“Evidence-informed policy making is still a very new concept for a lot of policy makers in Zimbabwe”
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In an interview with Research to Action, Ronald Munatsi, Director of the Zimbabwe Evidence-Informed Policy Network (ZeipNet) discusses the role of ZeipNet in facilitating the inclusion of evidence into policy-making processes in Zimbabwe.

ZeipNET is one of INASP’s partners, working on the VakaYiko consortium.

In this interview with Research to Action, Ronald discusses the structures that currently exist in Zimbabwe to support evidence-informed policy making (EIPM), highlighting that EIPM is still a very new concept for many policy makers in the country.

Part of the interview discusses the gap that still exists with regards to robust research evidence within Zimbabwe. Work is being carried out within think tanks and other institutions but there is a lack of coordination between the various think tanks or research institutions and the Ministries. Ronald describes how ZeipNET is looking at ways of trying to coordinate policy-making institutions, research institutions and think tanks.

He also provides information in the interview about the various elements of ZeipNET’s work, which include many capacity-building activities such as training workshops where ZeipNET collaboratively develop content modules with the Ministries.

Read the full interview here.

Managed by INASP, VakaYiko is a three-year project involving five organizations working primarily in three countries; Ghana, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Vaka is Shona (Southern Africa) for ‘build’ and Yiko is Dagbani (Ghana) for capacity. Together, these words depict the specific goal of the programme, which is to increase the capacity of policy makers to respond to research uptake needs.

The VakaYiko project is funded by DFID under the Building Capacity for Use of Research Evidence (BCURE) programme.

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Bringing African research out of the shadows – Part 3
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In the third and final blog in this series, Miriam Conteh-Morgan, Head Librarian, Institute of Public Administration and Management, University of Sierra Leone, wraps up her discussion on the routes for researchers to improve visibility of their research and tips on how researchers can use 2.0 technologies to bring their findings and ideas into the global academic conversations

Visibility through greater representation in the global research community and recognition of one’s (or in this case, a continent’s) contribution to knowledge production are basic to measuring scholarly impact, and these are more easily achievable these days because of new media.

The subtitle of a book by John Hagel, John Seely Brown and Lang Davison — The power of pull: How small moves, smartly made, can set big things in motion – captures the essence of what researchers in Africa can do to join global academic conversations. “Pull,” the authors argue, is built on 3 A’s: access (that is, finding and getting to people and resources), the ability to attract potentially valuable people and resources, and how these can help one achieve new levels of performance and influence. If practiced well, especially by developing a “share research and flourish” agenda, some potential benefits of pull to African and developing-world researchers include:

  • Increased participation in and contribution to the global open knowledge commons;
  • Taking responsibility for shaping one’s own academic profile and expanding one’s global reach;
  • Increased ROA (return on awareness), manifest through enlarged networks and new collaborations; and
  • Receiving constructive (particularly pre-publication) feedback on one’s research in a timely manner.

There is a lengthier discussion of the topic by this author, and a handy guide to managing one’s academic online presence put out by the University of Cape Town.

What do you think?  Have you used any of these tools to share your research and meet fellow researchers? Are there any you would recommend?  Is this an effective approach?

A Spanish version of this post is also available on the AuthorAID website.

References

Gregg, Melissa. (2006). Feeling ordinary: Blogging as conversational scholarship. Continuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies 20 (2), 147–60

Hagel III, John, Brown, John Seely, & Davison, Lang. (2010). The power of pull: How small moves, smartly made, can set big things in motion. New York, NY: Basic Books

Full article: www.authoraid.info/en/resources/details/1225

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A Q&A with Sue Corbett, Executive Director of INASP, part II
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Last week, the Wiley Exchanges blog posted two interviews with INASP’s Executive Director Sue Corbett. We share those interviews in this post and the previous one.

(The Wiley Exchanges version of part 2 is here).

Here we continue our interview with Sue Corbett, Executive Director of INASP. In part I yesterday, we learned how and why INASP is working to improve accessibility to research in the developing world. More below on the success of the program and how you may be able to help.

The signing of Memorandum of Understanding in Tanzania for the programme to strengthen indigenous publishing.  Source: INASP

Q. Can you share a success story or two about the outcomes of INASP initiatives?
A.
An exciting new venture that illustrates some of the ways that publishers can be involved is a collaborative project that we are doing with Elsevier, VSO and a local partner COSTECH. The aim of this project is to train local publishers in Tanzania to strengthen local academic publishing across Tanzania and it grew out of work done by an employee of Brill while on a VSO placement in the country. Now Elsevier editors and publishers are also involved in training and sharing their own approaches with those on Tanzanian journals.  See this recent news story for more information.

