Author Archives: Guest Contributor

Taking complexity seriously: helping officials to use evidence more skilfully in the Zimbabwean government
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Author: Ajoy Datta, Research Associate, Overseas Development Institute, worked on the VakaYiko programme, coordinated by INASP. Ajoy is an expert in improving policy influencing and decision making practices. The VakaYiko Consortium aimed to strengthen the use of research evidence in policy making in Ghana, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe. The project ran between 2013–2017 and was funded by the UK Department for International Development under the Building Capacity for Use of Research Evidence (BCURE) programme. This post is the second in a series of posts on new approaches for organizational change. Evidence can be used as a resource by government officials (both ministers and civil servants) in an environment which is usually characterized by debate, competition and persuasion, says Paul Cairney, Professor of Politics and Public Policy, University of Stirling, in the Politics of Evidence Based Policymaking Lots of work has been done to improve policymakers’ use of evidence both in … Continue reading

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Research access and getting published: challenges in developing countries
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What does a day in the life of researcher or librarian in the global South look like? Here, university staff from Uganda, Zimbabwe and Ghana share their experiences of their daily work, accessing information and publishing research findings.

Interviews by Katie Lewis

Translating research into practical solutions is vital for overcoming big global challenges like hunger, disease, inequality and climate change. But for these practical solutions to be effective, it is important to understand the local context. In-depth and locally generated knowledge is key to solving local development issues. Continue reading

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Sri Lankan library consortium provides electronic scholarly information to the country’s universities and research institutions
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To create a vibrant research culture and raise the ranking of Sri Lankan universities, it is vitally important that the academics and students, especially postgraduates, are provided with unhindered access to scholarly journals in their respective fields. The Sri Lankan Library Consortium (CONSAL), supported by INASP, has been a vital tool in providing electronic scholarly information to universities and research institutions in Sri Lanka, and its journey is one to be proud of.

Sharanya Sekaram interviewed the Coordinator of CONSAL Pradeepa Wijetunga to find out more. Continue reading

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What are publishers doing about global divides?
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One of the speakers at next week’s Publishers for Development conference, Janet Remmington, gives a personal account of some of the work of the scholarly publisher Taylor & Francis towards addressing information needs in the global South.

Our world is more connected than ever, and yet it is not. In our information age, publications and data abound, but we see global unevenness in the creation, availability, and application of knowledge resources. Open Access is importantly part of the picture, yet it is still evolving and does not come without its own challenges. Also, the very role of evidence-based findings and critical debate for addressing the problems and opportunities of our world is under threat. In the reality of our mixed economy, what are publishers doing to address information needs of the global South? In what follows, is a brief personal account of some of the work of Taylor & Francis. Continue reading

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Why opening up access to research findings in the global South will accelerate international development
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Dr Nilam Ashra-McGrath works for COMDIS-HSD, which is a consortium of NGOs in Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Swaziland and the UK, and the University of Leeds, that does research on health service delivery interventions for a range of communicable and non-communicable diseases. In this post, she shares some of the challenges that the knowledge sector faces and reflects on the importance of access to research for NGO researchers.

Research findings should be as accessible as possible. To my mind, there’s no doubt that opening up and speeding up access to research will be a powerful force in meeting international development targets. Giving access to everyone – citizens, NGOs, students, activists, government staff, donors and philanthropists – has the potential to reduce the amount of duplication in research and increase the level of scrutiny as to how research is funded, interpreted and used by different parties. This enables citizens to hold multiple parties to account. Continue reading

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Overcoming challenges to research access in Sri Lanka
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Vasanthi Thevanesam is Emeritus Professor at the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. In the context of her own research on infectious diseases, she explains why access to the latest research is so vital for academics and clinicians in developing countries.

Large chunks of the population in many tropical countries, like Sri Lanka, are exposed to a number of infectious diseases rarely encountered in more developed countries. In order to reduce the incidence of such diseases, we need to monitor them accurately. This is a challenge, because there is currently very little accurate and reliable information about many of these infections at the local level in Sri Lanka.
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