Science, Finance and Innovation

GlobalDev turns five: what next?

3 min


Francesco Obino

Five years ago, we set out a great ambition:

We wanted to create a truly global platform for researchers based in low- and middle-income countries, particularly younger scholars and their colleagues in the Global North, to discuss evidence on development policy. Evidence coming from high-quality research, for sure, but research of all kinds.

We wanted to create an enabling editorial process that makes it possible (dare we say, comfortable or even desirable) for researchers to write about development policy as experts (as opposed to only writing research, as academics).

And we wanted to produce content that echoes across the globe, making our posts as visible and accessible as possible.

Arguably, the blog team (Catherine, Stephania, and Romesh) has plenty to be proud of: the number of authors on the blog who are based in the Global South reached 50% in 2023 and two-thirds of our readership is from low- and middle-income countries. The feedback from our authors on GlobalDev’s editorial process has been stellar. Ultimately, we have published over 200 blog posts on two dozen topics and in three languages, with an audience and quality partners that is quickly catching up with long established development blogs out there.

So far so good, but can we declare the mission accomplished? Far from it. To prove it, we are investing in the blog like never before.

For a blog that embraces the motto ‘research that matters, development that works’, it’s reassuring that we can count on half of our authors originating from the Global South. Yet, we must aim higher to have an impact on development debates, where those voices remain inexplicably underrepresented.

Development economics, as opposed to content about other disciplines, is also somewhat overrepresented on our pages. A new and more diverse Editorial Board will guide the choice of topics and contributors, as we keep up to speed with major development conferences and policy events globally.

We are designing ways to work directly with the next generation of development researchers from the Global South: through global training opportunities focusing on research communication, online and offline, starting at the next Global Development Conference. We want to graduate from being ‘just’ a platform to acting as a launching pad for young brilliant voices committed to illuminate development policy with research.

Our commitment to publishing all our content in English, French, and Spanish continues. But GlobalDev will also start to accept content in French and Spanish, in a further attempt to level the playing field and expand the diversity of the debates we catalyze.

Lowering entry barriers and increasing opportunities for Southern researchers to lead global and local development debates is the biggest legacy the blog draws from two decades of work of the Global Development Network, of which GlobalDev is (proudly) part of.

These new resolutions come with new energy and a new image. We just revamped GlobalDev’s visual identity, to be more in tune with our dynamic readership across the planet, and we’ll strive to use more infographics to make sure our content is not just rigorous but also visually engaging.

In sum, as GlobalDev turns five, we stick to our vision and our tagline, but with an even bigger ambition. And we count on you – as readers, as writers, and as ambassadors – to succeed with us.

Francesco Obino
Founding Editor, GlobalDev Blog