There are many exciting developments with our longer-term projects too. I was recently in Bangladesh (where I saw all the rickshaws that I mentioned in the first part of this interview) speaking about the BanglaJOL platform. This provides a route to 129 journals and more than 13,000 articles from Bangladesh, and helps to increase the visibility of the very valuable research that is going on in the country. I was able to share the impressive traffic figures for the platform – nearly one million article views each quarter; my Bangladeshi audience gave the numbers a round of applause.

Another example is INASP’s recent pilot project in Sierra Leone, in collaboration with Research4Life, which aimed to increase awareness of the online research literature available in the country and enable researchers to make better use of it in their work. The pilot brought together different people involved in different aspects of research access and communication to identify the needs and opportunities within universities. It involved training librarians and IT staff in how to manage access to online literature, training researchers in search skills, and offering subsequent support in research writing. There was real enthusiasm for this approach and for INASP’s role is as a catalyst and convener.

Online training for researchers, which is one component of our AuthorAID project and part of the Sierra Leone pilot, enables people to learn the skills they need at their own pace. This process can continue to happen even when travel or online access is restricted, a situation that, sadly, people in Sierra Leone know all too well with the current Ebola outbreak.

Journal editors at a recent INASP workshop in Nepal. Source: INASP

Q. What is AuthorAID?
A. Great research can – and does – go on everywhere in the world. Too often, however, valuable research in the developing world remains unpublished because researchers do not have good writing skills or the mentoring and support that researchers in the developed worldroutinely get from their supervisor and peers.

AuthorAID is a global online community (9000 members and growing) of researchers needing and offering support. We provide online and face-to-face training in research writing skills; online one on one mentoring; an active discussion list; an online library with a wide range of resources on writing and publishing in seven languages; and small grants for travelling to conferences and running writing workshops.

Q. How can researchers, academics and others from the developed world get involved with AuthorAID?
A. Currently, we have over 5000 researchers waiting to connect with someone who can offer them short- or long-term mentoring support. If you are a published author, we would welcome you as a mentor and you can sign up right now at www.authoraid.info.

We are also very excited to be working with Wiley to develop a new way to connect society members who are interested in offering their skills with researchers in their subject areas.  More details will follow in a future Wiley Exchanges blog post.

You can follow AuthorAID on Twitter (@authoraid) and Facebook.

You can also follow the latest news from INASP more generally at @INASPinfo and on Facebook.

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Putting research knowledge at the center of development: a Q&A with Sue Corbett of INASP, Part I
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Last week, the Wiley Exchanges blog posted two interviews with INASP’s Executive Director Sue Corbett. We share those interviews in this post and the next.

(The Wiley Exchanges version of part 1 is here).

It’s easy to take access to research, and all that comes with it, for granted in the developed world, but as this interview with Sue Corbett, Executive Director of INASP, reminds us, there’s still much work to do in improving access and services for researchers in developing countries.  INASP plays a critical role in this, so that countries can solve their own development challenges.

sue_corbett

Q. Can you tell us about your background and how and why you got involved with INASP?
A. My first career was in scientific publishing and I spent almost 30 years at Blackwell Publishing and then at Wiley.  I enjoyed it immensely and it’s great now to have an opportunity to greet some of my ex-colleagues and some of Wiley’s society partners and their members who follow this blog.

In late 2011, I was in the Himalayas in India when I got a call from a Wiley colleague who is also a trustee of INASP, asking if I would be willing to take on an interim CEO assignment at the organization.  I was just about to leave for a two-week silent meditation retreat but something in me was prepared to say “yes” despite knowing very little about it.  After six months, I was caught by the significance of INASP’s mission. I was excited by the opportunity to engage with partners in many countries who are passionate, energetic and really committed to developing research, higher education and the good of their respective nations.  It is a huge privilege to have this fascinating second career.

Q. What is INASP and how is it helping improve access to information in the developing world?
A. INASP is a charity that was born in 1992 from the vision that research should be at the heart of development.  The early goal was to enable developing countries to access the world’s scientific literature – something that could start to happen once journals went online.  Many publishers have been very supportive from the start. Their consistent support of discounted pricing has meant that libraries in many countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America now have access to a wide range of literature.

