A Refugee Research Network (RRN) Centre for Refugee Studies, York University, SSHRC Knowledge Cluster Report of Meeting of Co-applicants and Institutional Partners Nov 22 Nov 23 2008, 10:00am 4:00pm

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1

A Refugee Research Network (RRN)

Centre for Refugee Studies, York University, SSHRC Knowledge Cluster


Report

of Meeting of Co
-
applicants and Institutional Partners


Nov 22
nd



Nov 23
rd

2008, 10:00am


4:00pm



A meeting of the RRN co
-
applicants and insti
tutional partners was held
on November 22
ND



23
rd
,

2008 at
the
O
ntario
I
nstitute of
S
tudies in
E
ducation, Toronto.


Present
: Sharryn Aiken (Queen’s), Rudhramoorthy Cheran (Windsor), Michele Millard (CRS), Susan McGrath
(CRS), Nergis Canefe (CRS), Jennife
r Hyndman (Syracuse), Barry Halliday (Metropolis), Evan Leibovitch
(CRS), Gerald Kernerman (CRS), Wenona Giles (CRS), Jeff Crisp (UNHCR), James Milner (Carleton), Paul
Ryder (
RSC
, Oxford), Jean McDonald (CRS), Donald Galloway (Victoria), Jalal Abb
asi (Tehr
an), Loren
Landau (Witwatersrand
), Michael Barutciski (Glendon), Adeniyi Temowo (CRS), James Simeon (CRS),
Roberto Vidal (Javeriana), Negin Dahya (CRS), Don Dippo (CCR, CRS), Paula Popovici (CRS), Ranabir
Samaddar (Mahanirban), Howard Adelman (Griffiths),
Naila Sabra (WFP), Luay Basil (WFP), John Pilbeam
(FMO, RSC, Oxford


joined on day 2).


Summary of Key Issues


Goals and Conceptual Challenges


Goals of Workshop:


1.

To review and confirm the structure, governance, mission of the Network including the organ
izational
linkages and global on
-
line connections, the elements of an evaluation framework;

2.

To develop research agendas and strategies for the network, including related policy issues and
priorities.


Some
i
nitial questions and points raised by the group

for ongoing consideration
:

1.

What are the boundaries of refugee research? What is the notion of refugee research?

2.

What is the kind, focus and parameters of the research?

3.

How will the associations work together?

4.

The mission statement seems to exclude NGOs an
d policy makers

[see Appendix A for revised mission
statement]



what is the ultimate aim?
Is the network the end goal in itself?

What does this network
make possible that has not been possible before?

5.

It’s important to include participants/scholars from t
he
Global S
outh.

6.

How will the network link up graduate students to build capacity in various regions of the world?

7.

What is the role of New Scholars in the network?


The main goal of RRN is to create spaces where we can convene, share information with each
other and
disseminate information to each other and beyond.
T
he network should search for solutions to the plight of
refugees; it is a collaborative network;
and
includes academic and non
-
academic researchers and practitioners;
it
will support and host st
udents/exchanges.


While it had been agreed that the development of the New Scholars network would begin in year 2 or 3 of the
project, a

graduate student
representative
was nominated to sit on the Management Committee

on an interim
basis.


The network

is
predicated on the idea that
researchers

tend to work in silos and
, for various reasons, their

work
is not necessarily shared
with policy
-
makers
, practitioners

and other academics. Based on the
Social Science and
Humanities Research Council
(
SSHRC
)

grant, t
he RRN is expected to
disseminate, share network
information and facilitate the development of research projects
.
While there is a

need to work within

2

SSHRC requirements to some degree, the network can
still
be proactive around certain research agendas and

have more facilitative objectives.



If the scope includes looking at the other silos that need to be part of a solution, then we should be
refugee
-
centric (vs. refugee relevant). For example, when looking at
peace
, we also need to look at
development

and
f
ood security
.


Global South representation in the network is an issue. Refugee situations are not just protracted but structural


scholars in the area (e.g. Iran, Turkey, Iraq) are writing about this, but there are few opportunities for the
research to b
e disseminated to a broader audience.

The research should also account for civil society responses
and not just judicial responses. In Africa, research tends to be policy
-
focused driven by funders’ agendas, and
should be less so.


