Knowledge and Data Sharing

CCAFS aims to providing a “one-stop-shop” for its information and data products generated and expects to attract data contributions from scientists working in related areas even if not directly funded by CCAFS. With development outcomes in mind, the program will increase accessibility, visibility and usability of scientific outputs by a global community.

In accordance with the CGIAR Open Access and Data Management Policy (OADM), CCAFS is mandated to produce international public goods and ensure that they are open via FAIR data principles – that is, they are Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Re-usable to enhance innovation, impact, and uptake. CCAFS has developed its Data Management Strategy (DMS) to enable the program to fulfil its obligations with respect to making information and data products supporting documentation from its research globally available.

Data Management Strategy Summary

The aim of the Data Management Strategy is to support and guide researchers and partners in producing and sharing high quality data outputs, while at the same time enabling a variety of data management procedures and good practices at project level. Much of this process is being guided by the CCAFS Data Management Support Pack. The pack provides resources for researchers to produce well managed, high quality and well documented datasets that are easy to use, both now and into the future.

Various data portals, including DataverseGCM Downscaled Data Portal (CCAFS Climate), CCAFS Analogues, AgTrials Database, and CGSpace all serve as entry points for accessing the data that is being produced. A number of other data products are hosted through the CGIAR Centers themselves and not just through the above portals. These portals have been specifically designed for common types of data where researchers can publish their data. These significantly increase the accessibility and visibility of scientific outputs to the global community.

Goal and Guiding Principles

The goal of CCAFS Data Management Strategy (DMS) is for CCAFS information and data products to be available for long-term use by partners and the scientific community.

In defining the DMS, the following principles were adopted:

  • Accessibility
  • Ease of use
  • Ethical use and sharing of personal and private data
  • Provision of support for data generators
  • Ensuring that credit and visibility go to data generators
  • Adherence to international standards for data storage

The objectives of this strategy are as follows:

  1. To guide CCAFS in designing and implementing support mechanisms to reach the goal.
  2. To make available high quality data to potential users now and well into the future.
  3. To encourage appropriate levels of standardization, adoption of international standards and harmonization so that data from separate research activities can be brought together to enrich our understanding of processes, outcomes and impacts in the areas of the world where CCAFS Works.
  4. To promote the production of FAIR outputs.

Coordination and decision making

The development and implementation of the CCAFS DMS is coordinated by the CCAFS Knowledge and Data Sharing team at CIAT. Decisions are closely coordinated with the CCAFS PMC as well as the monitoring, evaluation and learning team (MEL). Strategies and other key decisions go to ISC for approval. To ensure the adherence to common standards CCAFS collaborates closely with the Knowledge and Data Management teams of CIAT, System Office, CGIAR Centres and key partners (e.g. University of Reading).

Promoting CCAFS DMS Implementation

Three key elements are essential to the implementation of this strategy:

  1. Establishing a process
  2. Supporting compliance
  3. Enabling a data culture

CCAFS will develop and implement an internal communications strategy that deals with a spectrum of users and activities, including:

  • Training Open Access Ambassadors from CCAFS Flagships, regions and Centres.
  • Presence on CCAFS Intranet and website of open access guidelines, tips and tools.
  • Annual statistics report of CCAFS information and data products.
  • Content from CCAFS repositories automatically fed to CCAFS website to showcase information and data products and raise awareness of the repository and its uses.
  • Communications staff share new products and publications via social media and other channels in order to enhance dissemination and generate enthusiasm for information and data products
  • Participate in a CIAT-led community of practice of data managers and focal points for data management, and in CGIAR-wide communities of practices on Knowledge Management, Open Access Implementation Working Group and Data Management Task Force.
  • Inclusion of Open Access and Open Data targets in internal performance management indicators, to monitor progress on targets.
  • Develop awareness amongst key CCAFS people of CCAFS policies and guidelines.

Open Access

Open Access means the immediate, irrevocable, unrestricted and free online access by any user worldwide to information products, and unrestricted re-use of content (which could be restricted to non-commercial use and/or granted subject to appropriate licenses in line with the CGIAR Intellectual Assets Principles), subject to proper attribution.


  • Improves the speed, efficiency and efficacy of research
  • Enables interdisciplinary research
  • Assists novel computation of the research literature
  • Allows the global public to benefit from CGIAR research

Open Access definitions

  • Gold Open Access: Publications are free to read and free to re-use. E.g.: CC-BY license. Usually involves the payment of an Article Processing Charge (APC) to the publisher.
  • Limited Access: Third parties may sometimes impose downstream restrictions on the global accessibility of the resulting intellectual assets (intellectual property rights - confidential information, limited exclusivity agreements, restricted use agreement - restricted access and/or effective date restriction - embargoed periods.
  • Self-archiving (Green Open Access): Publication is not available free of charge on the publisher’s website, but authors can self-archive the research output (pre-print or post-print depending on the journal’s policy) into the institutional repositories (i.e.: CGSpace) with proper attribution, after the embargo period (between 6-48 months, depending on the journal’s policy).

FAIR Data Principles

FAIR Data Principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) support knowledge discovery and innovation as well as data and knowledge integration, and promote sharing and reuse of data. The principles help data and metadata to be ‘machine readable’, supporting new discoveries through the harvest and analysis of multiple datasets.


  • Gaining maximum potential from data assets
  • Increasing the visibility and citations of research
  • Improving the reproducibility and reliability of research
  • Staying aligned with international standards and approaches
  • Attracting new partnerships with researchers, business, policy and broader communities
  • Enabling new research questions to be answered
  • Using new innovative research approaches and tools
  • Achieving maximum impact from research

How to make data FAIR?

Findable – assigning a globally unique and eternally persistent identifier (like a DOI or Handle), describing the data with rich metadata, and making sure it is findable through disciplinary discovery portals.

Accessible – data and metadata should be retrievable in a variety of formats that are sensible to humans and machines using persistent identifiers.

Interoperable – the description of metadata elements should follow community guidelines that use an open, well defined vocabulary.

Reusable – the data should maintain its initial richness. The description of essential, recommended, and optional metadata elements should be machine processable and verifiable, use should be easy and data should be citable to sustain data sharing and recognize the value of data.

Key contacts

David Abreu

Hector Tobon
Knowledge and Data Sharing Coordinator
Knowledge and Data Sharing Technical Manager