But a productive, scientific culture is about much more than having books and journals in the library. We also support researchers in communicating their work; ICT staff to ensure literature can be downloaded; and journal editors and local publishers who need to publish online to international standards.

Recently, we began a major program of work with government policymakers in Africa to understand and use research evidence in decision making. This “evidence-informed policymaking” work helps to close the loop and ensure that research really will be at the heart of social and economic development.

Rickshaw photo

I am sure this all sounds like a Good Thing. But I want to go further and suggest why it is important and urgent for the world as a whole. I can illustrate this with a story from my recent visit to Bangladesh. At left is a photograph from the rickshaw we were sitting in, stuck in a traffic jam in Dhaka that consisted of nothing but rickshaws. For me, it was an in-your-face realization of what faces a city of 15 million people, set to grow to more than 30 million in the next 10 years. The decisions made about water, food and energy for Dhaka will ripple out, not just to the region, but also, in a world of finite resource and global markets, to all of us.  It is in the interests of everybody that relevant research should inform those decisions.

Q. What role do publishers currently play in your work and do you expect this to change in future?
A. We are very grateful for publishers’ continuing support for discounted pricing. We recently proposed a set of guidelines for responsible engagement for those publishers that are now moving toward direct, commercial relationships in some countries. We urge everyone to read and consider those guidelines and to continue supporting affordable access in all those countries that cannot yet find the funding for direct purchases.

Our Publishers for Development forum enables publishers to engage with those issues and with the bigger picture of our work. Our annual meeting in August was a great opportunity to discuss the vital role that publishers play in maximizing access to research to support academics in developing countries. You can read more about this in our recent newsletter, and watch the presentations.

Below are some of our guidelines for publishers about responsible engagement in developing countries

  • Make an effort to understand the country context, which institutions are members of the consortium, and what their needs are. Try to look beyond the capital city – connectivity for each is often very different. You can do this through direct discussion with the consortium, but also by participating in Publishers for Development events.
  • Where a country wishes to negotiate as a consortium or purchasing club, respect this– don’t try to find alternative routes and don’t withdraw access before or during negotiations. It could damage reputations and relationships.
  • Don’t make sudden changes – if you wish to develop a direct relationship, communicate with the consortium or national coordinating body early to explain your plans, and give them time to prepare. A three to five year plan for engagement is likely to make for a more effective transition.
  • Think medium to long term on pricing and be realistic about your sales expectations. Budgets won’t have increased just because countries are able and willing to deal directly with publishers. Where increases are needed, make these affordable, incremental and predictable.
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JOLs platforms provide gateway to Southern HIV/AIDS research – part 4: Living with HIV/AIDS
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On World AIDS Day, Andy Nobes takes a look at some recent research into HIV/AIDS from Southern researchers

Today is World AIDS Day. HIV/AIDS is a pressing issue for many of the countries in which INASP works. It is also a significant focus for research in these countries. This series of posts share a selection of recent research on the topic from the Journals Online (JOLs) platforms.

The first post looked at some research in the area of public knowledge and education about HIV and AIDS. The second post looked at research into the broader health implications of HIV/AIDS, the complications and the effectiveness of different approaches to treatment. The third post looked at a range of research into the disease, its prevalence and potential treatment. In this final post we share some recent research into living with HIV/AIDS.

(Some articles on the AJOL platform may not be open access. However, researchers in the developing world can register for free access on the AJOL website).

Medication Adherence to Antiretroviral Therapy Among Patients Visiting Antiretroviral Therapy Center at Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital, Kathmandu, Nepal
Kathmandu University Medical Journal

Quality of Life Among HIV Positive Individuals in Kathmandu Valley and Eastern Region of Nepal
Kathmandu University Medical Journal

On the way towards zero discrimination; What do people living with HIV think?
Sri Lanka Journal of Venereology

The economics, financing and implementation of HIV treatment as prevention: What will it take to get there?
African Journal of AIDS Research

Attitudes Of Nurses And Midwives Toward People Living With Hiv/Aids In Minna Municipality: Implications For Guidance And Counselling
Nigerian Journal of Guidance and Counselling

Fear of disclosure among women living with HIV and AIDS: The case of Mankweng area, Limpopo Province
African Journal for Physical, Health Education, Recreation and Dance

