Blog: Extending the life and reach of research

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Nov 2016

Contributed by Kelly Shephard, Institute of Development Studies (IDS).

Effective decision making in global development requires access to diverse, high quality, relevant research evidence from a range of sources. However, the availability and visibility of research knowledge in online spaces is unequal. Some programmes produce wonderful outputs that get lost to the world when projects come to an end. Others are hard to find unless the person looking for them knows that they exist and what they are called. 

A key aspect of the Impact Initiative’s work is to ensure that research reaches the right people. In a strand of our work that we call “legacy services”, we identify outputs - including reports, papers and briefings - and publish them in an open access repository. We believe that in extending the reach and life of these outputs we can increase the potential impact that the research can have.

OpenDocs - open access repository

OpenDocs is built on a software platform that is used internationally and is highly compatible with other systems to facilitate data exchange and re-use. The full text of each archived document is rapidly indexed by search engines and securely stored for the long term. In this way OpenDocs, is hugely increasing the discoverability of research both inside and outside academic circles.

We have kick-started our legacy work by examining the health research portfolio and since archiving 213 health publications in June 2016, we are delighted to see that they have now been downloaded, to date, over 3000 times.

Key issues guide to health inequality - overview of health issues and clear outlines for research

But for us publishing outputs in an open access repositoriy is not enough. Just because research is available does not mean that people will automatically read it. To help pull out some of the key messages, and to make the research more accessible, we have worked with Eldis to create a Key Issues Guide to Health Inequality which provides an overview of health issues and presents clear outlines for relevant research from the portfolio and related sources. 

Eventually the longer-term legacy of all suitable research from across the Joint Fund for Poverty Alleviation Research and the Raising Learning Outcomes in Education Systems Research programmes will be secured in this way.

To delve into the Impact Iniative archives and find out more please visit Open Docs

 

The Impact Initiative blog posts are either from individual researchers or from major research programmes. Some of the blog posts are original source and are written by researchers and experts connected to the two research programmes jointly funded by ESRC and DFID: the Joint Fund for Poverty Alleviation Research and the Raising Learning Outcomes in Education Systems Research Programme. Other blog posts are imported from related websites and programmes. 

The views expressed in these blogs reflect the opinions of each individual and may not represent the Institute of Development Studies, the University of Cambridge, ESRC or DFID.

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