module 9 Session 4 Cooperation in national programmes


INSTRUCTION

Exhibit 1
Exhibit 2
Exhibit 3
Exhibit 4
Exhibit 5
Exhibit 6.
Exhibit 7
Exhibit 8
Exhibit 9


)NAL MATERIALS


Core components
Policies and plan
National agricultural library and archives
AGRIS and CARIS National Centres
Agricultural journals
Library network
Extension
Training
New communication technologies


REQUIRED READING

Reading note: Cooperation in national programmes


BACKGROUND READING

None.


SPECIAL EQUIPMENT AND AIDS

Overhead projector and chalkboard


I







Training manual for institute management 67


COOPERATION IN NATIONAL PROGRAMMES


The crucial issue to be addressed in this session is that information systems should be an
essential component of the national agricultural research system (NARS).
Show EXHIBIT 1 and discuss the core components of a national agricultural information
system. Discuss the desirability of setting up a National Agricultural Information Committee
which can develop strategies for core facilities and network activities (EXHIBIT 2)
Generally, the library of the apex agricultural research body also serves as the archive,
since it would have a large collection of publications, national and foreign, and also fairly
sound data sets (EXHIBIT 3). It should
provide a nationwide, prompt and responsive services for supply of photocopies and
publications on loan;
develop a national network of agricultural libraries, with rational sharing of
responsibilities and resources;
organize training, advising on methods and techniques; and
participate in regional and international library networks.
NARS should have a strong voice in the governance of the national library.
Show EXHIBIT 4 and discuss AGRIS and CARIS centres in the national context.
National AGRIS and CARIS centres need the cooperation of all institutions to ensure that
inputs are prepared accurately, promptly and comprehensively. Precision in indexing
requires scientific training. Observe that a well trained team of two can process 2 000 to
3 000 records/year. In large countries, input operations could be distributed over the
regions, as in Germany.
What, could be the possible outputs of AGRIS and CARIS? EXHIBIT 4 lists these
outputs as bibliographies, categorized lists of projects, subject-specific retrospective searches
and indexed bibliographies, and sub-sets of the database.


Module 9 Session 4

Session guide







68 Module 9 Session 4 Cooperation in national programmes


Ask participants about the advantages of agricultural journals. National journals:
provide endogenous publication vehicles inspired by national priorities;
avoid problems associated with foreign journals; and
are hospitable to papers written in the national languagess.
Journals may be multidisciplinary managed by a NARS institution or university or may
be devoted to one discipline and managed by a scientific society (EXHIBIT 5). Discuss the
experience of some of the participants in managing publication of journals. The discussion
should bring forward not only the importance of a rigorous review process to ensure
publishing only the best, but also the need to promote circulation.
Now discuss library networks (EXHIBIT 6). Even if resources were freely available, it
would not be possible for a library to procure everything that is published. Besides resources
being limited, it is prudent to buy what is most needed and give access to all other
institutions, thus avoiding unnecessary duplication. Each library network should rationalize
its holdings by both consolidating collections and recognizing subject specializations, placing
active collections where research is most active in the subject. Library networks should
maximize the cost-benefit ratio for expenditures on subscriptions.
Show EXHIBIT 7 and discuss extension linkages. Observe that research institutions need
links to rural communities. Information flows both ways. Extension workers help farmers
with basic knowledge, introduction to innovations, and problem solving. Extension workers
help researchers with information and data on practices, signals about farmers, and
innovations and problems. Research institutions can produce pamphlets and audiovisuals with
subject matter having scientific validity.
Show EXHIBIT 8 and discuss the need for training researchers and information workers
at national level so as to encourage greater participation from libraries, information science
scholars, regional and international organizations and donors. The training programme
should aim at imparting new information, building skills and sensitizing.
For researchers, training should focus on the writing of scientific papers and using
libraries and information services. For information workers, training should cover basic
issues, new technologies, system utilization (e.g., AGRIS and CARIS) and planning for new
national operations. Conferences and seminars also have training aspects. They provide
professional stimulation.
Conclude the session by discussing new communication technologies which can be
acquired within the available resource constraints (EXHIBIT 9). They facilitate faster
communication.