Since refugee movements a
re often ignited by conflicts and wars, there should be a means of connecting to the
causes. For example, governments are often only a small part of

the cause. The network should
aim to engage
with researchers not just through policy makers but also throug
h connections and causes. In many cases,
governments are focal points but are not familiar with the issues (they tend to connect with universities on a
need
-
to
-
know basis). In some cases, governments control what researchers say.
We should look at refugee
s in a
dynamic and contextual way (e.g.: Iraqi and Kurdish refugee populations have very different experiences) and it
is very important that independent
research be supported


Networks and Associations


RRN partners

provided updates on current status and

issues.


International Association for Studies in Forced Migration (IASFM)
-

Efforts are focused on organizing
research around working groups, but there’s a sense that it hasn’t been successful. There is a website which
needs some work. We hope to inclu
de this in our efforts. Support for IASFM is now largely managed by centres
around the world. Its conference is its principal dissemination tool, working globally to bring together
researchers and research centers.


Forced Migration Discussion List

FMO
, RS
C



Already has over 1,000 members.


Forced Migration Review (FMR), RSC

-

FMR is published in French, Arabic, Spanish and English and is
geared particularly to NGOs, policy makers and advocates (50,000 recipients).


Forced Migration Online (FMO), RSC
-

T
he FMO website has digital communication and an organizational
directory. They have funds to develop links between research and policy, including colloquia, networks and
mapping exercises, where it is
possible to

influence policy and funding

Information ne
tworks



how can we help represent views of policy makers and practitioners in order to bring
more attention to the issues facing refugees? It is not just about dissemination but also about research capacity,
training, funding, and concrete initiatives.


The network hosted at
Witwatersrand

hasn’t been able to achieve its networking goals thus far. The driving
force in the network is Wits; there was no incentive for other researchers and academics to proactively engage.
Research and centres for refugees an
d forced migrants in southern Africa are not engaging in academic research
or publishing, but mostly working as consultants.

The southern information networks are more focused on
dissemination than on generation; there is a need to develop research capacit
y and training.


IARLJ

has a membership of 400+ judges from around the world. They have four strong regional structures and
have working parties that promote the rule of law and a common understanding/ interpretation of the 1951
Convention. Their principa
l publication is their Conference proceedings. They have also developed a
multilingual database of jurisprudence from around the world and one of their main functions is to help train
other judges.



3

Canadian Association for Refugee and Forced Migration Stu
dies (CARFMS)



A new independent
association of Canadian scholars, also committed to interconnect with practitioners, policy makers and NGOs,
and see themselves as activists as well as academics.



Metropolis

has five research centres in Canada and holds
a national and international conference every year. It
is a partnership between policy makers, NGOs and academics

focusing on immigration and settlement issues
.
Their membership is mostly from North America and Europe. They have a large number of publicati
ons as well
as a national and an international website.


Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR)



is a

n
on
-
profit

umbrella organization with some 180 member
organizations across Canada.

Working

with the public, parliamentarians,

government agencies and the me
dia to
bring

forward refugee and immigrant issues
,

t
hey hold 2 national Consultations as well as 2

Working Group
meetings

each year to exchange information and take positions on a broad range of issues.
It was noted that
c
ommunity based organizations have
a skeptical approach towards working with academics

and capacity is an
issue in that m
ost NGOs are over
-
worked and under resourced.


UNHCR


There is a large body of UNHCR material
available
and they publish a working paper series called
New Issues in Refug
ee Studies Research

as a quick way of disseminating research (with minimum standards).



Maintains policy development network and people with interest in policy



Constantly keeps track of what research is being published



Can also be of value identifying poten
tial research topics



Receive a lot of unsolicited requests for research funding but the response is no


there is no pool of
funding; haven’t found a way to satisfy this need


W
orld
F
ood
P
rogram

-

30% of their work is on refugees and IDPs. Relationships an
d networks have been
fragmented. They have recently launched communications to universities (food security and nutrition) and
would like to
integrate

the RRN into their stream/system.

They are doing st
udies that require expertise and
assessment and they
ca
n support internships for graduate students


RRN Network Reports


RRN Policy Network


Its stated goal is to act as a bridge between research and policy. The nature of the
activities proposed at present focus on
Canadian refugee
policy (only as a starting
point). Some lessons learned
from
Canadian Federal government policy

can be replicated
provincially
across Canada and hopefully,
internationally.

o

Proactive
Role



1. Hold an annual round
table to bring together researchers and policy makers


2. Map out what we mean by the policy c
ommunity


government, NGOs, o
ther?


