OCSDNet: Open and Collaborative Science in Development Network

(OCSDNet Conceptual Framework)

The Open and Collaborative Science in Development Network (OCSDNet) is composed of twelve researcher-practitioner teams from the Global South interested in understanding the role of openness and collaboration in science as a transformative tool for development thinking and practice. Research teams are supported by a team of four External Advisors and a Network Coordination Team. The project is funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) in Canada and the Department for International Development (DFID) in the UK.

OSCDNet Goals:

  • Nurture an interactive community of Open Science practitioners and leaders in the Global South to learn together and contribute towards a pool of open knowledge on how networked collaboration could address local and global development challenges.
  • Take a critical approach to examining the embedded assumptions behind various models of open collaboration and theories of change.​

The overarching question for OCSDNet is whether, and under what conditions open and collaborative approaches could contribute to the effective application of research seeking to achieve development goals at multiple levels – from individuals to institutions, and from the national through to regional and global communities.

These conditions could, for instance, include access to research outputs, wider participation in the framing of research questions, sharing of technologies and processes, and more collaborative and inclusive approaches to the conduct of research. In particular, OCSDNet aims to:

Support new projects and activities

so as to generate evidence on whether, and if so, under what conditions open approaches to science can enable research that contributes to development goals in the global South. 


Build a community of Open Science

practitioners and leaders in different contexts, by nurturing an interactive research network.

Identify the structural, technical, policy

and cultural barriers for individuals and organizations to participate in OCS and determine how these barriers could be addressed.

Contribute to the building of a new and vibrant area of study (Open and Collaborative Science in Development)

producing knowledge to inform policy and practice, and a community of researchers who identify themselves as working on OCS.

A key area of focus is whether openness will provide added insight on the role of science, technology, and innovation (STI) in development practice and theory, with the ultimate goal of strengthening local research capacity and informing policy-making and practice. Research supported by this project will allow the gathering of observations on the conditions under which open approaches to research and collaboration could lead to development outcomes in the Global South.

This network project is particularly timely given the increasing awareness of the integral role of science, technology and innovation (STI) in development activities, of which the most recent evidence is the inclusion of various references to these themes in the new Sustainable Development Goals proposal. Similarly,  there is a growing interest in the role of openness in science as a transformative tool for both development thinking and practices on the other.

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