Why do we need an Agenda Knowledge for Development? Knowledge and the Sustainable Development Goals

In 2016, I undertook a study of how knowledge and knowledge societies are considered in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with colleagues at the Athena Institute of the VU University Amsterdam. We have written it up and submitted the finished article to an academic journal in July 2016 but still have no news from peer review. However, I think it is such an important issue that I have decided to blog about our findings because I think it is a key piece of evidence for why the new Agenda Knowledge for Development, designed to complement the SDGs from the perspective of knowledge, is so very necessary. This was also the subject of my presentation at the Knowledge Cities World Summit in Vienna on 13 October 2016 which can be seen here:

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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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