The comprehensive restatement of the guiding principles approved by the Conference at its Fifth and subsequent sessions given below brings together existing directives formulated in the past twenty years, with some additions which in the light of experience the Director-General and the Programme Committee believe to be necessary.
1. Subject matter of FAO publications and documents
(a) Relation to programme of work. All material (priced publications and main and working documents) issued by FAO or with FAO's assistance should bear a direct and specific relation to the projects and activities in the approved Programme of Work.
(b) Substitutions. Where it becomes advisable or necessary to substitute another publication or document for one already listed in the approved Programme of Work, the substituted item should also be directly related to the Organization's approved projects and activities and should meet all the other criteria set out here.
(c) Priority tasks. Priorities for publications and documents of various types and for various audiences will be reviewed and determined from time to time by the Director-General, in the light of general directives approved by the Conference and the Council.
(d) Duplication of other sources. In drawing up or revising the Organization's publications programme, care should be taken not to duplicate material already available from other sources. On the other hand, the lack of published information on any subject is not prima facie evidence of the need to publish material in that field; evidence of the usefulness of the publication and its relation to the Programme of Work are primary requirements.
(e) Periodicals and monographs. The purpose it is to serve in the Organization's programme should determine the form and periodicity of each FAO priced publication or main document, especially the choice between periodicals or monographs. Generally speaking, the purpose of a periodical is to transmit regularly recurring information of a special type or class to a group distinguished by homogeneity of interest and large enough to justify issuance of the periodical. A monograph is more effective for transmitting non-recurring information on a specific subject.
2. Audience and quality of FAO publications and main documents
(a) Each FAO publication and main document should be directed to an identifiable audience. At the same time, FAO priced publications should be so prepared and distributed as to serve a wider audience whenever possible.
(b) The audience of FAO publications and main documents is threefold. It consists of (i) government officials, (ii) specialists and persons concerned with economic, social and technical development in both the developing and developed countries, (iii) extension level workers, especially in the developing countries. In addition public information material is directed to a broad cross-section of the interested public as a means of fostering general knowledge of the Organization's problems and work and promoting support for its objectives.
(c) The suitability and quality of material can only be judged when manuscripts are available and accordingly the ultimate decision regarding the issue as a publication or main document rests with the Director-General, assisted by his Publications Committee, subject to the requirement that departures from the approved programme must be reported and justified to the Council.
(d) Quality is a sine qua non of publications and main documents and must not be sacrificed to quantity. Quality here refers to the completeness and adequacy of the material presented and to the standard of writing, which must be adopted to the audience addressed.
(e) As a means of ensuring that FAO priced publications are of the highest possible quality and usefulness, monographs (such as Agricultural Studies and Development Papers) are to be submitted before publication to a selection of Member Nations for expert scrutiny by an appropriate national body, in conformity with Conference Resolution 23/57.
3. Audience for working papers
(a) Working papers serve primarily the inmediate needs of limited audiences, such as officials and individuals participating directly in meetings or projects of the Organization, or drafts of priced publications and main documents not yet in final form, as a basis for consideration, discussion, study or action, or for information. Their circulation is normally limited to those concerned directly with the content, the recipients being determined in advance according to the purpose of the paper.
(b) In the case of working papers, especially for meetings, timeliness is more important than completeness.
4. Language policy
(a) The Organization must maintain the principle of the parity of its working languages. In order to safeguard this principle:
versions in the working language must be equally reliable and authoritative; and
distribution in the working languages must be effected simultaneously.
(b) Within the budgetary limits approved by the Conference, FAO may also issue certain priced publications and documents in other languages, notably in Arabic which has the status of a limited working language.
(c) Token subsidies may be awarded by FAO to assist in publishing FAO material in languages other than the FAO working languages, where the publications concerned are expected to have a significant impact on an important agricultural sector of one or preferably several countries with substantial rural populations in which none of the working languages is well-known to the prospective users. Subsidies will take the form of provision of manuscripts and illustrations (blocks, films, etc.), of purchase of copies for distribution at FAO training centres or seminars, or of cash grants toward production costs. The FAO catalogue of publications and its supplements will list FAO publications issued in languages other than the working languages, together with the addresses from which they may be obtained.
5. Publication by governments or other publishers
(a) Adaptation and popularization of basic technical materials for widespread distribution within a country can generally best be done by and through the appropriate agencies of the government concerned, the Organization aiding where possible. FAO's most fruitful role as a publisher in this field is to provide “prototype texts” for adaptation and publication by government agencies within the Member Nations, especially for extension purposes.
