Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

African Research

This article talks about biases against research from Africa. I would certainly expect such biases, since so many people are racist, classist, or otherwise prejudiced. The article raises a variety of interesting points ...

Founded in 1998, the multilingual, U.K.–based news service AlphaGalileo promotes research from journals and universities around the world. Institutions have to pay an annual fee of more than $2,000 to join.

But managing director Peter Green says that AlphaGalileo hadn't been hearing enough from Africa. So last month he waived the annual fee for research journals there, letting them post news on the site free for a year after they sign up

This is an excellent example of a concrete step taken to increase representation. I hope it helps.

The team found that the group they tested — mostly health-care professionals and researchers living in the U.S. — frequently associated rich countries with good research. More than 80 percent made at least a small association of this sort. The same was true of poor countries and bad research.

I am inclined to suspect that it is easier to do good research in a rich country than a poor one, for reasons of access to necessary supplies and equipment. So many organizations have written about the difficulties of accomplishing anything in Africa due to shortages that it makes me think researchers in poor nations are working at a disadvantage. However, rich countries turn out lousy research all the time, and there are particular challenges that occur more often there, such as politicking driven by large amounts of money. In the end, though, it is the adherence to scientific method that determines the quality of a study; one should never assume, but always check the methodology.

Lucy Quist‏, a Ghanaian businesswoman and engineer, tweeted: "There is bias against most things African including STEM because the knowledge of Africa is a. through the narrowest lens possible and b. is mostly out of date. Few look for the real progress being made to redress bias."

No shit.

Personally, I am intrigued by African science, and I love finding reports of research from any marginalized people.  I've seen some terrific studies about great apes from African researchers.

"Why do we want to be relevant in the Western world?" she asks. "Why can't we create our own journals and conferences? We don't have to be waiting for someone to accept us. We can create our own platform. Make [research, journals and conferences] very, very good, and people from the West will appreciate them."

Well, if you're doing science, that applies to everyone; even if you are researching things with a very limited range, such as endangered African wildlife, there are people interested in that stuff outside of Africa. However, I think the most effective route to publishing African studies is for African countries to launch their own scientific journals and conferences. If you wait around for white people in America or Europe to give a shit, you will be waiting a very long time. Do it yourself. That's always good advice for marginalized people.

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