FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
New study analyses knowledge production on peace and security in Africa
Nairobi, Kenya: The Nairobi and Kings College London based African Leadership Centre (ALC), has released a seminal report mapping how knowledge on peace and security in Africa is researched and produced. The report provides a rich array of visual and narrative assessment of data spanning a 58 year period.
Speaking as a discussant during the launch of the report in Nairobi, Professor Ismail Rashid of Vassar College said that the piece of work was a demonstration of “big data at work in the field of peace and security in Africa” and was a sure sign that the type of scientific research undertaken was possible and, demonstrated a new way of working with data and related methods.
Damilola Adegoke, the lead author of the report and a Doctoral Fellow of the ALC, King’s College London, commented, “there is little or no study dedicated to the mapping of the state of peace and security research in Africa”.
The study uses and presents a range of data and evidence that first confirms, then details, what has been confined to anecdotal analysis. It concludes that, although research was produced on the continent, the bulk of this knowledge is dominated by institutions based in the global north. In Africa much of the knowledge production originates in South Africa then Nigeria and Kenya respectively. The report reflects most cited authors and their institutional affiliation and offers in depth commentary on authorship, how it is recorded and how this influences citations amongst peers.
Findings also include the gender and other identity markers of authors. The study found that the 20 most cited articles on peace and security in Africa had men as their primary authors at over 85 per cent. Moreover, there was no black African female scholar as the first author, amongst the most cited scholars.
This work also examines how the media, globally, covers, represents and engages experts on topical issues of peace and security in Africa. The report found similar patterns of underrepresentation and little or no visibility of academics and researchers, especially those based in universities, in the news; these individuals were rarely consulted as experts. This has a significant impact on research uptake by policy institutions and practitioners on the continent.
Professor ‘Funmi Olonisakin, a Professor of Security, Leadership and Development and the Vice-President and Vice-Principal International, King’s College London, observed that “much of the research and ideas that inform those intervening and responding to conflicts and insecurity in Africa are produced within non-African institutions”.
The study and its report are a project of the ALC’s Data Lab – a repository of open data and data analyses, for security, peacebuilding and development related issues in Africa. The Executive Director of the Centre, Shuvai Nyoni praised the report noting that “transforming knowledge generation on peace and security in Africa by Africans, cannot be fully achieved without an understanding of the knowledge terrain”.
For Further information contact: