Online Course for Low-Income Countries

Written by helen.okpala
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ASIRA (Access to Scientific Information Resources in Agriculture) Online Course for Low-Income Countries


ASIRA (Access to Scientific Information Resources in Agriculture) is an online course for low-income countries delivered by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in collaboration with Research4Life. The goal of the online course is to provide a platform to enhance the visibility, accessibility and usability of agricultural data and science particularly in low-income countries. It is designed specifically to serve the needs of researchers, librarians and even students who are operating in agricultural sciences from nutrition to fisheries in becoming familiar with academic publishing landscape, latest trends, and using scholarly information resources efficiently including the legal aspect of the field. It was first announced in January 2017 and performed first time from 13th February and 10th March.

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Course Design

The course is provided in English. It consists of three units as follows including eight lessons. The course lasts four weeks having an assesment and evaluation at the end. Participants are expected to spend six-hour weekly on average to complete readings and engage in activities such as online tutorials and webinars. Attendance of certificate is provided for those who passed the end of course exam.

  • Unit I: Scientific Publishing Landscape
  • Lesson 1: The scientific publishing landscape
    Lesson 2: Overview of research and publishing environment in agricultural sciences
    Lesson 3: Local information and global access systems
  • Unit II: Accessing scientific information resources in agriculture
  • Lesson 4: Identifying information sources
    Lesson 5: Using information sources
    Lesson 6: Information resources in agricultural sciences
  • Unit III: Using search results
  • Lesson 7: Citing and referencing
    Lesson 8: Intellectual property and copyright

The course is open to anyone working in agricultural science related institution or studying in agricultural and related sciences can apply for the course. Priority is Research4Life eligible countries, group A and group B respectively. Those who pass the end of course exam successfully ware awarded with a course completion certificate.

ASIRA Online Course was enriched by webinars designed to give course participants broader perspective in the relevant areas.

1st. Ed. ASIRA online course (13th February – 10th March):

First edition of the course was from 13th February to 10th March, 2017. 60 participants from 24 countries took the course including researchers, librarians and professors related to the agricultural domain.

2nd Ed. ASIRA Online Course (10th April – 5th May)

Second edition of ASIRA online course was provided from 10th April to 5th May, 2017. 95 participants from 20 different countries were provided the course including researchers/ academics (50%), librarians (26%), students (7%) and others.

3rd Ed. ASIRA Online Course (19 June – 14 July)

Third edition of ASIRA online course will take place from 19th June to 14 July, 2017. Call for applications is open until June 4th. More detail on the call and application process can be  found on the call post.

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