TRAINING MANUAL FOR INSTITUTE MANAGEMENT
Module 9 Session 4


EXHIBIT 1


CORE COMPONENTS


* National agricultural library and archive

* National AGRIS and CARIS centres

* National agricultural statistics programme

* Agroclimatic and land use databases

* Catalogues of germplasm collections

* National agricultural sciences journal








TRAINING MANUAL FOR INSTITUTE MANAGEMENT EXHIBIT 2
EXHIBIT 2
Module 9 Session 4










POLICIES AND PLAN





Need for a national effort and coordination


National agricultural information committee


Membership
Planners
Decision-makers
Researchers
Development project staff
Trainers and teachers
Extension service staff
Staff of other services (e.g., quarantine)


Secretariat
Information professionals


Objective
Core facilities
Network activities







TRAINING MANUAL FOR INSTITUTE MANAGEMENT E T
Module 9 Session 4 EXHIBIT













NATIONAL AGRICULTURAL LIBRARY AND
ARCHIVES





Collections
National agricultural publications
Relevant foreign publications
National agricultural archives
National agricultural data sets


Services
Nationwide prompt and responsive service for
photocopies and loans
Develop national network of agricultural
libraries, with rational sharing of responsibilities
and resources
Advise on methods and techniques
Organize training
Participate in regional and international library
networks







TRAINING MANUAL FOR INSTITUTE MANAGEMENT
Module 9 Session 4


EXHIBIT 4


Inputs
Accurate
Prompt
Comprehensive


Indexing
Precise, necessitating scientific training


Outputs
AGRIS: national agricultural bibliographies
CARIS: national catalogues of projects
Subject-specific retroactive searches
Subject-specific indexed bibliographies
Sub-sets of databases
SDI services








TRAINING MANUAL FOR INSTITUTE MANAGEMENT E T
Module 9 Session 4










AGRICULTURAL JOURNALS





Advantages
Endogenous publication; vehicle inspired by
national priorities
Hospitable to papers in national languagess;
avoids problems of foreign journals


Type
Multidisciplinary (managed by NARS institute or
university)
Monodisciplinary (managed by scientific or
professional society)


Aim at
Publishing the best (to build up recognized
reputation)


Review and acceptance process
Rigorous


Promote
Circulation







TRAINING MANUAL FOR INSTITUTE MANAGEMENT EIIT 6
EXHIBIT 6
Module 9 Session 4














LIBRARY NETWORK





Purchasing
Most needed publications


Sharing
Reduce costs through mutual access


Rationalize holdings
Union list
Consolidate holdings
Subject specialization


Key variable
Maximize the cost-benefit ratio of expenditure
on subscriptions








TRAINING MANUAL FOR INSTITUTE MANAGEMENT
Module 9 Session 4 EXHIBIT 7




EXTENSION





'w Research institutes need links with rural
communities


w' Information needs to flow in both directions


9w Need staff with a first degree or diploma in
agricultural science


'w Staff with a farm family upbringing understand
rural values, knowledge system, vocabulary,
religious, social and economic frames


6W Extension workers help farmers with
basic knowledge
introduction of innovations
problem solving


9W Extension workers help researchers with
information and data on practices
assessing field-level responses of farmers
results of innovations
identification of emerging problems in the field


ow Production of pamphlets and audiovisual
material


aw Research institutes help ensure their scientific
validity







TRAINING MANUAL FOR INSTITUTE MANAGEMENT EXHIBIT 8
EXHIBIT 8
Module 9 Session 4











TRAINING





National training programme
Larger participation possible compared with
individual institute initiatives
Establishes personal contact network


Programmes for
Researchers
scientific paper writing
using libraries and information services
Information workers (e.g., AGRIS, CARIS)
basic training
new technologies
using systems (e.g., AGRIS, CARIS)
training plus planning for new national
operations


Indirect
Conferences and seminars also have training
aspects and provide professional stimulation and
networking opportunities







