Learning from others: which additional activities to cope with?

Which activities ICRA is offering now?

Since the launch of the new version of our wbesite, activities and benefits that members can enjoy are:

♦ information from posts submitted by members

♦ information on cotton-research related events

♦ information on demands and offers of research collaboration, including job vacancies

♦ advanced tool to inform on each member’s profile, with particular focus on his/her research projects and publications

♦ forum discussions, open to all members or restricted to members of small groups, as many groups as desired

♦ wiki function for collaborative writing of books in the prospect of generational transfer

♦ WCRC with a periodicity of around 4 years

ICRA is so far particular by not having its own scientific journal.

What other similar associations are offering?

To my knowledge, most if not all associations of researchers have been set up around the publication of an established and acknowledged journal. This is what I have been observing in the area of economics, like for the International Association of Feminist Economics (IAFFE), or for the International Association of Agricultural Economists (IAAE).

With reference to the two mentioned journals, I observe that activities/benefits they have been proposing on fee-payment basis are the follwing:

♦ subscription to a journal

♦ annual or pluri-annual conference, possibly at various geographic scales

♦ forum discussions

♦ member directory, handbook

♦ newsletter, alerts

♦ compilation of bibliographies

It would be great that we could process more systematically about the activities of existing researchers/scholars’ association by discipline. I hope that this suggestion will provoke reactions and some of you will volunteer to contribute.

Young, but not lagging so much behind

Through the two examples I have analyzed, for sure the sample is too small, I can claim that our activities are not so much lagging behind. I can even assume that our forum tool is more advanced than in other associations. I could also hypothesize that the operation of our tools are less centralized, hence more open and flexible in their use.

Nevertheless, however valuable our tools or activities could be, they only make sense if ICRA members actually make use of them. This is not yet the case. Maybe reaction to this post will be a good start?

First survey: Results

Short note on the results of the ICRA’s first survey

Out of 571 registered members, 142 have responded to the first survey which lasted from May 31 to June 10.
Detailed results are presented in the file “survey_illu.pdf” attached to this post.

Information obtained is as follows:
– Our current website remains visited not very frequently
– A forum function is found valuable, particularly if adapted to members’ desire
– A forum function should help the interaction between researchers regardless of geography, discipline and topic, and to which most responding members will contribute, provided that their registration enables them to be alerted of any addition to forum.
– Generational transfer is felt important to very important, because a majority of responding members claims to have benefitted from it, or have provided it, although only a minority was able to point out topics worth for generational transfer;
– Almost all responding members find important to keep memory of how technical issues have emerged and how technical solutions have been carried out.
– Generational transfer should also address socio-economic issues
– It is desired that ICRA website contains a function destined to generational transfer…
– …although a small minority indicates what would be topics or solutions worth for generational transfer…
– …and the ideas they have given ((files TopicsWorthTransfer.pdf and SolutionsWorthTransfer) and show that
– Most responding members find valuable that ICRA helps know who’s who in cotton research, notably on members’ careers and on their research projects somewhat comprehensively
– Responding members do not have dominating idea on how ICRA should help them to keep record of their research projects, and most do not know any existing tool for that
– The same applies to the recording of members’ papers, not to be addressed comprehensively although not limited to peer-reviewed papers
– A search engine must be integrated into the Who’s who function, and export of search results must be made possible, for which pdf format is found acceptable
– Respondents find valuable that ICRA sets up a stock exchange of offers and demands for collaborative activities, to which most respondents find potential interest, provided that demands and offers are somewhat comprehensively characterized and registration enables to be alerted of new items
– Almost all respondents want the information on events to be maintained in ICRA website, with more information, notably on ICRA members’ attendance to announced events
– Respondents are happy with the current ICRA logo, and find the website attractive
– Only a few respondents have found there were issues that ICRA should additionally address, although ideas they have provided remain vague (file IssuesNotAddressedByIcra.pdf)
– Respondents are in majority male researchers, well distributed between age cohorts, but the distribution according to the cotton research experience is somewhat at the expense of the younger colleagues.
– Most respondents are affiliated to networks like Research Gate and LinkedIn (less in Academia)
– Fifty of them have claimed their availability to assist the ICRA Executive Committee, occasionally or not, and have provided their email addresses to be contacted.

Michel FOK
Executive Committee