Stigma and Discrimination in HIV/AIDS; The greatest Challenge to HIV/AIDS Prevention, Care, Support and Treatment
Nigerian Journal of Family Practice

Stigma and discrimination associated with HIV/AIDS in health care settings: a comparative study in two hospitals of different categories in Douala-Cameroon
Journal of Medical and Biomedical Sciences

Parenting experiences of couples living with human immunodeficiency virus: A qualitative study from rural Southern Malawi
SAHARA J (Journal of Social Aspects of HIV/AIDS Research Alliance)

Socio-economic and demographic factors related to HIV status in urban informal settlements in the Eastern Cape, South Africa
African Journal of AIDS Research

Developing and implementing global gender policy to reduce HIV and AIDS in low- and middle -income countries: Policy makers’ perspectives
African Journal of AIDS Research

Discriminatory Attitudes of Pharmacy Students and Pharmacists against People Living with HIV/AIDS
Tropical Journal of Pharmaceutical Research

Reproductive behaviour among women on antiretroviral therapy in Botswana: mismatched pregnancy plans and contraceptive use
African Journal of AIDS Research

Evaluation of Socio-Demographic Characteristics of HIV/AIDS Patients in a Tertiary Hospital
Journal of Pharmaceutical and Allied Sciences

Improving Health Services for Adolescents Living with HIV in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Multi-Country Assessment
African Journal of Reproductive Health

Impact of Pharmacists’ Interventions on Health Related Quality of Life in HIV/AIDS Patients
Afrimedic Journal

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JOLs platforms provide gateway to Southern HIV/AIDS research – part 3: research
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On World AIDS Day, Andy Nobes takes a look at some recent research into HIV/AIDS from Southern researchers

Today is World AIDS Day. HIV/AIDS is a pressing issue for many of the countries in which INASP works. It is also a significant focus for research in these countries. This series of posts share a selection of recent research on the topic from the Journals Online (JOLs) platforms.

The first post looked at some research in the area of public knowledge and education about HIV and AIDS. The second post looked at research into the broader health implications of HIV/AIDS, the complications and the effectiveness of different approaches to treatment. This post looks at a range of research into the disease, its prevalence and potential treatment.

(Some articles on the AJOL platform may not be open access. However, researchers in the developing world can register for free access on the AJOL website).

Molecular Dynamics and Docking of Biphenyl: A Potential Attachment Inhibitor for HIV-1 gp120 Glycoprotein
Tropical Journal of Pharmaceutical Research

Effect of antiretroviral drug (arved) on hepatic enzymes in albino rats
Journal of Applied Sciences and Environmental Management

CD4 + Cell Response to Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ARTS) In Routine Clinical Care Over One Year Period in a Cohort of HAART Naive, HIV Positive Kenyan Patients
East African Medical Journal

Can informetrics shape biomedical research? A case study of the HIV/AIDS research in sub-Saharan Africa
Inkanyiso: Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences

The Immunostimulatory and Antimicrobial Property of two Herbal Decoctions used in the Management of Hiv/Aids in Ghana
African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines

The HIV/AIDS epidemic in South Africa: Convergence with tuberculosis, socioecological vulnerability, and climate change patterns
South African Medical Journal

On the Comparative Analysis of Determinant Factors on the use of Condom among Nigerian Youths
West African Journal of Industrial and Academic Research

HIV in (and out of) the clinic: Biomedicine, traditional medicine and spiritual healing in Harare
SAHARA J (Journal of Social Aspects of HIV/AIDS Research Alliance)

High HIV Prevalence Among Low Income and Laborers in the District of Purba Medinipur, West Bengal, India
SAARC Journal of Tuberculosis, Lung Diseases and HIV/AIDS

Effect of Antiretroviral Drug (arved) on the Kidney in Albino Rat
Journal of Applied Sciences and Environmental Management

The impacts of first line highly active antiretroviral therapy on serum selenium, cd4 count and body mass index: a cross sectional and short prospective study
Pan African Medical Journal

Antiretroviral therapy programme on control of HIV transmission in Morogoro municipality, Tanzania: A challenge for development
East African Journal of Public Health

Prevalence and Determinants of Adherence to Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy Amongst People Living with HIV/AIDS in a Rural Setting in South-South Nigeria
African Journal of Reproductive Health

Status of immunity against PVB19 in HIVinfected patients according to CD4+ cell count, and antiretroviral therapy regimen groups
Nigerian Medical Journal

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