TRAINING MANUAL FOR INSTITUTE MANAGEMENT
Module 9 Session 4


EXHIBIT 9


* A lack of easy communication hampers research


* Choose the cheapest and fastest communication
mode
E-mail
telefax


* Constraints
resource availability
infrastructure quality










Training manual for institute management 79


COOPERATION IN NATIONAL PROGRAMMES


We are familiar with the concept of a national agricultural research system (NARS) which
seeks to shape research programmes to address the important issues in the agricultural
economy and to allocate resources to achieve optimum performance. However, without a
parallel national agricultural information system, the process of decision making is almost
certainly impaired: where information services are weak, all participants in the process
(planners, researchers and producers) will be acting without the benefit of knowledge that
could have a bearing on their efforts.
Core components of a national information system include:
a national agricultural library (with archives)
national AGRIS and CARIS centres
a national agricultural statistics programme
agroclimatic and land use databases
catalogues of national germplasm collections
a national agricultural science journal.
To discuss the management of statistical, agroclimatic, land use and germplasm data, we
would require consideration of many technical factors, and these cannot be treated here.
However, it is important to note that if we do not have confidence in the data available it
becomes extremely difficult to plan research effectively, and research itself may be largely
deprived of a very important socio-economic dimension.


POLICY MAKING AND PLANNING


The director of any one institution may not have the power to remedy deficiencies in the core
facilities but, within the councils of NARS, each director can voice the needs and
expectations of the institution and its staff. If the agenda does not allow time and scope for
discussion of the information function, directors can call for the setting up of a national


Module 9 Session 4

Reading Note







Module 9 Session 4 Cooperation in national programmes


agricultural information committee, with broad terms of reference and high-level
representation from the institutions.
It may be argued that scientific information is already the responsibility of national
councils operating across all sectors of the national economy. However, when this is the
case, the councils are usually made up of persons who have full-time professional
involvement in the organization of information and the management of information services.
Such cross-sectorial activity can be very useful in harmonizing practices and ensuring
cooperation between one sector and the next, but such a broad-based council cannot really
address the specific issues of the agricultural sector. Assigning responsibilities and resources
for better agricultural information services needs the consent not merely of the information
professionals but more importantly also of persons who represent the functions that
benefit from these services (planning, research and development, training, extension,
quarantine, etc.). The secretariat of a national agricultural information committee can be
integrated with the secretariat serving other councils in the agricultural sector while, at the
same time, drawing on the technical expertise available in the national agricultural library or
the AGRIS and CARIS centres.
The following sections describe some of the operations that might figure in a national
information programme: first those provided by the central core facilities, and then the more
de-centralized activities that necessarily involve the participation of the country's various
institutions.


NATIONAL AGRICULTURAL LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES


The role of a national agricultural library is complementary to that of the national AGRIS
centre. Although they are treated sequentially in this discussion, there are good reasons for
integrating the two operations.
Depending on the organizational structures that have already developed and the relative
strengths of different institutions, the national agricultural library might be located in a
government department, a major research institute or an agricultural university. It may be
largely independent, or under the aegis of an organization that has responsibility for national
libraries serving all cultural and economic sectors. What is important is that it should be
accorded the mandate and the resources to fulfil a national mission and to provide services
to all bona fide users of agricultural information.
The principal responsibilities of a national agricultural library include:
ensuring that all of the country's agricultural publications are collected, conserved and
made available to users;
acquiring, to the extent possible, those foreign publications that relate to the country's
agriculture;
ensuring the safeguarding of national agricultural archives, and receiving on deposit the
archives of institutions and other bodies that have gone out of existence;
ensuring the safeguarding of national agricultural data sets and, where appropriate,
receiving and providing access to data sets from institutions that are no longer able to
maintain them;







Training manual for institute management


developing a network of agricultural libraries within the country and promoting a rational
sharing of resources and responsibilities, and acting as supplier of last resort within the
network; and
representing the country and participating in regional and international networks of
agricultural libraries.
A strong national agricultural library can provide leadership to institution libraries, including
organizing training and giving advice on technology and methodology. The resources of the
library must be conveniently accessible: if the nation invests in building rich central
collections, these can be of immense benefit to the research stations, but only if the central
library is inspired by the concept of sharing and is equipped to provide photocopies and loans
in prompt response to requests. To ensure that this is so, NARS should have an effective
voice in the governance of the national agricultural library.


