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Bridging the divide in energy policy research: Empirical evidence from global collaborative networks

Ali, Muez and Couto, Lilia Caiado and Unsworth, Samuel and Debnath, Ramit (2023) Bridging the divide in energy policy research: Empirical evidence from global collaborative networks. Energy Policy, 173 . Art. No. 113380. ISSN 0301-4215. doi:10.1016/j.enpol.2022.113380.

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Energy research seeking to influence policy in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) is often funded by – and conceptualised by authors in – institutions from higher income countries (HICs). Research agendas and policy recommendations determined in HICs potentially yield the most influence on policymaking in LMICs. This risks leaving a multidimensional gap in how LMICs frame, evidence and enact policies. This paper is the first to provide quantitative evidence to geographical imbalances in energy policy research, and to shed light into the fact that research proposing energy policy coupled with development objectives to LMICs is dominated by HICs researchers. We find that the latter not only publish more articles proposing energy policy to LMICs, but also are more cited when doing so. We reach these findings by analysing the spatial dynamics of energy research on LMICs through a multi-method approach using bibliometric, network science and regression-based techniques. We established a framework using a sample of 6,636 papers from the Web of Science database, journal impact data from Scimago Journal Ranking and country economic data from the World Bank. Results show the existence of a cycle of imbalances across research practices. Most scientific articles recommending energy policy for LMICs have a primary author based in a HIC, funded by a HIC institution. The number of citations articles receive increases with the GDP of the country of primary author. Funders support authors based in countries of the same income band or higher. We recommend revising research practices and funding policies to place local actors and knowledge at the heart of energy policy research, enabling high-impact policymaking in LMICs.

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Debnath, Ramit0000-0003-0727-5683
Additional Information:The authors are thankful to the Climate Compatible Growth programme. We thank Dr. Alexandre Szklo, Dr. Helene Ahlborg and Dr. Sofie Hellberg for reviewing the article and providing feedback. Muez Ali is thankful for the support of the UCL Overseas Research Scholarship. Lilia Caiado Couto is thankful to the Brazilian Federal Agency for Support and Evaluation of Graduate Education (CAPES) for the support through the PhD scholarship to Lilia Caiado C. B. Couto, Scholarship holder Programa de Doutorado Pleno no Exterior Processo no 88881.129207/2016–01. Sam Unsworth is thankful for the support of GENIE, the Chalmers Gender Initiative for Excellence. Ramit Debnath would like to thank the Bill & Melinda French Gates Foundation for supporting a part of this work through the Gates Cambridge Scholarship under the grant number OPP1144. We also thank two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
University College LondonUNSPECIFIED
Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES)88881.129207/2016–01
Chalmers UniversityUNSPECIFIED
Bill and Melinda Gates FoundationOPP1144
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20230118-531429800.1
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:118851
Deposited By: Research Services Depository
Deposited On:15 Feb 2023 01:13
Last Modified:15 Feb 2023 01:13

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