3. Engage strongly with the creation of
the

database of researchers

o

Facilitative
Role


1. Host a Roundtable:

o

Bring together the three inter
national research groups working on protracted refugee
situations in Ottawa on January 12
th
, 2008 prior to the interdepartmental working group
meeting on January 13
th
, 2008 and after the UNHCR Dialogue on PRS in early December.

o

Be aware of what’s happening

on policy agenda so researchers can engage

2. Have a bridge
-
head in Ottawa so that when people come through Ottawa, the policy network can
facilitate introduction and discussions

3. Develop

new

mechanisms for research findings

4. Have policy briefs, newsl
etters that may have relevance so that individuals can have access to
information


It is essential that the policy network does not remain focused on
Canadian refugee policy, but broaden to the
international level. There is a question of how to engage with

colleagues abroad
-

what resources can be
allocated to this policy network?



4

RRN Refugee Scholars Network


Could be called the “academic” research network to keep it as general
as
possible.

The general goal of this network is to strengthen research capacit
y

by
i.) online information; ii.) assisting with
the organization of events
. It is anticipated that res
earch priorities in the field will emerge naturally
.



Research requests (i.e. groups that want research in certain areas) could originate with government,

academics, communities, etc. (e.g. detention of asylum seekers)



There’s a need for research on specific problems.
The RRN

may want to formulate specific thematic
agendas and encourage active research in certain areas.


Logistics/Funding


Resources are av
ailable, but modest. Resources include money for transportation, staff support,
and release

time

for faculty, administrative assistance,
and transportation

to bring people together.

There is funding for Graduate
Assistants/Research Assistants on this proje
ct (Canadian students, but who could also provide support to
international partners).


The meeting participants expressed a need to see a clear transparent indication of the spaces and opportunities
that are available (as well as transparent application p
rocesses for funding)


particularly funding to support
free
-
standing workshops.

The

RRN can be used to leverage other projects

and mechanisms developed
for having
conversations around new issues


Communication


There is a p
hilosophical commitment to open
-
sou
rce software, and t
he d
igital divide issue
means that the RRN

website
will

be tested for access through mobile phones and on dial
-
up networks
.


The RRN website

will involve

information, communication,
a
database
: i
t will be a source of information, a
search engine, a place for
communicating news
, research, events,
links to other
websites, education and training,
a library, and more
.


While there has

to be a Canadian component for the funder, it must be noted that the international network is
designed t
o develop parallel to the Canadian network. Much, if not all, the structures developed at the national
level
can

be duplicated at the international level; e.g. the researcher profile database will initially have a strong
Can
adian presence because this is
where we the first mapping exercise

was done
, however, the international
refugee research community will subsequently be mapped as well; the resource database and other content will
be global in scope
.


RRN Organization Diagram

(Appendix A)

note:

the
diag
ram was created for the grant application and
will require

ongoing revision


The participants r
eview
ed

the
current iteration of the overall network structure: five areas of research, networks
and

associations, global online connections and communications
.
It was noted that m
any members are already
engaged in research that is not listed within the framework of the organization diagram

and a lively discussion
ensued about
thematic
categorization where
the challenge of
unpack
ing

categories to create a more fun
ctional
and fluid framework

was acknowledged.


General
g
uiding
p
rinciples

were agreed upon whereby research should be 1. r
efugee

centric
, 2. r
efugee

relevant

and 3.
refugee contextual
.


Global On
-
line Connections and Communications Processes

(Appendix B)

I
n the d
iscussion of
the
draft paper
, certain questions were raised:



What is publicly available and what is limited to researchers?

Certain things should be easier to get up
and running quickly, while others will require more technical input with regard to
frameworks, privacy,
security, and issues around the virtual library


5



Consider a draft “voices” section


we are committed to having spaces for refugees e.g. first person
narratives to be integrated into the site



How will the research community respond to r
equests

from

refugees who ask for research in specific
areas
?



How will the RRN resolve the d
igital divide issues
?

What’s missing is an inventory of the technology
that is being used by our RRN partners in the south as well as in refugee camps and beyond.



How do we overcome barriers of language and capacity for uptake?



The cost of translation can be very high; this may be a resource challenge that falls outside SSHRC
funding. Notwithstanding new technology (mobile phones)
-

is this not an area where RRN ca
n leverage
support from CIDA and other agencies?