NATIONAL AGRIS AND CARS CENTRES


As explained in Session 2 of this module, AGRIS [International Information System for the
Agricultural Sciences and Technology] is a system managed by FAO, with the participation
of most of the countries of the world. Each country reports the publications issued on its
own territory, and the global database is compiled by merging these contributions. The
database and other products of the system are then available to all participating countries.
CARIS [Current Agricultural Research Information System] operates on similar principles
and employs essentially the same methodologies but, in this case, the data relate to ongoing
research projects and the scientists who are engaged in them.
If AGRIS and CARIS centres are to enjoy the respect and cooperation of their partners
in other countries, they must report the national data accurately, promptly and
comprehensively. It is in the interest of every institution and scientist to help ensure that this
is achieved, because accurate records in AGRIS and CARIS earn international recognition
for their research. Institutions should see that their publications carry unambiguous titles,
author names, publishing details and date of issue. Short abstracts are very useful and, for
publications in the national language, it is most helpful to supply English, French or Spanish
translations of the title and abstract. Similar considerations apply to CARIS, and institutions
should volunteer information when they wind up old projects or start new ones.
AGRIS and CARIS centres must, of course, have competent staff, and FAO organizes
specific training programmes for national staff. Some of the data (the essentially
bibliographic data) could be entered by persons without scientific training, but a good
background in science is needed by the person or persons who will assign the indexing terms
to documents and to projects. Precision in indexing is essential for the functioning of a
system that adds more than 100 000 new records every year!
The number of staff depends on the number of items to be reported, and this may prove
to be larger than is immediately apparent. For example, if the publication is a book of
conference proceedings, AGRIS allows a separate record for each paper and, since the papers
will be on different subjects, each will have its own set of indexing terms. Again this helps
ensure that retrievals from the database will more exactly match the interests of an enquirer.
The typical steps are:







82 Module 9 Session 4 Cooperation in national programmes


selecting items to be entered;
providing bibliographic descriptions (which may involve translation or transliteration of
titles);
indexing;
abstracting (abstracting is voluntary); and
either entering the data on a worksheet for later transfer to computer-readable form, or
inputting directly at a terminal.
Whether done by one person or by several persons, the entire process takes about one work-
hour in a well managed operation, but longer if abstracts are involved, and even longer if the
abstracts need to be translated. Thus a well-trained team of two could produce about 2 000
to 3 000 records per year.
Because training is wasted (i.e., forgotten) if it is used only occasionally, most countries
find it convenient to centralize input preparation for AGRIS and CARIS, although a large
country has the option to de-centralize. For example, in Germany, which is a major
producer of agricultural publications, the AGRIS territorial formula has been extended to the
states that make up the Federation. Each state has its own AGRIS unit, and the national
centre merges the records from the states for forwarding to FAO. This arrangement has
proved effective because it places the AGRIS unit closer to the sources of publications, thus
lessening the possibility that items will be missed and permitting easier consultations with
publishers when problems arise.
AGRIS and CARIS centres are concerned with outputs as well as inputs. The products
most often required are a periodic (typically annual) national agricultural bibliography out of
AGRIS, and an occasional listing of projects out of CARIS. The national bibliography
provides not only the material published in the country, but also material published elsewhere
if it originated in the country or relates to its agriculture.
AGRIS and CARIS centres can also work with FAO to generate subject-specific
outputs, either as an informal product for a few clients or as a fully indexed publication, for
example, on a crop, disease or pest of vital interest to the national agricultural economy.
Since 1990, AGRIS has been available on CD-ROM, thus permitting national centres to
produce these outputs locally. A similar process is being developed for CARIS.
FAO has recently developed an elegant enhancement of Micro CDS/ISIS which
facilitates input to AGRIS and CARIS, as well as processing outputs from sub-sets of these
databases. The programme package can be obtained free of charge to bona fide users, and
duplicated for use in local institutions. It thus gives every institution the possibility of
managing its own small database which, in part, may consist of records downloaded from the
big system, but which is then enriched by records prepared locally: for example, for internal
documents or for those which, because of their age, source or character, are not now
acceptable to AGRIS. The package is user-friendly and is available with documentation and
training. It permits even small institutions to gain experience in the application of computers
to information management.







Training manual for institute management 83


NATIONAL AGRICULTURAL SCIENCE JOURNAL


The difficulties that often confront national researchers when they attempt to publish articles
in foreign scientific journals were discussed in Session 1 of this module. Partly to avoid
these difficulties, but mainly to provide a truly endogenous vehicle for developing-country
research, some national institutions have started publishing journals of their own. We should
distinguish between two different products:
a journal published within a developing-country NARS, primarily as a vehicle for papers
written by national scientists and with a subject scope that is multidisciplinary; and
a journal published by a professional society, either national or regional. In this case, the
scope is defined by the discipline that the society serves.
Journals of the first type are managed by a major institution or faculty within NARS. This
sometimes casts a shadow on their perceived standards ('Was that paper accepted because of
its scientific quality or because of the author's high rank in the NARS?'). However, if such
a journal engages independent referees to evaluate all submissions, it can overcome these
doubts and earn international recognition for its standards. Some of the now prestigious
journals in industrialized countries started out in just this way.
Unfortunately, there are fewer journals of the second type. Here the presumption of
independence can be much stronger. The referees are leading authorities in their disciplines,
and the review process can be quite productive while also being rigorous.
Often, one of the motives for launching a new journal is to provide an outlet for papers
written in the national language, though many such journals are now bilingual, with English,
French or Spanish as the alternative languages. They accept papers in either language and
provide abstracts in both. In a small number of cases, the journals are multilingual,
reflecting the language situation in a region or a particular cluster of countries.
The first requirement for success in any of these ventures is to have a national
consensus to support it. Rival initiatives from different institutions are a sure recipe for
disaster. The institution undertaking the effort needs adequate financial resources for the
initial start-up period, and it would be wise to appoint a truly representative editorial board
and include scientists from all the institutions that have major programmes in the subject
field.
Institution directors should encourage their senior scientists to accept invitations to join
the editorial board of a national multidisciplinary journal and, where appropriate, to join the
editorial boards of journals set up as a result of serious and realistic efforts by national and
regional professional societies. Directors should also encourage scientists to offer their
articles for publication in national rather than foreign journals. Sometimes an author would
prefer a foreign journal for reasons of prestige, but the long-term goal should be to engender
respect for the national journal (and thus for the national research programme). This will not
be achieved if the best articles are sent elsewhere.
Large scientific libraries are cluttered with single issues of journals that died with the
first volume. A new journal must survive for several years before it is accepted as credible
and before it receives enough paid subscriptions to cover its costs. In fact, a journal
published in a developing country has a measure of comparative advantage if it survives those
first few years. There are major libraries in industrialized countries that are obliged to







Module 9 Session 4 Cooperation in national programmes


acquire all significant material that relates to their field, and what is a fair price in dollars
or deutsche marks can go a long way to pay salaries and production costs in a developing
country. However, to tap this market, the journal must earn recognition. Initially, a few
free copies should be sent to some of the world's major agricultural libraries (such as those
that are members of AGLINET) and to abstracting and indexing services such as those of the
Institute for Scientific Information and CAB International. Cooperation with the national
AGRIS centre ensures that articles published in the journal are promptly reported to AGRIS.
These actions lead to a more general recognition, and that is a passport to a larger market.


