The Social Dynamics of Open Data

The Social Dynamics of Open Data is a collection of peer reviewed papers presented at the 2nd Open Data Research Symposium (ODRS) held in Madrid, Spain, on 5 October 2016. Research is critical to developing a more rigorous and fine-combed analysis not only of why open data is valuable, but how it is valuable and under what specific conditions. The objective of the Open Data Research Symposium and the subsequent collection of chapters published here is to build such a stronger evidence base. This base is essential to understanding what open data’s impacts have been to date, and how positive impacts can be enabled and amplified. Consequently, common to the majority of chapters in this collection is the attempt by the authors to draw on existing scientific theories, and to apply them to open data to better explain the socially embedded dynamics that account for open data’s successes and failures in contributing to a more equitable and just society.

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.