Why the usual figures for knowledge production are just the tip of the iceberg

This is a joint post written by Jonathan Harle (INASP Senior Programme Manager, Research Access and Availability) and Sioux Cumming (INASP Programme Manager, Journals Online).

The other week we came across this infographic posted by the Oxford Internet Institute, showing the geography of academic knowledge. As is instantly clear, Europe and North America dominate the production of academic research, with Latin America, Africa and South Asia barely visible. In fact only Nigeria and South Africa make it onto the map for Africa, while the whole of central and Southern America is reduced to six countries, and while Pakistan is just about visible alongside its larger neighbour India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal (3 countries that INASP works with) are entirely absent.

Of course, it’s no surprise that Europe and North America produce so much. Between them they account for some of the world’s leading universities and research institutes and many millions of dollars in research funding. But a closer look at the graphic highlights a major part of the problem. The data behind this – and behind many other studies of global research, such as this recent piece on scientific collaboration is derived from the Web of Knowledge Journal Citation Reports. Continue reading “Why the usual figures for knowledge production are just the tip of the iceberg” »

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Balancing information and participation: Reflections on learner-centred training

This is a guest post by Rachel McIntosh, Research Uptake Manager at the Department for International Development. Rachel writes about her recent participation in an INASP Pedagogy Skills workshop and how this has led her to reflect on her own skills and practices as a trainer.

I recently had the privilege of attending a pedagogy skills workshop in Ghana, organised by INASP’s Strengthening Research and Knowledge Systems programme, which is funded by DFID and Sida. The workshop participants were librarians working at Ghanaian university libraries. All of the librarians train others in one form or another. For example, one lady lectures on information literacy to 200 students at a time (this provided an interesting conundrum during the workshop session on seating layouts that support effective participation!). Many of the librarians provide training to first year students to build awareness of the library’s resources and skills in using them. The librarians also provide one-to-one training to library users as it is requested – particularly in using e-resources whose accessibility and popularity has improved in Ghanaian libraries over recent years. At the workshop it soon became evident that the training the librarians had provided previously tended to reflect the way that they themselves had been schooled/trained in the past, with relatively little participation from the learners. As the workshop progressed, I saw first-hand how the participants grew in their appreciation and practice of pedagogy skills. Continue reading “Balancing information and participation: Reflections on learner-centred training” »

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Strengthening academic publishing in Tanzania – getting ready for Dar!

This is the first of a series of blogs from Maaike Duine on a pilot project which aims to increase the quality of academic publishing in Tanzania through the creation of a consortium of academic publishers and through training, skills development and capacity building. The project is a collaboration between Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO), the Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH) and INASP. It is the first time that INASP has been involved in an extended and integrated set of activities to enhance academic publishing in a single country. Through this blog, Maaike, the VSO Professional Volunteer will document her own experiences throughout the project as well as the progress and outcomes.

“Tanzania is looking for a publishing advisor”. In September 2013, this vacancy posted by VSO drew my attention. After reading the job description and the goals of the two –year project “Strengthening Indigenous Academic and Digital Publishing in Tanzania”, I decided to apply. Although I liked my life in the Netherlands and enjoyed working for the international publishing company Springer, I was looking for a more challenging position and change of scenery. I had been thinking about moving abroad before but never saw a good opportunity and this definitely was! Assisting in the set up of a consortium of Tanzanian academic publishers would bring many challenges and opportunities, and living in Tanzania seemed very appealing with the beach, mountains, wildlife and lots of sunshine. After a talk with the previous VSO volunteer and an assessment, it was for sure; I was moving to Tanzania! Continue reading “Strengthening academic publishing in Tanzania – getting ready for Dar!” »

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Navigating the wealth of Open Access resources

Open Access resources have become increasingly common in recent years, with a wide range of supporters from researchers to publishers and international organisations such as UNESCO. While this can greatly improve a resource’s availability, it is equally important to increase the accessibility and visibility of these resources if they are to make a greater impact.

Open access is a key area of interest for INASP and for many years we have been collecting and displaying information about the growing number of resources available on our website.

As we have recently launched our new website we were given a great opportunity to reflect on what we are listing, why it was important to list these resources and how we can best display them. Continue reading “Navigating the wealth of Open Access resources” »

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Poems from a Library Ambassador

Kenneth Mukigi is a 19 year old student at the Co-operative University College of Kenya, studying for his Bachelor of Co-operative Business (BCOB). He works as a Library Ambassador with one of INASP’s partner librarians.

Kenneth Mukigi  “I am glad to be a student ambassador because I want to be involved with the university activities – it gives me a level of responsibility. I am eager to meet new people, including other ambassadors, and I always welcome exposure to different opportunities. I also have an avid passion to give back to my society, which has raised me to the level I am” – Kenneth Mukigi

Kenneth started writing when he was in primary school. He is inspired to write by the environment and society that surrounds him and is currently working on a novel, “The Chapter”.

Kenneth wrote the two poems featured below after working with INASP. Continue reading “Poems from a Library Ambassador” »

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Scholars are scholars wherever you find them

Ann SnoyenbosHere Ann Snoyenbos, Manager, International Sales and Special Markets, talks about her experiences of working via INASP to help researchers in developing countries gain access to ProjectMuse.

When I talk to publishers about Project MUSE’s work with INASP (to provide affordable access to MUSE for libraries in developing countries) the responses almost always fall into one of two categories.  The first agrees that it’s really important to support developing country researchers, while the second is worries that poor management of content will result in bootleg versions circulating on the black market.  A close examination of MUSE usage data across four years suggests that neither of these scenarios is accurate; institutions working with INASP are no different from the other institutions using MUSE.

Continue reading “Scholars are scholars wherever you find them” »

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