COOPERATION AMONG LIBRARIES


Reference has been made several times to the problems of having access to the world's
agricultural literature, especially that which is embodied in journals and series. In a recent
study carried out by the US National Agricultural Library, CAB International and FAO,
respondents identified more than 11 000 journals and series that are devoted to agriculture
and closely related fields. These came from 129 different countries, and even the richest
libraries would be unable to build a comprehensive collection. Given a reference to an
apparently interesting article, what are the chances that the journal can be found in the
institution's library or at one of the libraries in the country? The probability can be
maximized if the journals have been carefully selected because of their relevance and if,
nationally, collective resources are carefully used to acquire as many journals as possible
without avoidable duplication. Cuba has set up a centralized programme to achieve these
objectives. However, many institutions would see the Cuban model as potentially
bureaucratic and would prefer to retain a larger measure of freedom in choosing the journals
for their own libraries.
A compromise is needed to preserve an institution's autonomy while ensuring that,
nationwide, libraries cooperate and avoid overlap as much as possible. It is this that leads
to the concept of a national network of agricultural libraries, in which each has access to the
collections of others.
Of course, the network can operate only if each library knows what is available at other
libraries. The essential tool for this is what is termed a union list of serials. All the
available journals are tabulated, and under each title is noted which volumes are held at
which library.
Both nationally and internationally, there is now considerable experience in the
compilation of union lists, and the data can be recorded in simple computer systems. The
very process of preparing the data requires each library to put its material in order, which
anyway is a good housekeeping discipline!. Once the union list is constructed, updating the
records becomes routine.
A first scan of a union list will reveal evident opportunities for economy and
rationalization. For example, if one library holds early volumes of a journal while another
has a current subscription, it is likely that the network would be better served by
consolidating the holdings of this journal at one place. Obviously, if two or more libraries
are subscribing to the same journal, it would be better to avoid the duplication and use the
money saved for another journal that nobody has yet obtained.







Training manual for institute management 85


A well developed national library can play a leadership role and recommend a measure
of specialization by discipline. Thus, for example, if one institution's library accepts the role
of developing itself as the national resource in agricultural entomology, collections in this
discipline could be concentrated there, and its librarian provided with the tools (relevant
abstract journals and sub-sets of AGRIS) for responding to enquiries from other institutions.
Network cooperation depends on easy communication and a photocopier in each
participating library. For a truly remote station, easy communication may mean a four-
wheel-drive vehicle to carry the mail, and messages may still take a few days in each
direction. Clearly scientists will be assured of faster service where the libraries use telex or
telephone, and, if the telephone system permits, even electronic mail (E-mail) and telefax.
There may be a danger that a national agricultural library will seek to dominate, take
the lion's share of the national budget for journal subscriptions, and make institution libraries
dependent for service and photocopies. Centralization of collections is probably an advantage
in dealing with the rarer and less frequently used materials, but the other institutions should
resist if the central library seeks to monopolize the current material in active use. The
quality of an information service depends on the base from which it is provided: to use the
example previously offered, the service in agricultural entomology will be more useful if it
is provided from an institution that has not only the major library collection but also the
country's principal team of scientists active in the discipline.
So the network should be balanced, each member library with its own area of special
competence, and each acting as both provider and receiver. Established according to this
principle, an agricultural library network is the best guarantee that a country obtains
maximum benefit from its expenditure on scientific journals.


EXTENSION SERVICES


Depending on their structure, research institutions may or may not have direct responsibility
for extension. Nevertheless, it is clearly in their interest as well as in the national interest
- that rural communities be linked to the research establishment and that the links allow
information to flow in both directions. Directors of research institutions have an important
role to play in the design and operation of national extension systems.
In most countries, human resources are not a limiting factor. Worldwide, colleges and
universities are now producing large numbers of graduates with diplomas or first degrees in
agricultural sciences. Many of them come from farming families, so they have personal
experience of rural life, speak rural dialects and understand the knowledge and values that
determine how farmers act. These human resources need to be mobilized to reach the rural
population.
To do so, the extension service should be as close to farmers as possible. A city-based
extension service is almost doomed to fail. Extension workers should spend very little time
behind desks, and a lot of time on motor-cycles and bicycles as they travel from village to
village and farm to farm. This indicates a network of many small offices rather than large
concentrations of staff. If possible each office should have a telephone as well as transport
to link it to sources of expertise.







