Publications and information services
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Launched in 2003, AGORA provides free or subsidised journal access to not-for-profit institutions in eligible countries. Once details are finalised, all institutions in countries with a GNP per capita under US$1,000 will be given access to participating literature. The journal collection focuses on agriculture and related sciences, and includes titles from major publishing houses. AGORA is an FAO initiative. Click here for more details about registering.
The African Journal of Biotechnology is a peer-reviewed online journal that publishes research in food, agricultural and industrial applications of biochemistry, microbiology, genomics and proteomics.
All articles are free to access and readers can also sign up to free email alerts containing the table of contents for each new issue.
AMCOST provides a forum for formulating and implementing policies for science, technology and innovation issues that have an impact on African development. It was established by the New Partnership for Africa’s Development and the African Union in November 2003, and has since developed and adopted Africa’s Science and Technology Consolidated Plan of Action.
AMCOST's website outlines ongoing projects in biodiversity, energy, water, material sciences, mathematics and space science technologies, among others. It also offers information on the activities and rationale behind both the African Panel on Biotechnology and the African Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators Initiative.
AfricanCrops.Net — funded by the Rockefeller Foundations Biotechnology, Breeding and Seed Systems Programme and the Partnership to Fight Striga of the African Agricultural Technology Foundation — publishes a monthly newsletter with information on upcoming conferences, training programmes and funding opportunities. It also hosts a discussion forum where visitors can share experiences of issues such as crop improvement and molecular marker applications.
The website links to a wide range of documents and points to resources dedicated to specific African crops such as cassava, cowpea and sorghum. It also hosts an extensive collection of links to online databases, glossaries, bibliographies, search engines, genetic maps and statistics relating to African-focused biotechnology and plant breeding research.
AgBiotechNet — published by CABI, a leading international, not-for-profit publisher in applied life sciences — has news, reviews, abstracts of scientific literature, and links about agricultural biotechnology and biosafety for researchers and policy-makers worldwide. While much is available free of charge, paying subscribers access more information (a free 30-day trial is available).
The Biosafety Information Centre, managed by Third World Network
, disseminates information, raises awareness and promotes research in biosafety, sustainable agriculture, indigenous knowledge and rights. It circulates regular electronic newsletters aimed at policymakers, regulators, scientists and civil society organisations in developing countries. It also publishes contributions by active researchers and reproduces articles from external media.
A service of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), BINAS monitors global developments in regulatory issues in biotechnology. The website contains up-to-date news information and a searchable database giving details of regulations, field trials and commercialisation of GM crops in different countries.
FAO-BioDeC is a database of agricultural biotechnologies being researched, developed or applied in developing countries. It does not provide quantitative information on research being carried out in international centres located in developing countries, or on the level of funding any individual technology receives. But it does give an overview of the stages of adoption of agricultural technologies in different regions that can be used to identify gaps in research or areas for potential collaboration.
Over 50 correspondents from 54 countries contribute to the database, with articles about individual countries' policy frameworks, research institutes and biosafety regulations.
The BIC website hopes to provide rational information about the applications of biotechnology, especially crop biotechnology, in a local context. The website is the result of a collaboration between ISAAA, Monash University Malaysia and the Malaysian Biotechnology Information Centre. The website aims to serve as a resource for policy-makers, industry players, the media and members of the public who want scientific information to guide their decision-making. The site is kept very up-to-date and brings together many useful web-based information sources.
Biotechterms.org, sponsored by Monsanto, is a searchable list of biotechnology definitions. The site covers technical, business and legal terms from biotechnology and related definitions from biology, biochemistry and chemistry. The glossary has been gathered from experts in the field, books, journals and industry periodicals. Terms are explained in simple language, using a lot of analogies throughout the text.
The CGVLibrary — run by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) — is a search engine for agricultural information. It has an easy-to-use interface for accessing documents and abstracts in all of the CGIAR centres' libraries, as well as 160 other databases. Subscribers also have access to an image library.
Checkbiotech is an Internet platform sponsored by the company Syngenta. The website aims to contribute to an open debate on agricultural biotechnology by providing up-to-date information from many different sources. The extensive collection of documents in the database gives an overview of ongoing discussions in agricultural biotechnology, and enjoys very frequent up-dates — multiple news stories are posted every day.
This resource guide from Eldis — a knowledge service run by the UK Institute of Development Studies — disseminates academic research and official documents on socio-economic, governance and policy issues relating to agricultural biotechnology in developing countries. It publishes summaries of all documents linked to from the site.
Eldis also links to key websites for agriculture and biotechnology organisations, research groups and information services.
The EJB is an open access peer-reviewed journal published by UNESCO. In addition to scientific studies, the journal has a regular section on biotechnology in developing countries. In past issues, this has included reviews of current research and case studies of capacity development, benefit sharing and other issues related to biotechnology in the South.
This website from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) provides an overview of agricultural biotechnologies across different sectors in the developing world, and the FAO's activities in this area. It includes the FAO's biotechnology forum, which hosts email conferences on topics such as strengthening partnerships in agricultural biotechnologies to benefit smallholders in developing countries. The website also links to reports, online books, research studies, press releases and national biotechnology policy documents. A multilingual biotechnology glossary, as well as news and events, are also provided.
This glossary — available in Arabic, English, French and Spanish — explains technical terms relating to biotechnology and genetic engineering. Definitions were developed, in part, by a panel of Food and Agriculture Organization consultants.
Readers are invited to comment on any term, or suggest new ones.
This glossary, written by two biotechnology experts, is aimed at scientists, journalists and biotechnicians alike. Published by GeneEd, an education provider to life scientists, it is primarily made up of scientific terms.
CropBiotech.Net is the home of the Global Knowledge Center on Crop Biotechnology, an information service that provides regular updates about the global status of crop biotechnology, communication materials, and links to other information sources. The Center, which is located in the Philippines, is an initiative of the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA). It produces an excellent weekly newsletter - CropBiotech Update - summarising the latest developments in crop biotechnology around the world.
HarvestPlus works towards reducing micronutrient malnutrition, or 'hidden hunger', by improving the level of micronutrients in staple food crops in Africa and Asia using bio-fortification. It focuses on iron, zinc, and vitamin A — recognised by the WHO as critical micronutrients — and on crops such as millet, wheat, rice and sweet potato.
The website details current activities through an online map and provides access to publications including abstracts, technical monographs, and working papers produced with 60 partner institutions.
A list of links to online resources including reports, articles, and blogs is also made available.
Knowledge for Development is a web-based source of information on science and technology for agriculture and rural development in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. It promotes collaboration between agricultural research and development scientists and technologists in ACP countries, and facilitates dialogue between ACP and European communities with the aim of strengthening policy formulation on science and technology issues.
This website contains a number of useful documents on biofuels and biotechnology in ACP countries.