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Call for Proposals for KM4Dev Journal Special Issue: Best practices in information & data management for development organizations

Invitation to submit a paper for an upcoming issue of the Knowledge Management for Development (KM4Dev) special issue on open knowledge.
Picture of Abby Clobridge

Abby Clobridge

Abby Clobridge is the founder of FireOak Strategies. She works with clients around the world to enhance how organizations manage, secure, and share their knowledge. You can reach Abby at [email protected].

The Knowledge Management for Development Journal (KM4D Journal) is a peer-reviewed community-based journal on knowledge management for development – for and by development practitioners, researchers and policymakers. The journal is closely related to the KM4Dev community of practice [www.km4dev.org].The KM4D Journal is currently inviting papers for an upcoming special issue on best practices in information and data management for development, to be published in May 2017. The Guest Editors for this issue are Megan Zandstra (lead), Simone Staiger-Rivas, Leroy Mwanzia, Abby Clobridge, Iryna Kuchma, Abraham Azubuike, Michelle Willmers, Nilam Prasai, with Denise Senmartin.

Download the call for papers from the CIAT Website (http://blog.ciat.cgiar.org/km4dev-journal-on-best-practices-in-information-and-data-management-for-development/).


Recent advances in data and information management for development show very specific trends due to the sophistication in managing research and data on the one hand, and in the growing opportunities to interact with stakeholders on the other hand.

The real question is: Will this increased availability of information and data reach the people that most need it? Have we made progress in reaching target users, and to which extent is access to the internet and mobile devices really helping to synergise supply and demand of information and data?

The increased implementation of Open Access policies and practices has profoundly changed the way we think about and interact with intellectual property assets. Getting an institution to formalise Open Access and Open Data practices through strategic engagement and policy development processes may require substantial technical and financial support — for example, to implement data quality assurance processes or cover article processing charges (APCs) associated with Open Access publication — but also depend upon changes in cultural behaviour that is often deeply rooted in our organizations.

How do organizations deal with the implementation of Open Access and Open Data? What mechanisms provide the required institutional incentives? Has Open Access truly changed who has access to information and data? Are students, development professionals, or members of the private sector accessing and using research and data that has been made openly available?

Medium-sized and large development organizations are making fast progress in having most of their information and data available and accessible online by creating or joining digital repositories that gather, store, and disseminate the content of datasets, books, articles, conference proceedings, as well as presentations, web tools, videos, and photo collections. They increasingly follow internationally endorsed metadata standards, metadata and data harvesting protocols, and data and file retrieval protocols that allow content to be retrieved and used by a wider range of both academic and public-sector catalogues, search engines and subject-specific information systems.

While this might be true for medium and large organizations, how can small NGOs, or communities who are active in developing countries manage the data and information they produce, become active contributors with their local knowledge to global conversations, and increase their capacity to use existing information and data resources?

Physical information resource centers still exist in large organizations, small NGOs, and as part of rural extension services. While many large institutional libraries are reducing the size of their physical collections, the need to provide physical spaces for collaborative work remains a key focus, particularly amongst communities who are reliant on these spaces for internet access. Various organizations and institutions are experimenting with a more innovative approach towards traditional library or resource-centre environments in order to serve a wider variety of information needs and collaboration requirements.

Are virtual solutions really the panacea? What are some good examples of physical spaces being successfully used for reading, learning, and listening? How are physical spaces being used nowadays in grassroots settings?

Data and information managers can increase researchers’ awareness of the impact of their scientific production by tracking citations, references, views, and downloads. An increasing number of portals and repositories provide valuable usage data, including social media citations sourced via Altmetric tools and services. Tracking and communicating a wide range of citations and references has become a way to incentivize scientists to contribute to institutional repositories.

Those tools seem mainly to help scientists to improve their CVs! How do we know that data, tools, methods and information have been useful, applied, adopted and adapted by target users? Can we track and report on this utility? Beyond addressing visibility, how do we engage, interact, and follow up with scientists to learn from users and improve our approaches?

