, Volume 116, Issue 3, pp 2139–2153 | Cite as

Has the Global South become a playground for Western scholars in information and communication technologies for development? Evidence from a three-journal analysis

  • Yang BaiEmail author


This study analyzes the role of the Global South countries and the representation of scholars from the Global South in three top-level journals in the area of information and communication technology for development (ICT4D). All the peer-reviewed articles published from 2015 to 2017 in the journals were examined for (a) the country and regional affiliations of the authors, (b) the distribution of countries which were studied, (c) the role of Global South scholars played in the studies, and (d) the research methods adopted in the studies. Besides using the conventional bibliometric indicators, this study also explored several important but often-ignored dimensions such as a country-by-country quantification of the severity of underrepresentation of scholars from the Global South in the publications and the relationship between the role of the scholars from the Global South and the research methods used in the published studies. The analysis shows a complicated picture of the status of low- and middle-income countries and scholars from the Global South in the ICT4D scholarship. Although some indicators suggest that scholars from the Global South play an important role, in general, they are underrepresented.


ICT4D Global South Leading publications Bibliometrics Intellectual playground 


  1. Baffoe, M., Asimeng-Boahene, L., & Ogbuagu, B. C. (2014). Their way or no way: “Whiteness” as agent for marginalizing and silencing minority voices in academic research and publication. European Journal of Sustainable Development, 3(1), 13–32. Scholar
  2. Botes, L., & Rensburg, D. (2000). Community participation in development: Nine plagues and twelve commandments. Community Development Journal, 35(1), 41–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Confraria, H., & Godinho, M. (2015). The impact of African science: A bibliometric analysis. Scientometrics, 102(2), 1241–1268.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Dahdouh-Guebas, F., Ahimbisibwe, J., Van Moll, R., & Koedam, N. (2003). Neo-colonial science by the most industrialised upon the least developed countries in peer-reviewed publishing. Scientometrics, 56(3), 329–343.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Dearden, A. (2013). See no evil? Ethics in an interventionist ICTD. Information Technologies & International Development, 9(2), 1–9.MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Dearden, A., & Haider Rizvi, S. M. (2015). ICT4D and participatory design. In P. H. Ang & R. Mansell (Eds.), The international encyclopedia of digital communication and society. Accessed 28 Dec 2017.
  7. Demeter, M. (2018). Nobody notices it? Qualitative inequalities of leading publications in communication and media research. International Journal of Communication, 12(2008), 1001–1031.Google Scholar
  8. Diptee, A. (2015). The Global South as intellectual playground. Available at Accessed 10 Jan 2018.
  9. Dodson, L., Sterling, R. S., & Bennett, J. K. (2012). Considering failure: Eight years of ITID research. Information Technologies & International Development, 9(2), 19–34.Google Scholar
  10. European Commission. (2003). Third European report on science and technology indicators. In European Commission Directorate-General for Research. Retrieved from Accessed 5 Jan 2018. 
  11. Gitau, S., Plantinga, P., & Diga, K. (2010). ICTD research by Africans: Origins, interests, and impact. In Proceedings of the 4th international conference on information and communication technologies and development ICTD, London, UK.Google Scholar
  12. Gomez, R. (2013). The Changing field of ICTD: Growth and maturation of the field, 2000–2010. Electronic Journal on Information Systems in Developing Countries, 58(1), 1–21.MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Heek, R. (2010). ICT4D journal ranking table. Retrieved from Accessed 20 Dec 2017.
  14. Heeks, R. (2009). The ICT4D 2.0 manifesto: Where next for ICTs and international development? Development Informatics Group; Institute for Development Policy and Management. Retrieve from Accessed 5 Jan 2018.
  15. Hirschmann, A. (1964). The paternity of an index. American Economic Review, 54(5), 761.Google Scholar
  16. Inikori, J. E. (1996). Inequalities in the production of historical knowledge. Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, 16(1), 122–124.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. International Telecommunications Union. (2002). ICTs in support of human rights, democracy and good governance. Retrieved from Accessed 30 Dec 2017.
  18. King, D. (2004). The scientific impact of nations. Nature, 430(6997), 311–316.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Lam, C. (2014). Where did we come from and where are we going? Examining authorship characteristics in technical communication research. IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, 57(4), 266–285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Mama, A. (2007). Is it ethical to study Africa? Preliminary thoughts on scholarship and freedom. African Studies Review, 50(1), 1–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Meadows, A. J. (1980). Access to the results of scientific research: Developments in Victorian Britain. In A. J. Meadows (Ed.), Development of science publishing in Europe 1980. Amsterdam: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  22. Megnigbeto, E. (2013). International collaboration in scientific publishing: The case of West Africa (2001–2010). Scientometrics, 96(3), 761–783.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Schubert, T., & Sooryamoorthy, R. (2010). Can the centre–periphery model explain patterns of international scientific collaboration among threshold and industrialised countries? The case of South Africa and Germany. Scientometrics, 83(1), 181–203.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Thapa, D., & Sæbø, O. (2016). Participation in ICT development interventions: Who and how. Electronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing Countries, 75(3), 1–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. The United States Department of Justice. (2015). Herfindahl-Hirschman Index. Retrieved from Accessed 10 Jan 2018.
  26. Wallerstein, M. (2004). World-systems analysis: An introduction (pp. 23–24). Durham: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Walsham, G. (2017). ICT4D research: Reflections on history and future agenda. Information Technology for Development, 23(1), 18–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Walsham, G., & Sahay, S. (2006). Research on information systems in developing countries: Current landscape and future prospects. Information Technology for Development, 12(1), 7–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Williams, K., Lenstra, N., Ahmed, S., & Liu, Q. (2013). Research note: Measuring the globalization of knowledge: The case of community informatics. First Monday, 18(8), 1–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Zewge, A., & Dittrich, Y. (2017). Systematic mapping study of information technology for development in agriculture (The case of developing countries). Electronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing Countries, 82(2), 1–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications, Pennsylvania State UniversityState CollegeUSA

Personalised recommendations