Jan 30, 2016 BY FRANCIS OHANYIDO
“In Africa there are so few people trained in research methods. Without skills in research methods and training, one cannot publish in top journals. What then can be done to change this?"
Professor Ron LaPorte, Emeritus Professor of Epidemiology and co-founder of the Supercourse of Epidemiology, University of Pittsburgh WHO collaborating Center.
In answer to the challenge posed in the quote by Professor LaPorte, in collaboration with the team at the Library of Alexandria, we have developed a completely free (open access) research methods library that is one of the largest in the world where faculty and students can go to have their research methods answers answered, and we encourage researchers, faculties and students across Africa to be part of the new Africa Rising in research.
Let me share this abstract by some of my colleagues on the work we are doing at in an article presented to the Society for the Advancement of Science in Africa (SASA) 3rd International Annual Conference, which held in Toronto, Canada in August 29015, with the title : “Research Methods Library of Alexandria to Boost Scientific Productivity in Africa”. It was led by Ronald LaPorte, Ph.D, (University of Pittsburgh) with Ismail Serageldin, Ph.D., (Library of Alexandria), Musa Kana, M.D. , Eugene Schubnikov, M.D., and Faina Linkov, Ph.D. as co-authors . The abstract read:
"During the past decade there has been a threefold marked acceleration of research in Africa. Despite this increase, still only 2.5% of the world’s literature is published from Africa. We want to markedly increase this. Often, when people see this fact, they argue that more international and national money should be spent. However, it is unlikely in the near future that there will be a marked increase in funding for science.
We have taken a different, potentially very effective, but frugal approach. For 76% of the articles that are rejected, the reason is due to poor research methods. In Africa, there are brilliant young investigators with outstanding research ideas, yet they have problems publishing. The reason for the difficulty is what we call “stataphobia”, which is the fear of statistics and not having access to help. In Africa, in many countries, there are few people trained in research methods. It does not matter how bright a young person is, they cannot publish without a knowledge of statistics.
We therefore have built the “Research Methods Library of Alexandria (RMLA)”.
This is a one-stop shopping center for answers to research methods. We have over 2,000 research and YouTube presentations, an “ask a research librarian”, numerous courses, free statistics books and software, scientific apps, and a survey portal. It is the largest library of research methods yet created. Everyone can use it for free.
We have just built a network of users. We have identified over 10,000 faculty members in medical schools in Africa and provided information about the program. Over 200 universities have put a “RMLA Button” on their site so that if one has a question about research methods, they click on the button and are whisked to the RMLA to find answers. We are also planning a top quality scientific journal that is peer reviewed, in the English Language, and of open access. It will also be one of the first “mentored” journals where the editors help authors with good ideas and data.
We are starting with health research, but will shortly expand to agriculture, climate, and computer engineering."
Research Methods Library of Alexandria to Boost Scientific Productivity in Africa. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/280884374_Research_Methods_Library_of_Alexandria_to_Boost_Scientific_Productivity_in_Africa
Do you want to become a champion for strengthening scientific research publication in Africa and also become a foundation member of the RMLA ? Or do you desire more information for yourself or your institution?, It is simple. Just write to us and we will have you participate.
There are two requests that we ask in the beginning:
Go and examine the RMLA. http://ssc.bibalex.org/helpdesk/introduction.jsf
Distribute this information to all students and faculty you can reach, as we believe that not only researchers should know a little about research methods, but all students in higher education in Africa should have some grounding in at least basic research. For example in the US most people think that in Africa people are more likely to be killed by a lion than walking across the street!!
The 3 component which is not required at this point, is if for you and your University or Academic or Training Institution become a regional member of the RMLA.
This is free, and we ask that you put a Library of Alexandria link/button on your site
WE have given about 7-10 research methods training courses throughout the world which really benefit students. If we can establish a joint virtual program with the approaches above, we could discuss a regional program.
My colleague Dr Musa Kana and I would be presenting the RMLA at a special panel at this year’s Biovision 2016 Conference in Egypt coming April. BioVision Alexandria , as it is referred to , is an important gathering that brings together distinguished speakers and Nobel Laureates from the four corners of the globe through rich discussions that commemorate science and the finest achievements of the human intellect. We would also be giving a course on research methods at The Society for the Advancement of Science in Africa (SASA) meetings in Nairobi, August 2016.
You are welcome to be part of the Africa RMLA today.
Africaglobalhealth AT gmail.com , Ronaldlaporte AT gmail.com
Dr. Francis O.Ohanyido
"Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity". (WHO)
"Health is a Right". (IPHF)