Category Archives: PfD

Local knowledge for local challenges
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From secret diseases in south Asia to plant-based healers in west Africa, last week’s Publishers for Development conference had plenty of stories and examples of how local research, based on global and local knowledge, is making a difference to local issues. 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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Challenges of facilitating research access in Bangladesh
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– Dr M. Nazim Uddin is the Head and Senior Manager of the Library and Information Services Section at icddr,b, an international health research organization based in Dhaka. He gives a librarian’s perspective of the challenges of research access in Bangladesh

What should a library look like? For me, it should have five basic components: a building, professional staff members, resources (such as furniture and print and e-literature), budgets and users. In Bangladesh, the two most difficult components for librarians to manage are budgets and resources.
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Consortium strengthens information access in Kenya
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Jacinta Were, an INASP associate based in Kenya, discusses how INASP and the Kenyan library consortium have worked together for well over a decade to support sustainable access to electronic research information in the country.

I’ve known and worked with INASP for the last 15 years, mainly to support research in Africa. When INASP started working in Kenya we had gone for about six years without subscribing to any journals because there was no budget. When we did subscribe to a journal, it was just one at a time, in print form, and it would often take two years to arrive. When INASP arrived and explained what they were planning to do we welcomed them, we said “Yes, this is really the right time!”

I can speak for my country when I say that INASP support has rejuvenated libraries in Kenya, which are now able to support researchers. INASP introduced us to electronic library research literature. We are now able to access over 46,000 electronic journals and books and the researchers; having been reluctant in the beginning, are now hooked on them.

The way INASP works has been a very different approach for us in Kenya, different from the donor-supported projects we are used to. INASP has helped us to take ownership of the whole project. For the last 15 years we’ve been working on making it ours and focusing on sustainability, which has been quite exciting and very successful.

INASP support in Kenya started with subscriptions to online journals. After years, due to the political situation, donors shied away from Kenya and it was at that point that INASP helped us to set up a library consortium – the Kenya Library and Information Services Consortium (KLISC). We’d never dreamt of supporting ourselves, but we now have over 100 members and are self-sustaining in many ways. We are able to subscribe to the journals ourselves as well as to engage in negotiations with publishers. Sustainability is about developing skills and capacity as our financial situation has not changed, so one of KLISC’s strengths is in being able to manage our limited budget to maximum effect.

INASP’s work in Kenya has given us a product in the form of electronic journals, and KLISC is able to supply that product. This has enabled libraries to become organized and visible and to place themselves at the centre of research within the institutions.

The consortium model has been so successful for enabling sustainable access to electronic library resources in Kenya that over the years we have tried to encourage other countries to establish consortia. There is a lot of potential out there; many countries have already started to work within this model. Some are well-developed and others are just starting out. In Africa, Kenya’s library consortium is one of the most developed and we realized that we could support other countries and consortia to grow stronger. With INASP support we have started to collaborate with the Consortium of Ethiopian Academic Research Libraries (CEARL). In the first six months of working together, a team from CEARL visited KLISC in Kenya to meet, learn and network. I then took on the role of a ‘mentor’ for the Ethiopian consortium, communicating between the two organizations and advising CEARL on how to build its strengths. Over the first six months we saw the Ethiopian Consortium grow and become more active; it has been a successful pilot. I would like to see replication of this in other countries to build more strong consortia in Africa. We have in mind the development of an electronic network to provide a platform for people to share South-to-South experiences, challenges and solutions in supporting research across the continent.■

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Jacinta Were has over 37 years’ experience of managing libraries, retiring from the University of Nairobi in 2015 where she served as Deputy Director in charge of library electronic services. She led the establishment of library consortia in Eastern and Central Africa including the Kenya Library and Information Services Consortium.

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How publishers can support consortia through collaboration
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INASP Associate Dianne Miles has worked with a range of publishers and library consortia for many years. In this post, she recommends some ways that publishers and consortia can build mutually beneficial collaborations Continue reading

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