This post appeared originally on BMJ Blogs on 31 October 2013: http://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2013/10/31/ravi-murugesan-open-access-and-academic-blogging/
I’m not a social scientist, so it was with some anxiety that I travelled halfway across the world to attend the World Social Science Forum. The theme, “social transformations and the digital age,” gave me some hope. I teach online and I’m a telecommuter, so I thought as a person of the digital age I wouldn’t be entirely out of place.
At the conference, which took place recently in Montreal, I learnt a bit about the “social transformations” part as well, especially in one area: scholarly publishing. A lot is changing in scholarly publishing, so it’s a time of transformations, but what’s “social” about it? I think there’s a clue in two movements: open access and academic blogging. Continue reading “Open access and academic blogging” »
Much has been made of the digital divide limiting progress in developing countries. In the world of research and higher education, this divide becomes particularly pertinent. Where countries in the developed world are rapidly transforming into information societies and knowledge economies, the ability for researchers in developing countries to access and contribute to the wealth of knowledge that is available through the internet can be the key to the relevance, dissemination and impact of their research.
Image courtesy of jscreationzs at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Continue reading “ICT infrastructure for education is as much about people as technology” »
I was lucky enough to spend a week in Sierra Leone at the beginning of September, and it was a great opportunity to reflect on what we do – and what we could do – in the context of an entirely new country. INASP hasn’t worked in Sierra Leone before, but with a new body of programme work, we’re now in a position to think about introducing our work to a few new countries. But this post isn’t about that new work, but about some broader impressions – of Sierra Leone and its development needs, and why our work matters.
In the fourteen years that I’ve travelled in, worked in, and briefly lived in parts of the continent, I’ve been privileged to explore many countries, and to have had my thinking repeatedly challenged. But in recent years I’ve come to spend much of my time in relatively comfortable hotels and conference venues, in rapidly growing cities where you’re not far from a cappuccino, a decent wifi connection and the chattering of prospering business and political elites. Aside from the shock of an early-morning Freetown arrival – hustled through the airport, down a muddy track, and onto a pitching jetty to board a speedboat for the journey across the bay into town – Sierra Leone was a stark reminder about why we’re really doing this work. Continue reading “In one of the world’s poorest countries, should research and higher education be a priority?” »