(b) Joint publication with other organizations in the United Nations family may be undertaken, in the working languages required. Cooperative publication with other international organizations may likewise be undertaken provided the material published is relevant to the approved programme and does not involve unauthorized diversion of FAO resources.
Reprinting of existing FAO material by outside institutes or commercial firms for wider circulation is also desirable. However, issue of programmed material exclusively by commercial firms should be avoided since all FAO working languages would not normally be covered by such publication and quota copies would not be made available to all Member Governments.
6. Control of the volume of documentation
(a) Proper balance should be maintained to ensure that publication facilities and available funds are geared to the amount of material that is to be issued to carry out the approved programme of work.
(b) The greatest possible restraint should be exercised to limit the output and length of working papers in the interests of economy, timeliness and usefulness to readers.
7. Distribution and sales
(a) A need for the information in published form, rather than profit, should be the primary reason for issue of a priced publication. Sales of publications should be vigorously encouraged as a means of making useful information more widely available, and not as a means of making a profit.
(b) Each Member Government receives a quota of all priced publications, which is related in part to its contribution to the budget of the Organization, which cannot be less than the minimum quota established by the Conference. The number of quota copies of various categories of publications may be differentiated on the basis of readership, subject matter, utilization and other pertinent factors of the various classes of FAO publications. 1
(c) Since FAO is particularly concerned with assisting in the economic and social development of the developing countries, special attention should be given to reaching technicians, agricultural institutions and extension workers in those countries with material that will assist directly in such development.
(d) The distribution within Member Nations of FAO material so as to ensure adequate diffusion to all sectors to which it can be useful - institutions and services, including libraries, universities, research institutes and scientific, agricultural extension and training services, economic and legislative bodies - is primarily the responsibility of the governments themselves, through National FAO Committees or other channels decided by the governments. On its part, the Organization should also make further efforts to ensure adequate diffusion, through its sales agents, field staff, and with national institutes, specialists and technicians.
(e) Main documents are issued in more limited quantities, since the audience aimed at is generally confined to a specific group.
(f) The distribution of working papers is to be specially tailored to the needs of the audiences they are to serve as indicated under 3 above.
(g) Except as agreed formally by the Conference, FAO should not accept commercial advertising.
8. Requests for assistance in publishing
(a) Requests for assistance in publishing under the FAO imprint of unprogrammed material offered by outside individual authors or other bodies will be rejected, irrespective of the merit of the work offered for publication, for the following reasons:
all books, periodicals and other work issued by FAO are produced at the wish of the Member Governments of the Organization and are primarily for the use of those governments.
in order to ensure the conformity of publications with the aims of the Organization and the programme approved by the Conference, FAO publishes only works prepared by FAO staff, or by consultants specially commissioned by FAO and working under FAO direction, the publications in either case being part of the approved Programme of Work.
the acceptance for publication of unsolicited works, even if meritorious, would establish undesirable precedents.
(b) Where the Director-General feels that there is good reason for publishing material submitted by an outside author or institution, he may however include this proposal in the programme of publications submitted for approval by the Conference and upon approval by the Conference he may make appropriate arrangements with the author or institution, ensuring that copyright and all other rights in the work to be published will become the property of FAO.
9. Outside publication of books and articles by FAO staff
(a) Publication of books and articles written by FAO staff on subjects related to FAO fields of work constitutes an effective means of ensuring the spread of knowledge in FAO fields of endeavour, and should be used more widely, subject however to strict observation of the Staff Rules on this subject set out in (b) and (c) below.
(b) All rights, including title, copyright and patent rights, in any work produced by a staff member as part of his official duties shall be vested in the Organization (Staff Rule 303.27).
(c) Staff shall not submit articles, books or other material for publication on subjects related to FAO fields of work without prior authorization from the Director-General or the officials to whom he delegates this authority. (Staff Rule 302.155).
(d) Republication of FAO material which has been issued will be encouraged. Permission for such republication will be given under rules and procedures that have been laid down by the Director-General.
1 The Programme Committee requested the Director-General to draw up a classification of FAO publications and on this basis to undertake a new survey in cooperation with Member Governments, aimed at bringing about a more effective use of quota supplies of publications and also a more effective distribution of quotas in accord with the needs of the respective governments. In carrying out this survey the Director-General should make use of field staff.