Are intermediaries neutral?

August 13, 2008

Gillies Kasongo from PANOS Southern Africa talks about the one thing he’ll be taking away with him from the conference. He questions the neutrality of intermediaries and asks: Who influences the way intermediaries operate and why they operate?  Why do intermediaries exist and how neutral are their interventions?

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The changing world of research communication

July 21, 2008

This session examined what is changing in the world of research communication from the perspective of people working in information and communication roles and at the supply end of research. The panelists spoke about some of the big changes in their areas of work that they thought would change the way they improve policy implementation.

Buhle Mbambo-Thata from eIFL spoke about how the open access movement was gaining momentum. Progress is being made internationally to make research articles in all academic fields freely available on the Internet. Usually a Google search’s first three results will be from open access repositories. Whether this is through self-archiving or open access, it has been shown that the availability of information promotes access to information. However, some authors can’t afford or pay the fees. There needs to be a change in mindset – does an organizations assets lie in purchasing journals or making research available in open access journals? The ASSAf academy is still investigating the issue of open access and looking at what kind of model will work for South Africa. They are currently looking at shifting from pay to use to free to use. We need to ascertain that we have good quality publications in open access. Policies are needed to provide protection, encouragement and guidelines in which people can operate.

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Research communication: case studies that explore innovation and challenges in effective communication of research

July 21, 2008

This session was well attended by delegates from many different countries and very diverse backgrounds. The session was chaired by Andrew Chetley, an Executive Director from Healthlink, UK. Two presentations were made. The first by Yu Ke, a researcher in the Policy Analysis Unit at the HSRC and the second by Gillies Kasongo from the PANOS Institute of Southern Africa (PSAf).

Gillies Kasongo PANOS Southern Africa

Gillies Kasongo PANOS Southern Africa

The session was an open discussion to discuss the case studies presented and to see if they fit into the 5 hypothesis presented by the IDS background paper, or to determine if we needed to come up with another hypothesis. Both presenters spoke about the importance of bearing in mind the end users / practitioners of the research, about what matters to them, the types of research to be developed and how it is communicated to various audiences. They also mentioned how the interactions between the different audiences occur.

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