Knowledge production and academic publishing in a globalised world
(University of Amsterdam)
Sandra Staudacher (University of Basel)
Andrea Patricia Kaiser-Grolimund (University of Basel)
Paper short abstract:
Contributions to academic knowledge production of 'research assistants', brokers, or local researchers, are typically not adequately represented, discussed, and honoured in academic publications. Here, we plea to search for possible solutions at three different levels.
Paper long abstract:
Even today there are scholars working on Africa who present themselves as lonely wolves, not revealing much about their collaborations with 'research assistants', brokers, local researchers, or other collaborators. However, academic knowledge production is never the work of a single individual, not least because researchers regularly work in research teams as part of bigger (often interdisciplinary) projects. People from various world regions with diverse backgrounds contribute during the different phases of data gathering, data procession, data analysis, as well as during the writing and publication processes. Still, contributions of some crucial actors are typically not adequately represented, discussed, and honoured in academic publications. Often, they are just mentioned briefly in the acknowledgments - if at all.
We are convinced that incorporating these collaborators' voices is a first step to move beyond the "hidden colonialism" (Middleton and Pradhan 2014: 371) in academic publishing. We argue, however, that academic knowledge production should move beyond recognition. We plea to search for possible solutions at different levels: Firstly, every researcher should reflect upon the role of collaborators in terms of ethics, contract, joint publications and so on - already at the stage of a project's conceptualization. Secondly, university departments and funding institutions should discuss best practices based on which guidelines are to be developed. Thirdly, academic publications should include mandatory section in which researchers reveal the involvement of and pay credit to the contributions of 'research assistants', brokers, local researchers, or further collaborators.
Connecting people through academic writing - how to bridge the gap? [Roundtable]