We need to put together a funding proposal to meet the technological needs of the global south



Under the development of the virtual network and under training/education, we should include a section
for sylla
bi of courses on refugee issues and forced migration so that people have examples to turn to

(
consider the MIT
Open Courseware
project
-

http://ocw.mit.edu/OcwWeb/web/home/home/index.htm


online you can have access to the complete syllabus of a course and

the professors’ study notes
)


In the
Global S
outh access to research, reports, and publications is much narrower
than in the Global North.



Authors will be encouraged to self
-
archive articles to make them open access


Another very important issue is that o
f working with each other without face
-
face contact

because of logistic
and financial difficulties. The RRN can
create a space where people can explore different ways of working
together
.


A participant noted that t
he Global On
-
line Connections and Communi
cations paper speaks about the inequality
between the north and south, but the way it positions itself is problematic: north as the research world and south
as the researched world. The divide involves other components that interact with each other


the k
ind of
material that we produce and the innumerable ways they are abused and not given credit. Until and unless
research is seen from “below” it is difficult to consider how to do something in a new way.


What would be useful for me as a researcher?

It’s n
ot access to research that is a big problem, but it is the
ability to communicate with researchers that is difficult. Authors often don’t respond to emails. In many cases
people have research questions but not documentation. It’s useful to be able to ask t
hese questions since one of
our objectives is to make resources available. What about people working in the field and in communities who
have legal questions, etc?
For example, t
he Michigan
-
Melbourne

Case
l
aw site
(
www.refugeecaselaw.org/
)
enables a resour
ce person to ask any
legal
question and find researchers who can assist.


Evaluation Framework

(Appendix C)


It is important that the project develops a strong evaluation framework, not only for the funder, but also to
ensure ongoing feedback and critiqu
es to continually improve the functioning of the network.
How do we
measure success? What key indicators can we identify for ourselves over the 7 years? What cannot be identified
or measured that remains essential to the success of the network?



Evaluation
s can come in the form of s
urveys, feedback forms, photographs

and other methods



Ongoing assessment is essential to successful documentation and ongoing improvement



Evaluation should
have
clearly stated objectives
and

indicators
but also
be very fluid and
qualitative
with some emphasis on success you can’t actually “measure”




6

Next Steps:


The next meeting of this group
will be
on June 27
th
, 2009, in Cyprus, just prior to the start of the
IASFM
conference
there from
June

28


July 2, 2009 (www.iasfmconfere
nce.org)
. We will need to take some time to
look at the development of the network, in particular at supporting regional development.



We will try to meet every year
:
on IASFM years we will meet at
the
IASFM
conference,
otherwise we
will meet in Toronto



F
u
nding from
the SSHRC grant will be allocated to enable
people in the south

as well as some students
to attend


Build on
the
Protracted Refugee Situations discussion
-

use this as a research theme to engage different people


T
hink about creative ways to eli
cit input from people who cannot be at the table
-

we have an impressive list of
collaborators who are not present



What kind of online (or other) tools can we develop to draw on their expertise?



Are there simpler ways to contribute?

o

Long surveys can be ove
rwhelming, but if we have a couple of key objectives to be achieved in
terms of input we can distill it and solicit input in advance


Working Groups


There was agreement

by the meeting participants
to form working groups to address the issues raised in the

discussion and to move forward with the implementation of the network. The management committee is
proposing three working groups with the following members. The identified chairs will contact the members for
follow up. If there is a group that you wan
t to participate in but are not listed, please contact Michele.


Broad based participation from regions and sectors is expected for all 3 working groups.


Evaluation Working Group

Wenona Giles
, Howard Adelman, Gerald Kernerman, Luay Basil, Paul Ryder, Lore
n Landau




Develop an evaluation framework for monitoring and assessing the success of the RRN.



One of the first tasks for the evaluation sub
-
committee is to figure out how people can put forward
questions, appreciation, comments, to enable interaction wit
h

the

network


Global Communications

Working Group

Evan Leibovitch, Michele Millard
,
Paula Popovici,
Omar Mohammed, Obadiah George, John Pilbeam, Sean
Loughna, Gerald Kernerman, Donald Galloway, Mohammad Jalal Abbasi, Rudhramoorthy Cheran, Barry
Halliday
,

Loren Landau




will focus on the website development (see
RRN Website Workplan
for proposed timelines)

o

Information
Management: researcher profiles, event calendar,
technical support for the
online
resource library, translation, interactivity (blogs, discu
ssion groups), meeting places


Knowledge Mobilization Working Group

Susan McGrath
, Ranabir Samaddar, Roberto Vidal, Howard Adelman, Jennifer Hyndman, Jeff Crisp, Naila
Sabra, Luay Basil, Don Dippo, Marcella Duran, Andrea Kosavic, Adam Taves,
François

