Many of us work on networks, bids, projects and programmes with overseas research collaborators in the global South. We hope that developing these will embody and enhance fairness and transparency, that no-one involved in these collaborations feels themselves treated unfairly in terms of workload, remuneration, reward, risk or promotion.
However, many potential PIs, working in the universities of the global North, hoping to build consortia and hoping to access international development funds, wanting to deal fairly with potential colleagues in the global South, do not know the answer to questions such as:
- How would your work on a proposed project be rewarded or recompensed? Would your university pay you extra or would it reduce your other workload? Would you be able swap commitments around amongst your colleagues, or within your team or your department? What is the usual practice at your university? How do your colleagues engage with externally funded projects?
- How might your work on a project enhance your career and your promotion? Do you need research publications, conference presentations, professional memberships or press coverage? Are exchanges and visits useful for your career? Or support with research degree fees and supervision?
- Is research recognised as a route to promotion at your university? How is research monitored or measured? What kind of support do you need to promote the impact and importance of your work on a proposed project?
- What is a reasonable annual or daily rate of pay for your contribution to projects in the universities of your country? Are there already established or formalised rates? Are there precedents from comparable projects? Are there problems with inflation, exchange rates and prompt processing of payments? DONE
- Would it be better to work on externally funded projects as a consultant? Why? Have you done this before? Could you manage the probable reporting and accounting requirements?
- How would your university administer project finances? How would a project’s money be held and who would control it? Would it be it be paid in advance or in arrears? Would you have any administrative support? Would your university take financial responsibility? Is it familiar with auditing requirements? Would all of the project funds be made available to you and under your control? Could you access the necessary budget for project expenses? What sorts of expenditure, expenses and per diems could you claim for working on a proposed project?
Ignorance of the answers to these kinds of questions amongst potential PIs in the global North makes it difficult and sometimes embarrassing to build equitable consortia.
We propose to develop an open, transparent and accessible forum and knowledge base that will capture the circumstances and situations of researchers and academics in the global South and their institutions, their ministries, their donors and their regulators in order to build much greater equity into relationships and transactions amongst the research community. This is not a survey. We are not looking for number and statistics. We want to hear the stories that illustrate the diversity and complexity of the lives of researchers.
If you have answers to these questions or stories to tell that would help us all understand the nature and diversity of the lives of researchers, please email Professor John Traxler: email@example.com or go to the form at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1h9r8fu-6W6pccl5BQ0S7GFr4R3Skxv5QgqiTyEL_hbQ/edit Any responses will be anonymised.