CAST papers have long-term influence in the world of agriculture and food production.
When CAST publications are first released, the organization sees a flurry of activity at rollouts (usually in Washington, D.C.) and also from the press, academics, and CAST members. Press releases, news coverage, and videos of rollout presentations help stir short-term interest. But the long-term impact of the publications often demonstrates the underlying value of the papers. CAST publications are months in the developmental stages--whether the topic is food, animals, plants, or other ag-related issues, the science-based information is gathered from experts who take the time to research, write, peer review, rewrite, edit, and finally publish. The process is difficult and time consuming, but the results have credibility and lasting effects.
CAST tracks the influence of its publications with regular impact reports. To demonstrate this procedure, we will focus on two papers--a recent rollout and a publication released two years ago.
Data Sharing--Rollout, Press Release, Presentation Video
Two weeks after the March 11, 2019, rollout of CAST Commentary QTA2019-1, Enabling Open-source Data Networks in Public Agricultural Research, here are some statistics from the press release distribution: The total number of views for press releases equaled 3,492. With 125 media outlets posting the press release, the potential audience was more than 45 million. The commentary is generating views and downloads, but the full impact of the publication will be evident as the next months unfold.
Plant Breeding--Downloads, Hard Copies, and Comments
Released March 22, 2017, CAST IP 57, Plant Breeding and Genetics, is an example of a "publication with legs." The press release originally went to 9,805 e-contacts, resulting in 3,663 opens/interactions. The number of issue paper downloads after 6 months was 5,488, after 1 year there were 15,578 downloads, and after 2 years the number had risen to 23,309. The Ag quickCAST version has been downloaded 4,664 up to this time. CAST also distributed more than 600 hard copies of the printed version. Comments about the publication include the following: (1) "I think it has helped the federal granting agencies to continue to support plant breeding grants and training opportunities." (2) "Positive comments came from several ongoing and prospective graduate students regarding their decision to pursue a career in plant breeding."
As CAST Managing Scientific Editor Carol Gostele said, "Many people don't realize the involved process our publications go through to get to the rollout stage, and that the task forces are composed of science-based volunteers--it all works together to create papers that are balanced, credible, and long-lasting."
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