Knowledge, ideas and innovation are intrinsic to research institutions, funding agencies and governments. These institutions enshrine the open exchange of ideas, promote sharing and discussion, and contribute to the growth and development of global science. Tackling global challenges, as seen through the lens of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, requires collaboration across national borders.
The global experience of attempting to manage COVID-19 has reinforced the necessity for a deep understanding of the local context to inform decision-making and in turn, researchers who are versed in local community challenges. Bringing researchers together across multiple contexts is critical to scientific endeavor; however, COVID-19 has disrupted the traditional model of scientific interchange and made it harder for researchers to develop collaborative networks and gain research visibility. This change has incentivized research producers to explore new solutions to help facilitate the open exchange of knowledge.
It’s all gone digital
With traditional scholarly conferences delayed, rescheduled online or simply cancelled, researchers have lost critical opportunities to build their collaborative network and promote their research. Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cape Town, presents this situation as:
“An opportunity to rethink how we can do things differently as a university. Not just within our current geographical space but around the world.”
Going digital may certainly be attractive to many – assuming of course that there are reliable service providers to connect to. It can expand the opportunity base for research collaboration, thus removing several barriers to entry such as the cost of travel and being physically present at the conference. Of course, meeting, greeting and connecting individually and collectively in-person can improve personal relationships, which as University of South Florida described, helps facilitate communication and the sustainability of global projects.
So, what next?
Whilst ideas, projects and proposals may arise from individual researchers, research institutions, funding agencies and governments have an obligation to develop and expand regional and global research networks to support researchers and facilitate an open exchange of ideas. Helping to nurture, as Dr. Garfield (Founder of the Institute for Scientific Information™ (ISI), part of Clarivate) once described, ”the invisible college” (the interconnected researcher), remains as critical as ever. Research organizations that align research investments towards global collaboration are best placed to achieve success in enhancing current and future research growth.
Two key action goals to drive global collaboration within the digital world are:
1. Democratizing research networks by showcasing scholarly activity
For the research administration office, this means providing tools and services for researchers to create, track and manage their scholarly profiles. A stellar example from the Middle East is the Egyptian Knowledge Bank, which alongside Clarivate, introduced knowledge-sharing workshops and training targeted at researchers with the development of an online portal to view and disseminate research.
2. Proactively manage your research profile
For researchers, this means building scholarly profiles online to optimize research visibility and drive interconnectedness. Being discoverable is just one step closer to being connected.
One voice among many
With interconnectedness increasing at a rapid pace, there is a critical need for research institutions, funding agencies and governments to prioritize how they showcase research strengths and support global collaboration. Research creators who articulate and showcase local knowledge to address global challenges, help to stimulate dialogue and challenge conventions, will have their voices heard.
Join us for our upcoming webinar on Empowering collaboration and research visibility in a post COVID-19 world on November 12 to hear how research managers can explore solutions to facilitate the open exchange of knowledge.