Who drives research in developing countries?
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This piece was previously published on Jon Harle’s Medium blog site, republished here with his permission. To what extent is research on development issues done by researchers in developing countries? To what extent do those researchers actually decide what research needs doing and what questions need asking? And if developing country researchers do decide, to what extent do they do so in collaboration with the people who might ultimately have a use for that knowledge ? These aren’t new questions, but they re-emerged for me recently in a series of studies we commissioned of research and knowledge systems in Somalia and Somaliland, Liberia and South Sudan. And they’re echoed in a series of essays on the ethics and politics of knowledge production in fragile states. It’s a well-worn maxim that appropriate solutions require local knowledge. Yet although this is well recognized, it often seems to be missing when research is commissioned … Continue reading

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Local ownership: support, don’t lead, the process for access to research
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Local ownership is a concept that is fundamental to our work at INASP- in fact it’s more than a concept, it’s a principle that informs everything we do, and that we strive to ensure every day. I was reminded of this during recent discussions at our 28 June Publishers for Development meeting in Oxford. Here I want to suggest one way we can bring an appreciation of ownership to bear on our work in supporting access to research. Why? Because as innumerable examples have shown, solutions which are not owned, which are developed from outside and then imposed on a country rarely work in the long term. They may enjoy some early success, but often crumble – either because they don’t work, or because no-one is invested in them even if they could. From ambitious public sector reform programmes, designed by World Bank experts, which tried to make African governments … Continue reading

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Series: ‘Q&A’ with Publishers for Development speakers
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Joshua Okonya is a Research Associate at the International Potato Center (CIP) in Uganda. He will be speaking at Publishers for Development on the 28 June about his research into the impact of pests on crop yield, the resulting impact on food security and how this is affected by climate change. What is your main area of research? My area of research is crop entomology. I collect baseline information about pest related crop losses, looking at the impact of these losses on farmers’ livelihoods and how climate change affects this. I look at pest management strategies for sustainable crop production with the hope of improving the food security and livelihoods of smallholder farmers in Uganda. How does your work relate to the SDGs or international development more generally? The research projects I work on aim to achieve food security for the smallholder farmers in Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi (SDG 2); … Continue reading

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How good publishing partnerships can support development
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This blog looks at how strong partnerships in publishing can support development, particularly in light of the Sustainable Development Goals. This will be a key focus of 2016’s Publishers for Development meetings. It was originally published on Digital Science’s Perspectives blog. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a set of far-reaching goals towards reduced poverty and a fairer and more sustainable world over the next 15 years, came into effect at the start of 2016. They have much to say for anybody working in international development but also for anybody working in the areas of research and research information. The goals are intended to tackle key issues for alleviating poverty and addressing inequality – and in issues such as climate change, agriculture, clean water and health, to name a few, there is a clear role for research and researchers. The 17th and final SDG – Strengthen the means of implementation and … Continue reading

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Publishers for Development: principles, partnerships, responsible business
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The Publishers for Development conference is an opportunity help shape the discussions about information access, information equality and how this can help developing-world research make a difference to developing-world problems. Anne Powell shares some topics that we will be discussing next week. Continue reading

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Series: ‘Q&A’ with Publishers for Development speakers
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Dr Philip Antwi-Agyei is an interdisciplinary environmental scientist from Ghana who will be speaking at Publishers for Development in June. He will discuss his research on climate change, farming and food security and the importance of having access to research literature in relation to his work and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). What is your research focus? My research involves developing ways to assess vulnerability and adaptations to climate change and variability for dry land African farming systems. My work is aimed at empowering local communities and broadening understanding of how climate variability affects food security and rural livelihoods. My research outputs have been published in leading international journals including Regional Environmental Change, Land Use Policy, Applied Geography, Climate and Development. How does your work relate to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)? My research is closely linked to the Sustainable Development Goal 13, “Take urgent action to combat climate change … Continue reading

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