86 Module 9 Session 4 Cooperation in national programmes


In providing assistance and advice to farmers, extension workers may act in a number
of areas:
Basic knowledge In general, farmers already have the knowledge and skills required for
the operations in which they are regularly engaged. However, when a farmer changes
practices, buys a new machine or plans to grow a crop that is new in the community,
the extension officer may be called upon to provide information.
Innovation The extension worker becomes involved as a go-between and interpreter when
researchers cooperate with farmers to develop and test innovative technologies, and tries
to spread the new technologies that prove to be superior to those in current use.
Problem solving The extension worker seeks to be the farmer's friend. A mature
extension worker may be able to offer solutions to farmer's problems based on previous
experience, but, when a new problem arises, the extension worker may need to bring
it to the attention of other colleagues, to a research institution, to a farm-credit
organization or to any of many other agencies.
In providing assistance to researchers, extension workers may deliver:
Solicited information For example, a researcher asks the extension worker to describe
or collect data on farming practices and their consequences.
Unsolicited information For example, an extension worker encounters unusual situations,
such as disease or pest outbreaks, or observes innovative practices initiated by farmers,
and brings these to the attention of researchers.
Extension workers need to be supported by services that can produce pamphlets, manuals and
field guides. Where resources permit, these can be reinforced by radio programmes and
audiovisual material on video-cassettes. The participation of research institutions helps ensure
the scientific integrity of all such products.
Each country needs to work out its own organizational structure for the development,
operation and scientific support of extension services. However, unless the research
institutions are deeply involved, they will be in danger of losing their relevance to the
productive sector.


TRAINING


Obviously, it is difficult for an institution acting alone to organize the training required in the
development of its information services. More opportunities become available if all
agricultural research institutions work together to identify national needs and formulate a joint
training programme. For each course within the programme, each institution can nominate
participants according to local needs.
Some countries have institutions for librarianship, information science or
communications science, and their cooperation can be sought in implementing the proposed
programme. On behalf of NARS, requests can also be put to international and regional
schools and agricultural organizations, such as IICA, CGIAR and AOAD. Some centres
provide training opportunities in information work, as do FAO and several donor agencies.
Generally, it is more useful for a country to define its national needs first and then to ask
these bodies for their cooperation. Indeed, while the agencies that offer training do set up







Training manual for institute management 87


their own programmes, announce courses and invite registrations, they are better assured of
the relevance of their work when the needs are a priori specified by the NARS. Some of the
activities that might be included in such training programmes are considered below.
For researchers:
Training in writing and presentation of scientific papers and reports.
Training in the use of libraries and information services to meet general and specific
requirements.
For agricultural scientists undertaking information work:
Training in the basic principles and techniques of information science and communications
science.
For all information staff:
Refresher courses in information science and communications science.
Intensive courses in the application of a particular technology, e.g., Micro CDS/ISIS,
CD-ROM databases, etc.
Training in the use of existing systems, including AGRIS, CARIS, commercial systems,
etc.
Training in the planning and design of national systems and programmes (e.g., a national
table-of-contents service; the construction of a national union list of serials; the use of
audiovisuals in extension services).
As discussed in earlier sections, professional stimulation is also provided for both researchers
and information and extension staff by attendance at appropriate conferences and seminars.


TECHNOLOGY FOR COMMUNICATION


Throughout these sessions, the importance of interpersonal communication as a means to gain
access to available knowledge has been stressed. When we seek information, most of us
begin by asking someone we trust, and we go looking in a library only if we have been not
been able to get what we need from our colleagues. In developed countries, scientists make
frequent use of the long-distance telephone, and the benefit of even a short face-to-face
meeting is often seen to justify the cost of an airline ticket. However, these mechanisms for
communication are now supplemented by new and relatively cheap technologies, such as
E-mail and telefax. As the quality and extent of telephone systems are improved, these new
technologies will also become appropriate for developing countries.
Typically, NARS may involve several locations in the capital city plus a number of
research stations in the provinces. These need to communicate with each other, with the
agricultural faculties in the universities and colleges, with various offices of the ministries and
with extension services in rural areas. Domestic E-mail offers a new option if the telephone
system is reasonably reliable. One needs a terminal and modem at each location, plus a
central computer where each message is stored until it is retrieved by the addressee(s). Since
messages can be composed before the connection is made, even quite long statements can be
transmitted very quickly, and the duration of the telephone connection is typically much less
than that needed for a conversation by voice, and the cost is proportionately less.







