Category Archives: Series

The series category contains blogs in two or more parts.

Research and knowledge systems in difficult places part 2: Liberia
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In April, we published a blog post featuring South Sudan, introducing the first of a series of new papers on research and knowledge systems in “difficult places”. Around 4000 miles west of Juba, hugging the Atlantic coast of the continent is Liberia, which is the subject of our next post. While South Sudan is the world’s newest state, Liberia is Africa’s oldest republic, independent since 1847. But when we chose Liberia we weren’t tracing a simple conflict or crisis theme. Instead, with strong partnerships in Ghana, and new projects in Sierra Leone, it was a logical next step for INASP to consider working in Liberia. Common threads Of course, as countries which have both suffered many years of violence, there are some obvious, if superficial, similarities between Liberia and South Sudan – both are slowly rebuilding basic infrastructure and developing new institutions, and both lost many people during these crises, … Continue reading

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Research and knowledge systems in difficult places – part 1: South Sudan
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In the first of a series of blog posts based on recent analysis into the research and knowledge systems in fragile or conflict states, Jon Harle considers South Sudan. Continue reading

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#inaspPrinciples for publishers 4 & 5: Pricing and sales, be realistic and predictable
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Principle #4 Think medium to long term on pricing Principle #5: Be realistic about sales expectations – where increases are needed, make these affordable, incremental and predictable In the last few posts we’ve covered a range of issues: varying levels of infrastructure; the day-to-day challenges of getting things done; the importance of working through the consortia that countries are striving to develop. We deliberately started with these issues because they’re the all-too-important context that can get lost in conversations that begin with price. But of course price matters, and it’s one of the biggest concerns for INASP’s partners, particularly as some begin to take on the negotiating role that INASP has played for many years. Our final two principles both tackle the finances so we’re grouping them together in this post. Competing for limited funding As we discussed in Principle 1, research and higher education are growing in many of … Continue reading

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#inaspPrinciples for publishers 3: Avoid making sudden changes
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– 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

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#inaspPrinciples for publishers 2: Respect a country’s wish to negotiate as a consortium
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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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#inaspPrinciples for publishers 1: Taking the time to understand country context
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Principle 1: Making the effort to understand the country context – understanding local needs and going beyond the capital city. – for full list of the principles see here – The (admittedly specialist) news is awash with stories about the growth of research and higher education in developing countries. After years of neglect, interest has returned, governments are investing, and foreign donors are providing additional funding. Student numbers are growing rapidly, new universities are being built to cater for demand, and there’s a greater focus on the value that research has in tackling some of the difficult problems of development. Infrastructure But these headlines can conceal the more prosaic challenges that universities and their staff and students face day to day. This remarkable growth means that student numbers often outpace improvements to university campuses, and the ability to train new faculty. Government funding has to go further, and newer institutions … Continue reading

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