The Social Dynamics of Open Data

The Delusion of Knowledge Transfer: The impact of foreign aid experts on policy-making in South Africa and Tanzania

With the rise of the ‘knowledge for development’ paradigm, expert advice has become a prime instrument of foreign aid. At the same time, it has been object of repeated criticism: the chronic failure of ‘technical assistance’ – a notion under which advice is commonly subsumed – has been documented in a host of studies. Nonetheless, international organisations continue to send advisors, promising to increase the ‘effectiveness’ of expert support if their technocratic recommendations are taken up.

This book reveals fundamental problems of expert advice in the context of aid that concern issues of power and legitimacy rather than merely flaws of implementation. Based on empirical evidence from South Africa and Tanzania, the authors show that aid-related advisory processes are inevitably obstructed by colliding interests, political pressures and hierarchical relations that impede knowledge transfer and mutual learning. As a result, recipient governments find themselves caught in a perpetual cycle of dependency, continuously advised by experts who convey the shifting paradigms and agendas of their respective donor governments.

For young democracies, the persistent presence of external actors is hazardous: ultimately, it poses a threat to the legitimacy of their governments if their policy-making becomes more responsive to foreign demands than to the preferences and needs of their citizens.

The Civil Society Guide to Regional Economic Communities in Africa

Since 1963, when the African integration project was born, regional Economic Communities (RECs) have been an indispensable part of the continent’s deeper socioeconomic and political integration. More than half a century later, such regional institutions continue to evolve, keeping pace with an Africa that is transforming itself amid challenges and opportunities. RECs represent a huge potential to be the engines that drive the continent’s economic growth and development as well as being vehicles through which a sense of a continental community is fostered. It is critical therefore that citizens understand the multi-faceted and bureaucratic operations of regional institutions in order to use them to advance their collective interests.

Knowledge for a Sustainable World

The search for answers to the issue of global sustainability has become increasingly urgent. In the context of higher education, many universities and academics are seeking new insights that can shift our dependence on ways of living that rely on the exploitation of so many and the degradation of so much of our planet.

This is the vision that drives SANORD and many of the researchers and institutions within its network. Although much of the research is on a relatively small scale, the vision is steadily gaining momentum, forging dynamic collaborations and pathways to new knowledge.

The contributors to this book cover a variety of subject areas and offer fresh insights about chronically under-researched parts of the world. Others document and critically reflect on innovative approaches to cross-continental teaching and research collaborations. This book will be of interest to anyone involved in the transformation of higher education or the practicalities of cross-continental and cross-disciplinary academic collaboration.

The Southern African-Nordic Centre (SANORD) is a network of higher education institutions from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Botswana, Namibia, Malawi, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Universities in the southern African and Nordic regions that are not yet members are encouraged to join.

A Comprehensive Review of Methods for the Channel Allocation Problem

The study of the channel allocation problem has received much attention during the last decade. Several techniques such as genetic algorithm, artificial neural network, simulated annealing, tabu search and others have been used. This book is devoted to compiling all the techniques that have been used to solve the channel allocation problem. Each of the methods is described fully in a manner that explains the essential parts of how the techniques are formulated and applied in solving the problem. This textbook will be helpful to students studying communications or researchers as it compiles all the techniques used since this problem was first solved.

Seeking Impact and Visibility: Scholarly Communication in Southern Africa

African scholarly research is relatively invisible globally because even though research production on the continent is growing in absolute terms, it is falling in comparative terms. In addition, traditional metrics of visibility, such as the Impact Factor, fail to make legible all African scholarly production. Many African universities also do not take a strategic approach to scholarly communication to broaden the reach of their scholars’ work.

To address this challenge, the Scholarly Communication in Africa Programme (SCAP) was established to help raise the visibility of African scholarship by mapping current research and communication practices in Southern African universities and by recommending and piloting technical and administrative innovations based on open access dissemination principles. To do this, SCAP conducted extensive research in four faculties at the Universities of Botswana, Cape Town, Mauritius and Namibia. SCAP found that scholars:

o carry heavy teaching and administrative loads which hinder their research productivity• remain unconvinced by open access dissemination

o find it easier to collaborate with scholars in the global North than in the rest of Africa

o rarely communicate their research with government

o engage in small, locally-based research projects that are either unfunded or funded by their universities

o produce outputs that are often interpretive, derivative or applied due, in part, to institutional rewards structures and funding challenges

o do not utilise social media technologies to disseminate their work or seek new collaborative opportunities.

All of these factors impact Africa’s research in/visibility at a time when scholarly communication is going through dramatic technical,legal, social and ethical changes.

Seeking Impact and Visibility shares the results of SCAP’s research and advocacy efforts. It not only analyses these four universities’ scholarly communication ecosystems, but illuminates the opportunities available for raising the visibility of their scholarship. It concludes with a series of recommendations that would enhance the communicative and developmental potential of African research.

This study will be of interest for scholars of African higher education,academically-linked civil society organisations, educationally affiliated government personnel and university researchers and managers.