Author Archives: Jonathan Harle

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About Jonathan Harle

Jonathan Harle is Senior Programme Manager, Research Access and Higher Education and Director of the Strengthening Research and Knowledge Systems programme

Re-imagining higher education in Sierra Leone
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Simon Davis/DFID

Simon Davis/DFID

‘The worst of times and the best of opportunities’

This piece was previously published on Jon Harle’s Medium blog site, republished here with his permission.

We hear many stories about the decline of African universities so it was great to hear a story of regeneration and renewal last Friday.

And it was particularly inspiring that this story came from a county better known in recent years for crisis and tragedy — Sierra Leone. Continue reading “Re-imagining higher education in Sierra Leone” »

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Who drives research in developing countries?
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This piece was previously published on Jon Harle’s Medium blog site, republished here with his permission. To what extent is research on development issues done by researchers in developing countries? To what extent do those researchers actually decide what research needs doing and what questions need asking? And if developing country researchers do decide, to what extent do they do so in collaboration with the people who might ultimately have a use for that knowledge ? These aren’t new questions, but they re-emerged for me recently in a series of studies we commissioned of research and knowledge systems in Somalia and Somaliland, Liberia and South Sudan. And they’re echoed in a series of essays on the ethics and politics of knowledge production in fragile states. It’s a well-worn maxim that appropriate solutions require local knowledge. Yet although this is well recognized, it often seems to be missing when research is commissioned … Continue reading

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Local ownership: support, don’t lead, the process for access to research
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Local ownership is a concept that is fundamental to our work at INASP- in fact it’s more than a concept, it’s a principle that informs everything we do, and that we strive to ensure every day. I was reminded of this during recent discussions at our 28 June Publishers for Development meeting in Oxford. Here I want to suggest one way we can bring an appreciation of ownership to bear on our work in supporting access to research. Why? Because as innumerable examples have shown, solutions which are not owned, which are developed from outside and then imposed on a country rarely work in the long term. They may enjoy some early success, but often crumble – either because they don’t work, or because no-one is invested in them even if they could. From ambitious public sector reform programmes, designed by World Bank experts, which tried to make African governments … Continue reading

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Research and knowledge systems in difficult places part 3: Somalia and Somaliland
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In the last few weeks we’ve been exploring what we’re learning about doing research and using evidence in “difficult places”. We’ve introduced new papers on South Sudan and Liberia. Today we turn to the Somali regions. Looking beyond the headlines Somali has become almost synonymous with the term “failed state”, and Somalis have certainly suffered years of conflict and hardship. But the label of failed state, and the stories of war and refugees disguise a region of complex, adaptive and resilient political, social and economic systems. Similarly, there is more going on in research and higher education than I’d certainly imagined. In our latest viewpoints paper, Faduma Abukar Mursal considers the South-Central and Puntland regions of Somalia, while Abdullahi Odowa explores the situation in the self-declared Republic of Somaliland. Jason Mosley provides an introductory piece of political analysis, which places the subsequent accounts of the research and knowledge systems in … Continue reading

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How can responsible practice by publishers support international development? Learn how at PfD
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As always, this year’s Publishers for Development conferences will give you a chance to hear how research, scholarship and development intersect, and how you as publishers can play a vital enabling role. You will hear from a Ugandan researcher helping to ensure staple crops in Uganda are free from pests, and how a Ghanaian researcher is helping to develop new ways of assessing vulnerability and adaptations to climate change for dryland farming systems. In both cases, you will also hear how they’ve relied on the un-sung and often invisible work of library consortia to make this possible. And we will help you understand what you can do to make sure that this potential – and the potential of thousands of other researchers and students – can be realized as they work to bring science and knowledge to bear on the development challenges their countries face. Levelling the playing field The … Continue reading

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Publishers for Development: the conference with a difference
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If you’re a publisher there’s no shortage of conferences to attend, and it’s probably a difficult decision which to attend. But while many events cover relatively similar territory, there’s one boutique event which really tries to do something different. The event is Publishers for Development. In the year where a new series of global goals to address poverty and inequality were agreed – the Sustainable Development Goals – now is the time to be thinking how publishers can play an effective part. To anyone who keeps an eye on what’s happening in research and higher education globally, there can be no doubt that something important is happening across Africa, Asia and Latin America. University systems are growing, and research activity is rising. What’s more, policymakers have woken up to the importance of research and higher education when designing and implementing national and regional development strategies. The African Union’s 50 year … Continue reading

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