Crepe
au, Paul Ryder,
John Pilbeam
, Sharryn Aiken




work on the online resource library database(s)



address the conceptualization and categorization of refugee research



address the barriers to knowledge transfer: language, technical



facilitate the engagement of p
artners to submit research materials including field reports to the library



7






Appendix A:

A Refugee Research Network (RRN): Globalizing Knowledge

A SSHRC Strategic Knowledge Cluster
Program: 2008
-

2015

Global Online
Connections and
Communications

Processes (How)

Networks and Associations
(Who)

Dynamic, Self
-
Di
recting Research Knowledge Clusters (What)

Refugee Scholars Research Network



Refugee protection initiatives



Research Centres, RSC, ISI
M,
LSES, HRC, AUC, Mahanirban,
Wits, Griffith, Tehran, etc.




Other working groups



Academic journals in the field

New Scholars

Network



CRS Student caucus,
new
PhDs in
the field, students

at other centres
and refugee studies programs



Website:
www.refugeeresearch.net



Workshops, meetings



Online collaborat
ion/work
spaces (wikis, blogs,
e
-
conferencing, for
a
, list
serves, etc.)



Online communication with
Refugees in Camps and in
Di
aspora (includes
educat
ion)



Resources, others…

RRN Website resources
(databases)



FMO



CRS



IRB



UNHCR



Researcher profiles



University of Michigan
refugee law database



Others




Refugee Law Database



Others…


Refugee Policy Network



Govts, WFP, UNHCR, UNICEF,
ICRC, IGC, IOM, UNHCHR,
o
thers…


NGO/Grassroots Refugee Networks



CCR, CCVT, Refugee
Associations, CBA


Immigration
section,



Other national/international
networks

RRN (
Facilitation and
Coordination)

Management
Comm
itt
ee

Executive
Committee

International Associations



IASFM, IARLJ, others…

National/Regional Associations



CARFMS, Metropolis, CERIS,
Others…

Mandate

To
develop,
mobilize and sustain a national and
international network of academic and community based
researchers and research centres
, non
-
governmental
organizations and policy

makers
committed to the study of
refugee and for
ced migration issues and to finding
solutions to the plight of refugees.

Potential Research Topics may include but are not limited to:

In/security and refugee protection

Refugee resettlement

Settlement and Integration

Protracted refugee situations, intern
ally displaced populations

Extraterritorial refugee status determination procedures and the externalization of asylum

Environmental and development induced displacement

Critical issues in international refugee law

New and emerging issues


8

Appendix B

Refugee Research Network

Virtual Network Building Strategies


by Paula Popovici and Michele Millard


This is a study on virtual netwo
rk (VN) building strategies for a global research network on forced migration. In
particular, we are looking at strategies for building the Canadian Refugee Research Network (RRN), a network
of networks. RRN is a virtual research community that aims to in
clude global online
connections

and
communications

and
a virtual library

with materials from South and North and to be fully accessible to the
South and North. RRN’s main task is to build avenues for virtually communicating within and among groups of
rese
archers, research centres, students, practitioners, policy makers and refugees world
-
wide.


The network is structured around the following Organizational Structures (Who), Global Online Connection and
Communication Processes (How), and Research Knowledge C
lusters (What):


Networks and Associations:



International, National and Regional Associations



Refugee Policy Network



NGO/Grassroots Refugee Networks on Refugee Rights



New Scholars
Network



Refugee Scholars Research Network


Global Online Connection and Com
munication Processes:



Workshops, meetings



Online collaboration/work spaces



Online communication with Refugees in Camps and in Diaspora



RRN Website resources (databases)


Research Knowledge Clusters: (currently identified)



In/security and refugee protecti
on



Refugee resettlement



Protracted refugee situations, internally displaced populations and human rights



Extraterritorial refugee status determination procedures and the externalization of asylum



Environmental and development induced displacement



Other ne
w and emerging issues such as critical issues in international refugee law



The connection between the Networks and Associations, Global Online Connection and Communication
Processes, and the Research Knowledge Clusters will be facilitated by a VN communi
ty. The goal of the VN is
to be both a source of information and an outlet for communication. The structure of the VN will be parallel to
the structure of RRN.

In what follows we will,
firstly
, look at social and cultural factors involved in the developm
ent of a VN;
secondly
, propose ways of developing the VN by looking at means for providing information, avenues for
communication, and database development;
lastly
, propose strategies for initial and ongoing evaluation of the
VN.


1. Social and cultural fa
ctors involved in the development of virtual network building strategies




Different access to information


the knowledge gap and the global digital divide



Some statistical data



Specific problems and possible solutions



9

The knowledge gap refers both to a d
isparity in access to information and tools by the poor and to the gap in
accessing, recognizing, and promoting the creativity of the developing world
1
. The
knowledge
-
gap hypothesis
theory

suggests that each new medium increases the gap between the inform
ation rich and information poor,
because of differences in access to the medium, and control over its use, among other factors. It was first
proposed by Phillip J. Tichenor and his colleagues.


The concept of a digital divide is linked to this hypothesis,

although its development was independent. As the
infusion of mass media information into a social system increases, segments of the population with higher
socioeconomic status tend to acquire this information at a faster rate than the lower status segmen
ts, so that the
gap in knowledge between these segments tends to increase rather than decrease
2
.


The
global digital divide

is a term used to describe “great disparities in opportunity to access the
Internet

and the
information and educational/business opportunities tied to this access … between developed and
developing

countries”
3
. Unlike the tradit
ional notion of the "digital divide" between social classes, the "global digital
divide" is essentially a geographical division.


According to a World Bank report
4
, the global digital divide is “narrowing”, yet there are other less optimistic
accounts of t
he situation
5
.


Here are some statistical data from 2006 (United Nation


Global Development Goals Indicators) and 2008,
respectively (Internet World Stats) mapping the distribution of computers worldwide
6

and the Internet
penetration rate by geographic re
gions
7
.




1

http://a2k3.org/2008/09/closing
-
the
-
knowledge
-
gap/

2

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knowledge_gap_hypothesis

3

Lu, Ming
-
te (2001). Digital divide in developing countries. Journal of Global Information Technology Management (4:3),
pp. 1
-
4

4

http://news.
bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/4296919.stm

5

http://ucatlas.ucsc.edu/communication/digitaldivide.php

6

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_digital_divide

7

http://www.nationmaster.com/cat/imm
-
immigration


10




There are specific problems related to the access to information for a VN, among which:


11


Technological issues:



Costs related to technology: Internet access, updated software, bandwidth, computers, educated users;



Differences in technologies:
online/ offline access, fast/ slow access, regular access/ accidental access,
updated software and hardware/ old software and hardware.


Cultural issues:



Language barrier



Familiarity with ways of presenting the information which are engrained in a culture
but maybe not in
others


devising ways of communication which are inclusive but will also reflect these differences
without
uniformizing

them.







2. Developing a Virtual Network

The VN for RRN will take the form of a website which will provide an outl
et for organizational structures,
global online connection and communication processes, and research knowledge clusters. Moreover, the VN
will facilitate the communication inter
-

and intra
-

associations, processes and clusters. Along the modules of the
w
ebsite dedicated to these, the VN will be a source of information, will provide space for communication, and
will develop a search engine built on a comprehensive database.


2.1. The VN is going to be a powerful source of information for everything related

to refugees and forced
migration in Canada and worldwide. Here it is a non
-
exhaustive list of data provided by the VN:

a.

News
: newsletters, moderated and free postings, links to news agencies, newspapers, and other sources on
the Internet, announcements:



Co
llecting news from other online sources about new developments in refugee research and other
refugee and forced migration issues (RSS feeds from UNHCR, IOM, media sources, etc.)



RRN News



New publication announcements



New research funding opportunities

b.

Peop
le
: job postings, resumes, personal stories

c.

Research topics
: a list of research interests organized by country/ area and also along the key research and
policy issues

d.

Education/Training
: a catalogue of all refugee studies programs in the world, list traini
ng events (People
can upload their own content, but must be approved before going live.)

e.

Websites
: collection of links for NGOs, institutions, research centres, academic settings, portals

f.

Moderated Library
: articles, books, audio, video, etc.

g.

Events:
Calen
dar of events, announcements, conferences (including e
-
conferences), workshops, symposia,
dialogues, discussions, colloquia, meetings. (People can upload their own content, but must be approved
before going live.)


2.2. The VN will provide powerful tools f
or communication. Each association will devise means of
communication specific to themselves, and they will be incorporated into their specific module. In addition to
each module, and along the lines described at point 2.1., the VN will provide other mean
s of communication:

a.

Workspace
: space dedicated to developing research projects, research dissemination, conferences and
workshops

b.

Workspace as a Private Space



Member login (open membership)



Collaborative mechanisms such as Wikis, blogs, Adobe Connect, othe
r collaborative open source
software that individuals can use in secure environments to develop projects, policy papers, white
papers, briefs, etc.


12



People could get involved in groups/initiatives by invitation only, invited by project initiator, or through

an open call that can also appear in the public portion of the site



General information about the development of initiatives can be posted in the Research News section



A learning corner would be included, with clear instructions/manuals on how to use the
technology

c.

Communication



Blogs, Network Listserv, YouTube, Facebook, links to other blogs and listservs, fora



People can add to these links, but submissions should be approved for relevance



A rating system could be put in place so the community can identif
y which are the best and most
relevant sites



Could have a “Voices” section where personal stories are told

d.

User feedback
: provide a space for users’ feedback on the organization of the website or other
administrative issues.


2.3. VN will host and also hel
p build different databases, will connect external and internal databases, and will
provide a powerful search engine based on these databases.


a.

People
: name, contact info (email, web address), affiliation, research interest, area of work, geographic
regio
n, etc.

Membership: There would be two kinds of membership


one that is open to anyone interested in joining the
network, and a second one exclusively for researchers:



Open membership
: Drupal has a membership function that people can register and provide
some basic
contact information and profile information. Vetting would not be necessary, and once registered, the
member could choose to get on the RRN listserv, RSS feed and other communication tools.



Moderated membership
: Online database of researcher pro
files


searchable, links to personal websites,
links to publications listed in RefWorks database (DSpace), links to CVs; can be searched by various
search terms, but also include the terms of the organizational structures (New Scholars Network,
Refugee Sc
holars Research Network, Associations, Policy Network, NGO Network, etc.)

Notes

1.

Researchers can create and update their own profiles, but must be approved before being
uploaded to website

2.

Criteria for inclusion to be determined, moderator in place for appr
ovals (could be a grad
student)

3.

Initial project to map scholars doing refugee and forced migration research (internet and
university searches) and invite them to place their profiles in the database

4.

Provide assistance to researchers in initially getting t
heir profile online to make sure that the
profiles are created in a consistent way, subsequent updates can be done by the individuals
themselves (resources required: if broken down by region or continent, 1
-
2 students/region)

5.

Ensure that researchers have t
heir publications listed in RefWorks (can be taken from their
CVs)

6.

Resource issues: requires staff to do the approvals for new members as well as to coordinate
annual updates of profiles

7.

Benefits to front end involvement with individuals: develop and maint
ain relationships and trust
by proactively searching out researchers, inviting them to participate in the network, providing
friendly front
-
end assistance, and maintaining regular contact with the individual


start with the
human touch, then let the conne
ctions grow organically. RRN works sort of like the host at a
party


he or she makes sure that people are connected and engaged.

b.

Institutions and organizations
: name, contact info, short description, link to their website, etc.



online database of refugee/
forced migration NGOs, INGOs, research centres, academic programs in
refugee and forced migration studies; can be searched by various search terms, but also include the
terms of the organizational structures (Associations, Policy Network, NGO Network)



Orga
nizations can create and update their own profiles, but must be approved before being uploaded to
website



Criteria for inclusion to be determined, moderator in place for approvals



Initial project to map institutions and organizations doing refugee and forc
ed migration research and
invite them to place their profiles in the database


13

Notes

1.

Connect to mapping exercises that have already taken place (e.g. Oxford), request that the
regional hubs of the network take the lead in mapping their areas

2.

Provide assist
ance to organizations in initially getting their profile online to make sure that the
profiles are created in a consistent way, subsequent updates can be done by the individual
organizations themselves or through a coordinated network activity

3.

Ensure that

organizations and institutions have their publications listed in RefWorks

4.

Resource issues: requires staff to do the approvals for new members as well as to coordinate
annual updates of profiles/research publications

c.

Publications and resources
: books, mag
azines, articles, authors, etc.



Search feature with an interface that can connect to various online databases (e.g. Oxford, UNHCR,
IRB, etc.); if permissions are needed, see if the Network can get backend access to other databases so
the interface can wor
k



Canada: RefWorks database with a comprehensive database of research publications by Canadian
scholars (includes online abstract), institutions, research producing NGOs and INGOs linked to DSpace
for the actual online content, also links to outside conten
t sources

1.

DSpace database: institutional repository where online articles, publications, multi
-
media
content can be stored

2.

Can be used for Canadian research and other organizations; can include their research in the
database as well if they don’t have thei
r own online databases



Publications


links to relevant online journals (citations also in RefWorks along with links)



Grey literature



Research reports



Manuals



Community
-
based research

d.
Research
:



Catalogue of all major research projects and studies (ong
oing)


link research projects to published
outputs in the databases

o

Can be uploaded by individuals, but must be approved

o

there will be an area where people can post research questions and requests for
information/contacts



Document development of RRN’s kno
wledge clusters


what issues have been identified, the leads,
current developments, new and emerging issues



Open calls (people looking to work with other people, organizations looking to connect with researchers
over particular issues, CFPs)



Research fund
ing: develop list/links of funders who fund refugee and forced migration research

e.

Locations
: continent/country/ region/ camp/ city/ town

f.

Ethnic groups

g.

List of links to Google maps



offers a visual perspective to different sorts of distribution, for exampl
e:
number of refugees, number of researchers, number of NGOs, etc., by geographic region.


Connecting databases


the principal reason for connecting the databases internally and externally is that it will
offer a more efficient access to information. Yet,

such a process of connecting them entails a willingness from
databases’s owners to allow the connection and sophisticated software. The RRN is committed to Open Source
software.


3. Initial and ongoing evaluation of the VN

VN assessment

a.

evaluate the devel
opment of a database that is in plain format, easily edited by researchers,
acceptable to researchers; develop a way to measure the success of the database management

b.

describe and evaluate the accessibility of research products in the digital library

c.

deve
lop a way to track network “activity” to demonstrate the expansion of the network

d.

evaluate website




14

Appendix C:

Measuring Success: Discussion Questions for Nov 22
-
24 Meeting

By Jean McDonald



1. Goals of the Refugee Research Network


A central goal of t
he project is to mobilize knowledge in the areas of refugee and forced migration studies.


a. How can we measure the success of knowledge mobilization
-

from the perspective of
academics, policy makers, and practitioners?

b. What are the indicators of suc
cess?

c. What kinds of “measures” should be used? How do we track them?

d. What are the timelines?

e. How should we demonstrate our ability to mobilize knowledge in developing term reviews
for SSHRC?



2.

Evaluating Research Clusters


The nature of ou
r approach in developing the RRN demands an ongoing, participatory and flexible
review process. We would like to incorporate evaluative mechanisms as we build and shape our
research network. An integral part of this ongoing evaluative process is member
-
dri
ven participation in
thinking about what we conceive success to be and the ways in which our success as a research cluster
can be measured. If we want to take a rhizomatic approach
8

that will ultimately produce a cluster of self
-
sustaining, autonomous yet
connected knowledge clusters, we need to confront the question of how to
evaluate the complexities that may elude qualitative and quantitative processes of measurement


specifically in a rhizomatic as opposed to a more hierarchical model. An answer to thi
s question could
be a reflexive and self
-
evaluating element (or measure/s) within our evaluation process.


Evaluation Indicators



(types of measures and the object of measurement/ evaluation need to be
determined for all of these)


i. Participants and Go
vernance

a.

Should participants play a role in evaluating their contributions towards realizing the
goals of the RRN?

b.

Is our governance structure appropriate to fulfilling our objectives?


ii. Quality of Relationships and Communication

a.

How can we measure the

quality of relationships developed and the forms of
communication generated through our virtual networks?



The Evaluation of the RRN should include “tracking mechanisms” which can be
used to evaluate:


iii. The impact of the Database on

a.

Building research c
ollaborations

b.

Developing innovative research

c.

Fostering the development of new scholars





iv. Interactive mechanisms

a.

Meetings

b.

Online forums




8

In their book
A Thousand Plateaus

(1987), Deleuze and G
uattari develop the metaphor of the rhizome as a horizontal
system that is non
-
hierarchical and non
-
linear in growth and development. There is connection but without a centralized
hub. This means that while one area may be stunted, cut off or destroyed, th
e rest of the plant system will continue to
regenerate in new ways and in new directions.


15

c.

Online surveys

d.

Other virtual networking strategies

e.

Quality of communication

f.

Impact of policy and practices affect
ing refugees and forced migrants


v.

The activities of the various nodes of the cluster
, for example the

a.

Associations (some established, some under construction)

b.

Research and Policy issues

c.

Databases and Digital Libraries

d.

Virtual Networks

e.

Structures of Governa
nce