GDNet Program Closure

Dear GDNet Members,

I am writing with important information about the closure of the GDNet program this week, (GDN’s knowledge service), and details of online resources which you may find useful.

Funding for the GDNet Program ends shortly and the GDNet website and online services are no longer accessible. GDN will be contacting GDNet members in due course to re-register for a new database of researcher profiles. We hope the following links will be of value to you in your research:

GDNet publications: GDNet’s toolkits, research communications handouts, learning publications and project documents (e.g. How To Guides on Policy Influence) are available from DFID’s Research For Development portal.

GDNet’s reflections on the achievements, outcomes and learning of the GDNet programme, 2010 to 2014, are captured in the GDNet Legacy Document.
GDNet’s June 2014 series of short ‘Lessons Learned’ publications comprise:

Free e-journals: INASP and the British Library for Development Studies (BLDS) provide access to several collections of free online journals including collections from Africa, Latin America and South Asia.

How to communicate research: INASP’s AuthorAid portal is a global network that offers support, mentoring, resources and training for researchers in developing countries.

Accessing development research:

Working papers and policy briefs from GDN-funded research are available from the GDN site.

The BLDS Digital Library is a free repository of digitised research papers from African and Asian research institutes.

Eldis is an online information service providing free access to relevant, up-to-date and diverse research on international development issues.

Finally, on behalf of my team, I would like to thank you for your membership of GDNet and to wish you every success in your future work. Many of you took part in our latest Members survey and we are disseminating the results widely. The analysis of the survey is included in our latest Monitoring & Evaluation report (see p.54 and p.84).

Best wishes

Sherine Ghoneim, GDNet Programme Director on behalf of the GDNet Team

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الجلسة الافتتاحية للمؤتمر وأهمية المسح التتبعي لسوق العمل المصري

بقلم راماج ندا – منتدى البحوث الاقتصادية

وفي خلال الجلسة الافتتاحية للمؤتمر قام كل من السيد اللواء أبو بكر الجندي، رئيس الجهاز المركزي للتعبئة العامة والإحصاء، والدكتور/ يوسف قريوطي بإلقاء كلمة، أشارا فيها إلى أهمية المسح ونتائجه من وجهة نظرهما.

فقد أوضح الدكتور/ يوسف قريوطي، منظمة العمل الدولية، أن هذا المسح التتبعي ونتائج الأبحاث التي ترتبت عليه تعتبر في غاية الأهمية بالنسبة لمصر خاصةً في ظل الظروف التي تمر بها الآن. كما أنه يوفر قاعدة بيانات غنية تساهم في فهم ديناميات سوق العمل المصري. وأشار إلى أن هذه الأبحاث تقدم توصيات تساعد صناع القرار في مصر في رسم الأولويات في هذه المرحلة لمواجهة البطالة ولدفع عملية التنمية إلى الأمام. وأضاف قريوطي أنه من أبرز النتائج لهذا المسح هي اتباع ما يسمى “بالبرامج الهادفة”، حيث أن المسح سوف يوفر معلومات دقيقة عن الاستهداف الجغرافي والاستهداف القطاعي في مجالات العمل المختلفة، والتي ستمكن صناع القرار من رسم السياسات وتحديد أولوياته

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Inequality of Access to Information: Can Information Sharing be universalized?

Access to information has long been established as one of the major problems faced by southern researchers. Enhancing information accessibility and use helps to better understand, analyze and research ongoing development challenges so that practical solutions can originate from those directly affected by them. This cause is supported by the Connect South Campaign that has pledged to promote sharing knowledge and fostering connections between researchers and decision-makers in the global south, supported by GDNet, GDN’s Knowledge services.

Building on the World Bank’s “Mobilizing Knowledge Networks for Development” conference, Alex Bielak, Senior Fellow and Knowledge Broker (UNU-INWEH) and Louise Shaxon, Research Fellow (ODI), tackle the issue of access to information & the equality of access to information from the perspective of internet access. However Bielak argues the importance of communications infrastructure and how everyone should be connected through information sharing backbone networks that facilitates high-definition data transfer. He raises two interesting questions regarding the current global potential of information access, especially in the south; as to who can afford it, and the sufficiency and quality of this access to knowledge. He emphasizes on accessibility granting and whether it is in fact universal.

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Collaborated ‘Open Data’ and research uptake

(This is a cross post base on a blog post I wrote published at the erf blog , during ERF’s 19th annual conference)

Huge progress has been achieved to make data available and accessible to the public. This is considered a huge opportunity for researchers to make use of this data to analyze questions, provide evidence and come up with solutions to current issues of our time; argues Nemat Shafik, International Monetary Fund (IMF). ERF took the opportunity to launch one of its most important projects at the Annual Conference: its Open Access Micro Data project. This is an interesting segment to GDNet- GDN Knowledge service– since GDNet is planning to launch a beta version of its dataset as Linked Open Data (LOD) later this year.

In my previous post I noted the importance of partnership, collaboration and a joint multiple effort between big international, regional and local catalysts for development. With WBI pioneered the open data initiative, ERF about to launch their dataset, and IFPRI’s recently launched ArabSpatial initiative the question of cooperation cannot be more important. Individual efforts are all very well but the results would be multiplied through cooperation. Various institutions need to syndicate datasets and enhance good relationships with country statistic bureaus to make sure that the data is properly maintained, updated, reliable and robust.

It is indeed impossible to do state of the art research without access to data. However, the more open the datasets are the less information about research uptake there is to monitor. This is a balance worth thinking about and a challenge to knowledge intermediaries to think about new innovative ways to measure research impact and uptake.

Arab Spatial Development and Food Security Atlas

(This is a cross-post based on a blog post published Marcia MacNeil, Communications Specialist at IFPRI)

The main objective of Arab Spatial is to improve access to quality data and to support decision and policy making for a food-secure Arab world, covering the 22 member countries of the Arab League of Nations from Mauritania and Morocco in the West to Iraq and Oman in the East.

The Arab Spatial is an online information storehouse that aggregates food security and development information on more than 100 indicators from the regArab Spatial Atlasion’s governments as well as international institutions. The tool displays the data on maps that users can zoom in on the regional, national, sub-national, and even the pixel level.  Users can then build and print their own maps overlaid with information of their choosing. Data-sets available cover some of the following indices but not restricted to:

  • macroeconomics and governance
  • trade
  • agriculture, water, and energy
  • poverty, health, nutrition, and access to services
  • population and income

The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) is also making some of the data behind the maps available as Linked Open Data (LOD), which means that institutions can capture the information and create new knowledge products with it. The Arab Spatial Development and Food Security Atlas is a “start-up” initiative of IFPRI that is supported by the International Fund of Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Policies, Markets, and Institutions (PIM) Program of the Consultative Group of International Agricultural Research Centers (CGIAR).

Watch Tutorial in English and Arabic to browse through Arab Spatial.