88 Module 9 Session 4 Cooperation in national programmes


Internationally, the CGIAR system was quick to set up an E-mail network linking the
IARCs, many of their outreach offices and many of the donor agencies. There are now
nodes in a number of developing countries, and it is time to consider how a NARS could
follow this pioneering experience and also use E-mail to send international communications:
more speedily than by post and more cheaply than by telex or courier. Various networks are
under development and, while it is true that someone has to pay for the costs, the amount
mainly depends on the tariff in the originating country. So the telecommunication cost is
payable in local currency and where there are hard currency charges, they may be negotiable.
The cost of telefax equipment has fallen considerably. Reliability has improved as the
designers have sought to overcome the problems caused by 'noisy' telephone lines. Telex
has almost disappeared from industrialized countries, because telefax is much cheaper and
the text does not need to be specially keyed. Telefax, which is essentially a mechanism to
provide a remote facsimile of a written message, is now becoming commonplace in
developing countries. As with photocopiers and computers, telefax machines should be
purchased from national agents who can guarantee service and consumable supplies, and they
should be operated under relatively dust-free conditions.
Compared with the cost of much research equipment or the acquisition of another
vehicle, equipment for E-mail and telefax is relatively inexpensive and goes a long way to
provide developing country institutions with a communications capability similar to that
enjoyed by institutions in developed countries.
Of particular interest is the recent burgeoning of the Internet, with its potential for
cheap communication by E-mail, direct on-line communication in real time, active
participation in special interest groups and bulletin boards, and the opportunity to seek
information worldwide.






Training manual for institute management 89


DATE


TIME


FORMAT Group exercise, followed by a plenary participatory session


TRAINER


OBJECTIVES

At the end of this session, participants should:
1. Be conscious of barriers to the flow of information in their countries.
2. Be able to identify constraints to ideal information flow.
3. Be able to evolve solutions and strategies to overcome constraints to information
flow.
4. Have an understanding of considerations in information systems design.


Module 9 Session 5


Barriers to the flow of information







90 Module 9 Session 5 Barriers to the flow of information


INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS

Exhibit 1 Functions of some information services in minimizing difficulties of
information users
Exhibit 2 Some decisions in information system design




REQUIRED READING

Exercise: Barriers to the flow of information (worksheet)




BACKGROUND READING

1. Abdus Sattar, & Lancaster, F.W. No date. The Role of the Information Specialist
in the Dissemination of Agricultural Information. Interpaks [International Program
for Agricultural Knowledge Systems], Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign,
USA.
2. Admimorah, E.N.O. 1977. Agricultural librarianship, documentation and
information science in Nigeria. International Library Review, 9: 413-280.
3. Menou, M.J. Agricultural librarianship and documentation as a profession
in the less developed countries. pp. 211-216, in: Agricultural Information
to Hasten Development Proceedings of the 6th World Congress of IAALD.
Los Banos, the Philippines.
4. International Rice Research Institute. 1980. Communication Responsibilities of
the International Agricultural Research Centres. Los Banos, the Philippines:
IRRI.




SPECIAL EQUIPMENT AND AIDS

Overhead projector and chalkboard







Training manual for institute management 91


BARRIERS TO THE FLOW OF INFORMATION


The worksheet on barriers to flow of information should be distributed to the programme
participants the evening before this session is programmed so that they can consider the
questions raised in the worksheet.
The session should begin with discussion in small groups. Participants from different
countries should provide answers to the three questions raised in the worksheet:
What is the ideal situation for information flow in your country? What response would
you like when you need information for a specific R&D project?
What are the constraints to the ideal information flow described?
What solutions or strategies are available for overcoming the constraints and barriers?
Before concluding their group discussions, participants should group items into similar
categories.
The plenary session should be conducted by asking the participants each of the three
questions raised in the worksheet.
The session should provide ample opportunity for the participants to share their country
experiences and discover commonalities in the barriers, constraints and strategies.
Show EXHIBIT 1 and discuss how to minimize difficulties for the information users. The
exhibit discusses user difficulties of the world of information. Each of these difficulties
should be discussed, identifying system capabilities which would help overcome the specific
difficulties.
EXHIBIT 2 identifies some decision areas in information system design. This exhibit
should help to summarize the key issues discussed in Module 9 as a whole. The discussion
can be summarized by observing that:
Agricultural documentation and information work is difficult because
agriculture draws from various disciplines in the sciences, arts and commerce, which
makes it both interdisciplinary and complex,


Module 9 Session 5

Session guide




University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs