Research4life Appoints New Co-Chairs for Equity Committee

Published: martes 2nd abril 2024
Category: News
The Research4Life Equity Committee aims to bring about transformative change in the representation and participation of researchers from lower and middle income countries.

We are excited to share an update about our goals to establish an Equity Committee which aims to increase representation and participation of researchers from low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) in the research landscape. Following a call for application and a thorough and thoughtful selection process, we have appointed Nasra Gathoni, and Matt Giampoala as the new co-chairs of the Research4life Equity Committee.

Introducing Nasra Gathoni

Nasra Gathoni, new co-chair of the Research4life Equity Committee

Nasra Gathoni, brings over 25 years of experience as a Health Sciences Librarian and Senior Instructor at the Aga Khan University, Nairobi. Her expertise spans information literacy, evidence-based practice, and library management. An award-winning librarian, Nasra has significantly contributed to health information access, led professional committees, and served as President elect in a key professional association.

Nasra Gathoni’s commitment to the Research4life Equity Committee is motivated by her firsthand experience with the transformative impact of Research4Life resources in LMICs. She explains:

«Having been a consumer/user of Research4life for over 15 years, I have observed how this resource has transformed access to research in LMICs, such as Kenya.»

Highlighting her dedication, she supports the idea that «all those who are affected by research or who can benefit from its outcomes, should have equal opportunities to contribute to it» (Loingnon, 2023) and «that researchers from LMICs should be encouraged to carry out research that will identify LMICs specific solutions.»

On challenges and opportunities

She identifies major obstacles such as inadequate funding, technological barriers, and the low acceptance rate of LMIC research in renowned journals. Nasra proposes:

«These challenges can be mitigated through advocacy for equitable access to research…including advocating for better open access models.»

Nasra is optimistic about future opportunities, including leveraging open access models and strengthening journals from LMICs. «In line with the committee’s overall goals, I foresee a number of opportunities that we can leverage on,» she asserts, highlighting the importance of collaboration and capacity building.

Introducing Matt Giampoala

Matt Giampoala is the Vice President for Publications at the American Geophysical Union, with a rich background in science, technology, and medicine (STM) publishing and open science. With a Ph.D. in Neuroscience and prior roles across the spectrum of STM publishing, Matt is a strong advocate for equity, inclusion, and mentorship in scholarly communications.

Matt Giampoala is one of the new co-chairs of the Research4life Equity Committee.

Matt Giampoala is drawn to the Equity Committee due to Research4Life expanding its activities towards equitable knowledge exchange. He emphasizes the importance of inclusive research, stating:

«Our world is facing many challenges that require both interdisciplinary approaches and participation across communities. Research that addresses societal challenges and that meets the needs of local and regional communities is more important now than ever. We won’t be successful without an equitable approach that allows for all voices to be heard.

On challenges and opportunities

Addressing equity, Matt Giampoala points out, «Increasing representation from countries participating in Research4Life as authors, reviewers, and editors for international publications is one challenge… We may also find ways to support and disseminate research shared in local and regional publications.» To combat financial barriers, he suggests, «As currency exchange rates are a constant challenge, we will likely consider a framework for regional pricing and fee waivers for author fees.»

For future initiatives, Matt sees opportunity in leveraging the Research4Life Country Connectors network:

«To create a database of researchers that would like to join as reviewers and editors for international journals.»

Looking ahead, equitable opportunities for all

«The appointments of Nasra and Matthew as co-chairs of the Equity Committee represent a pivotal moment in the Research4life journey towards breaking down barriers to knowledge access. We are thrilled about the possibilities ahead, as their leadership will ensure that we deliver services and solutions aimed at fostering equitable opportunities for all researchers, irrespective of their geographical location.» 

says Gracian Chimwaza, PhD., Chair, Research4Life Executive Council, Executive Director, ITOCA (Information Training & Outreach Centre for Africa)

Stay tuned for updates on our progress, initiatives, and the impactful stories that emerge as we work together to make research accessible and equitable for all.

Hinari