Author Archives: Anne Powell

About Anne Powell

Anne Powell is the Programme Manager, Information Access and Use at INASP.

Firm foundations: access to high-quality materials-science information underpins Ethiopia’s construction work

This week, INASP’s Anne Powell spoke at the UKSG Forum in London. In her presentation, she reflected on the role that INASP plays in supporting the research priorities of countries like Ethiopia. At the UKSG Forum on Wednesday 18th November I was lucky enough to present one of the lightning talks in the afternoon session on “Supporting authors from an HEI perspective”. Having heard experiences from the Universities of Nottingham and Huddersfield in the UK, I was able to share some perspectives about developing-country research. The example that I shared was from my visit to Ethiopia earlier this year when I saw the amount of construction taking place, notably of seven-storey office or apartment buildings. These, my Ethiopian hosts told me, are owned by Ethiopians and destined for occupancy by Ethiopians, truly feeding into the local economy and development. The new buildings are situated on roads that double up as … Continue reading

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Innovation grants at INASP: working across teams to increase use of online research literature

In the recently announced “Innovation grant for using online research literature” we have been able to bring the various components of INASP’s programmes together. In designing and developing these grants, members of four strands of INASP’s activities – Research Access and Higher Education, AuthorAID, Evidence Informed Policy Making and our Communications team – came together to discuss possible barriers to the use of online literature, as they affect each core stakeholder group – librarians, researchers, academics and policymakers. Access to online research literature underpins many INASP activities – researchers need access to these resources to prepare high-quality papers, and policymakers can use evidence from online resources to develop their policies. Researchers and policymakers, along with academics, lecturers and librarians, are all eligible to apply for a grant to support a project that includes an innovative idea of how to increase online research literature usage while also achieving a research, policy … Continue reading

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#inaspPrinciples for publishers 3: Avoid making sudden changes

– for full list of the principles see here – I’ve had the privilege of travelling to many of the countries in which INASP works. In most of the cities I have visited, I find that my hosts have a kind of inverse pride in their traffic jams. I have been told that the jams are worst in Dhaka, in Nairobi, in Hanoi, in Dar es Salaam… I wouldn’t put it to the vote, but I have sat in hot cars for many hours in all those cities. And that was in a car, not reliant on public transport which may or may not show up, or have space. This affects the ability of people to plan ahead; even with allowances for the “jams”, one cannot set arrival times with any confidence. It also limits the number of places one can plan to get to in a day, so we … Continue reading


#inaspPrinciples for publishers 2: Respect a country’s wish to negotiate as a consortium

Principle 2: Respect a country’s wish to negotiate as a consortium or purchasing club – for full list of the principles see here – In this post, we will be considering the importance of working through library consortia. Consortia are critical because they enable a wide range of institutions to purchase and access content, which some wouldn’t be able to do alone. Working in this way is important to countries, but we think it’s also good business practice – as we’ll explain below. In our previous blog post in this series we looked at the importance of understanding the context of a country. As several of our partners explained, IT infrastructure is often worse outside the capital city and countries have a range of institutions engaged in research, all therefore need access to the literature. Greater visibility One of the strengths of a consortium is their reach. The consortium is … Continue reading

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Enthusiasm, timing and local ownership shape our new initiatives in Sierra Leone

Having recently returned from my second visit to Sierra Leone, I have been reflecting on the last year of our collaboration project with Reseach4Life. The project aims to advance research in Sierra Leone through supporting and developing the capacity to use and produce research literature. While INASP is actively working to support colleagues in Sierra Leone, they are helping us to understand more about the conditions necessary to advance research both in Sierra Leone and elsewhere. Initial visit In September 2013 we made a scoping visit to Sierra Leone to meet with as many people connected with the higher education and research sector as possible, learning about their successes, challenges and aspirations. It struck us how many people were determined to make a success of re-building the country after the war. We recognised the familiar challenges we meet in many of the countries in which we work: inadequate electricity and … Continue reading

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Key themes from the eLearning in Africa conference

I recently attended the eLearning in Africa conference in Windhoek, Namibia to meet with others active in my field and hear about some of the new developments taking place.  The event was host to some very interesting people and presentations. I particularly enjoyed the closing debate with Dr Adele Botha’s illustrations of African innovations which have ensured sustainability — such as repairing and using old cell phones (the very early Nokia versions, known as “bricks”) and housing a community computer in a drum for protection from the weather. There were a number of themes that caught my eye, particularly given the recent ‘Moocs and educational development’ series of blogs by Ravi Murugesan. In his previous post (part 4), Ravi mentioned “separate” learners who prefer to rely on authoritative sources of information and “connected” learners who like to learn from discussions with others. Presenters at the conference  generally concluded that learning is stronger … Continue reading

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