Novel open data management tools and practices aim at the discovery of solutions and answers to some of the world’s most complicated problems that previously were hidden in numerous datasets. Data quality increases as data collection is automated, and its analytical methods improved, therefore many organizations are currently addressing the technical and organizational challenges of open data management, trying to provide the components that will strengthen data analytical capacity.

How can small NGOs or communities without sophisticated infrastructure participate in the data revolution and evolve their decision-making processes based on data analysis? How can we manage and benefit from small and big qualitative datasets which have the potential to be of great value in the development sector and pose their own particular challenges in terms of de-identification? How do we address ethical questions related to data use and re-use?”

Data and information management are key components of an enabling knowledge-sharing environment in the development sector. Improved physical and virtual availability, accessibility and applicability of data and information increases the chances of reaching intended users and providing them with new insights, evidence or confirmation of assumptions. Within this context we would like to invite contributions to the May 2017 issue of the KM4Dev journal addressing best practices in organizational and institutional data and information management for development.

In particular, we welcome submissions on the following topics:

Organizing information and data


      • Data and information management for small development organizations.

      • Data and information management for small development organizations.

      • Experiences with collaboration and cost-sharing.

      • New trends in institutional repositories, metadata and interoperability as they relate to the development sector.

      • Approaches towards document translation, data quality, and/or grey literature. Applicability and usability of data and information for development

      • Curation of information and data for enhanced access.

    Engaging staff and researchers


        • Cultural change from within development organizations: Policies, guidelines, and knowledge sharing with staff.

        • The ‘learning commons’ in development institutions. Examples of ways in which physical library spaces have evolved.

        • Evolving data and information management teams. How librarians, data managers, knowledge managers, IT support, and citizen scientists interact and adjust to meet changing needs.

      Communicating impact


          • Tools to monitor and evaluate research outputs, including new metrics (such as Altmetrics). Use of those tools to engage staff, researchers, and the general public.

          • Case studies or evidence on how open data and information has been used and applied by stakeholders. For example, the use of open information and data by policy-makers and/or grassroots organizations.

        Your contribution

        This Special Issue will include articles, case studies and other contributions (see detailed list below). We particularly encourage submissions from researchers, practitioners, policymakers and activists from the Global South. We also encourage submissions from all disciplines, as long as they focus on best practices in information and data management for development. Submissions are welcome in English, French, German, Spanish, and Slavic languages (Belarusian, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Macedonian, Polish, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian and Ukrainian). We can offer ‘peer support’ to authors who are inexperienced writers.

        About the Guest Editors

        Senior Km4Dev Editor: Denise Senmartin
        Guest Editors: The following guest editors are a compilation of specialists in librarianship, knowledge management, open access, and data management.


            • Megan Zandstra – Library and Information Management, International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)

            • Simone Staiger-Rivas – Leader, Data, Information and Knowledge Group, International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)

            • Leroy Mwanzia – Data and Information Manager, International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)

            • Iryna Kuchma – Open Access Program Manager, EIFL (Electronic Information for Libraries)

            • Abraham Azubuike – Chief of Unit, Information Analysis and Metadata Unit, Dag Hammarskjold Library, UN

            • Michelle Willmers – ROER4D Curation and Dissemination Manager, Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching, University of Cape Town

            • Nilam Prasai – Data Curator, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

          Submission Guidelines

          If you would like to submit a paper, please send a short proposal, including the title of your paper and an abstract (minimum one paragraph – maximum one page) by email to: [email protected]


              • Submission deadline for title and abstract October 3, 2016

              • Acceptance of short proposal October 17, 2016

              • Submission of full paper December 19, 2016

              • Completion of peer-review February 17, 2017

              • Submission of final version of paper March 15, 2017

              • Publication date May 1, 2017

            For further information about the journal, kindly consult the journal website at:

            Guidelines for authors are available on the journal’s website:

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