Representation of academics from developing countries in scientific journals: forthcoming

I’ve just heard that the paper Representation of academics from developing countries as authors and editorial board members in scientific journals: does it matter to the field of development studies?, written with Paul Hobink, has been accepted for publication in the European Journal of Development Research (EJDR), published by EADI. The paper considers a sample of 10 ‘well-known’ academic journals in the field of development studies, namely Economic Development and Cultural ChangeJournal of Development StudiesDevelopment and ChangeWorld DevelopmentThird World QuarterlyCanadian Journal of Development StudiesDevelopment Policy ReviewJournal of International Development, EJDR, and Progress in Development Studies, based on the analysis of data from the Web of Science (WoS) database for the period 2012-2014 and from journal websites. The paper demonstrates that academics from developing countries are ‘underrepresented’ as both authors and members of editorial boards in the field of development studies. Does this matter? Yes, we think it does both from the perspectives of responsibility and equity but also because development is an endogenous process. We argue that journals in the field of development studies need to make a more concerted effort to include colleagues from developing countries in their research as equal partners and co-authors. More on this when the article is published.

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The complicated history of the KM4D Journal…

While researching a proposed Call for Papers for a forthcoming Special Issue of the KM4D Journal, I came across an interesting case study of the journal which presents a simplistic version of a quite complicated history. As one of the group of founders of the journal, I thought I would take this opportunity to explain some of the reasons behind decisions that were taken, particularly the controversial decision to leave the open access open journal system in 2012. Many of the changes around the journal have been tracked in editorials over the years and I cite – and link – to a number of them here.

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Social capital as a development strategy

This paper Producing social capital as a development strategy: implications at the micro-level, written with colleagues at the Athena Institute at the VU University Amsterdam, has been published this month in Progress in Development Studies. Based on an analysis of the documentary evidence provided by theoretical perspectives and empirical studies, it looks at ways that it might be possible to reinforce social capital. Across countries and contexts, micro-credit, agricultural production and marketing, environmental protection and knowledge networking are linked to productive social capital. Four mechanisms to strengthen social capital are identified: structural opportunity to meet, ‘know-how’ of social interaction, sense of belonging and an ethos of mutuality. We envision that opportunities within the development practice exist to foster such mechanisms, and recommend in-depth studies to enhance our understanding of social capital production mechanisms.

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World Bank on public goods in African development: a changing rhetoric?

In Africa’s Pulse, published by the World Bank in December 2014, the emphasis on agricultural development in Africa seems to have been transformed. The report argues that boosting agricultural productivity alone will not suffice:

Investments in rural public goods (for example, education, health, rural roads, electricity, and ICT) and services (including in small towns) will be equally important to boost the rural economy and facilitate the structural transformation through rural income diversification, while also equipping the next generation for migration to the cities.

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Article on SciDevNet

There was a journalist from SciDevNet present at the EADI conference last week when I made my presentation. The story Top development journals dominated by Northern scholars is now featuring on their front page.

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Inequalities in knowledge production: academics from developing countries

Today I made a presentation at the European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI) General Conference in Bonn, Germany. The theme of my presentation was the extent to which academics. located in developing country institutions, are participating in academic journals in the field of development studies as authors and members of editorial boards.

My research found that academics from developing countries are marginalised as both authors and editorial board members. Is this a problem? I think it is from the perspectives of equity and responsibility. During the discussion, my colleague,Mike Powell, put this in perspective:

What would you think if there was a meeting to decide on the future of the Netherlands but that almost all of the people there didn’t live in the Netherlands, and weren’t even Dutch!

Doesn’t sound like a good idea to me!

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Communities of practice in international development

On 15 May 2014, I was in Barcelona to make a presentation on knowledge sharing in communities of practice.

In this presentation, I presented two examples which I thought might interest the participants who were – with two exceptions – not from the development sector at all: Dgroups and KM4Dev. Based on these two examples, I tried to identify possible lessons for those working in other sectors. Given that much of the audience was Spanish (and Catalan) speaking, I also asked my colleagues from KM4Dev for examples of videos about development work in Spanish which I could play for the participants. At the end of my presentation, I thus played a video of work on indigenous knowledge among the Mapuche people in Chile.

Attending the conference was a great experience for me – not only because it was so well organised – but also because I had the opportunity to meet a number of colleagues from Spain and further afield. I only attended very few presentations myself – my Spanish is inexistente (thank you google translate) – but it was really great to see Karen Watkins’ presentation of a questionnaire that she has developed with Victoria Marsick which assesses dimensions of a learning organisation. This has already been tested in 70 different organisations and I really liked the emphasis on informal learning and the learning culture.

I was also very happy to have the opportunity to meet Josu Uztarroz who has blogged about my presentation in Spanish.

Here is the paper Communities of practice in international development on which the presentation is based. It includes four cases of communities, including the CTA Smart toolkit.

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