Monthly Archives: March 2015

Making research connections with social media
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Academics across all disciplines are increasingly using social media to share their work. These networks’ global reach and lack of subscription fees makes them especially useful for researchers in the South, but the platforms also demand a different tone and mode of engagement than peer-reviewed journals and books. INASP’s Communications Coordinator Sian Harris recently shared social media insights and guidelines with Sri Lankan journal editors and medical researchers. Here is an edited selection of her tips. Why use social media? Many researchers around the world are using social media to share their published research, as well as to discuss work in progress and their research fields more generally. Social media provides an informal and rapid way of communicating research. It can take months, even years, for a published paper to come out, but a researcher can tweet a link to that paper within minutes. Sharing research via social media enables people to comment on and share research easily. It reveals research that people might not … Continue reading

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Higher education is critical to realizing Africa’s potential, but we need to move onto the how
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“Governing without data is like driving without a dashboard”. That was how Kofi Annan summed up the importance of higher education for Africa, at the first African Higher Education Summit in Dakar a couple of weeks ago. Governments need knowledge and information to govern effectively, he argued, and the places that produce that, in the form of research and skilled graduates, are universities. When the Africa Progress Panel wanted to investigate agriculture, and when the Ebola outbreak struck in West Africa, it was universities and research institutes outside the continent that people turned to for analysis and advice. The Summit was billed as the first continental summit on higher education in Africa. Under the banner of ‘revitalising higher education for Africa’s future’ it aimed to develop a shared vision, mobilize new investment, highlight what has worked well, and spur innovation. The guest list was impressive: the chair of the African … Continue reading

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Publishers: how are you working with developing countries?
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Last year INASP published some principles for publishers concerned to do business responsibly in developing countries. To recap, these principles include: Making the effort to understand the country context – understanding local needs and going beyond the capital city Respecting a country’s wish to negotiate as a consortium or purchasing club – looking for alternative routes or withdrawing access during negotiations can damage relationships and reputations Not making sudden changes – explaining plans early and giving consortia time to prepare Thinking medium to long term on pricing – budgets won’t have increased just because countries are willing and able to deal directly Being realistic about sales expectations – so where increases are needed, making these affordable, incremental and predictable We discussed these with a number of you during a lively session at last year’s Publishers for Development conference (see this video of my presentation or view all the sessions here) … Continue reading

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Power cuts and empowerment in Tanzania
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Maaike Duine is a VSO Professional Volunteer working on a pilot project to raise the quality of academic publishing in Tanzania. Here she discusses a number of workshops conducted as part of the project, which is supported by INASP, VSO, COSTECH and the Elsevier Foundation. After the launch of the Consortium of Academic Publishers of Tanzania in June, the project’s partners have continued their efforts to strengthen academic and online publishing in Tanzania by organizing workshops for Tanzanian university presses and publishers. To facilitate these workshops, INASP, VSO and COSTECH have partnered with the Elsevier Foundation. In total, eight Elsevier volunteers have been recruited to co-facilitate workshops on many aspects of academic publishing, including online formats, open access, peer review, acquisition, commissioning, copyright, marketing and sales. We organized our first workshop on journal publishing at the University of Dodoma, one of the fastest-growing universities in Tanzania on an enormous campus … Continue reading

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Evidence-informed policy making brings challenges and opportunities in Zimbabwe
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VakaYiko consortium members ZeipNET and INASP have recently begun a training programme on evidence-informed policy making (EIPM) in partnership with the Zimbabwe Parliament and the Ministries of Youth and Industry and Commerce. This is part of the VakaYiko strategy to build capacity at individual and systems level, as well as to encourage a broader enabling environment for evidence-informed policy. As the new Programme Manager for EIPM at INASP, I took part in two VakaYiko pilot trainings recently in Harare led by ZeipNET. It was great to meet our partners at ZeipNET and hear first-hand about the EIPM environment in Zimbabwe. Developed jointly by INASP and ZeipNET, the EIPM course will build on participants’ experience to develop practical strategies to gather, assess and synthesize robust evidence to inform policy development. The needs assessments and sensitization workshops had already given the team an initial picture of some of the challenges government researchers … Continue reading

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AuthorAID workshop participants gain free editorial support through new partnership
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INASP’s AuthorAID and the author communications company Research Square have struck a new partnership (see Pilot brings free editorial services to sample of AuthorAID community) to offer free editorial services to selected AuthorAID workshop participants. We ask INASP Associate Ravi Murugesan and Ben Mudrak, Business Development Manager of Research Square, about how the partnership came about and how AuthorAID researchers will benefit. What do Research Square and AuthorAID do? Ravi: Both AuthorAID and Research Square support researchers in communicating and publishing their work. AuthorAID is a non-profit programme with a small team, and we rely a lot on partnerships and volunteers to fulfil our mission. For example, we work with universities and research institutes in developing countries to embed training on research-writing skills and we have mentors in our online mentoring scheme who provide one-to-one support. Ben: At Research Square, we provide services and tools designed to assist researchers around the … Continue reading

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