Monthly archives: March 2016

Development research: Access all areas?

Alexandra Elbakyan is in hiding, possibly in Russia. Elsevier, the publishing giant, have filed a legal case against her for sharing millions of academic journal papers on the internet. Her actions are a protest against the paywalls that so many scholarly articles are hidden behind.

If you work in a research environment, these paywalls are all too common in your daily work. When looking for journal articles about international development sanitation earlier this week, I was dismayed to discover that the vast majority were locked away behind pay walls. Having working in research for a number of years, I am familiar with the frustration of finding what looks from the abstract like it might be exactly the paper you have been searching for, only to discover that to access the full text you will need to fork out an extortionate sum because it is published in a journal that your institution does not have a subscription for.
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Mind the confidence gap

Last week I went to assessment centre for a role that involved leading teams and projects within an international development organisation. Speaking to others towards the end of the day about how they thought their one-to-one interviews went, I noticed something. The male candidates were extremely up-beat about their interviews whilst the women were significantly more reserved.

A few of these women ended up having a brief discussion about how well they thought they sell themselves and again the outcome was not positive. They found it difficult to give themselves credit for their contribution to work as part of a team, they perceived many of their achievements as less down to their own knowledge and skills than a good dose of luck and generally, they disliked the feeling of arrogance associated with telling people what they were good at. Certainly not an ideal situation in which to face an interview panel.
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