Where does the project "Guidelines" come from? The venture went on from 2003, in several steps.
The Royal Academy of Overseas Sciences of Belgium has been concerned for years with the quality and relevance of development research, and with the strengthening of research capacity in the South.
- In 2003, the Academy celebrated its 75th anniversary. A symposium was organised on the topic "New challenges for the Academies in a changing world". Among the keywords identified by the participants, there were: North-South partnership, institutional collaboration, inter-disciplinarity.
- In 2004 the Academy organised another international symposium devoted to "Research in applied nutrition in developing countries : challenges and expectations". Further landmarks were emphasized :
- researchers in the South are quite often isolated;
- research priorities for the South are identified by the North, and not by the South;
- there is an ethical obligation for any development research project involving local populations to include in their goals aid to these populations under study, and to address some of their basic needs;
- there is a need for tools for evaluating development research.
- Next to these two symposia, the Academy, with its three Classes, set up an interdisciplinary "Task Force" on evaluation of development research. Within the Task Force two groups were created: one - the "Guidelines"group - in charge of a comprehensive identification of the tools needed for the evaluation of development research, the other - the "Bibliometry" group - focusing on alternative bibliometric tools for evaluation of publications not mentioned in the Science Citation Index.
- The Task Force met regularly from 2006 onwards, and organized in 2009 an international meeting called “Evaluation of development research". Besides speakers from the Academy, there were guest speakers from the South (India, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Peru ) and from the Belgian interuniversity cooperation programmes (VLIR/UOS and CIUF/CUD ).
One of the outcomes of the meeting was to produce the present Guidelines, intended for the persons and groups having to carry out a specific evaluation related to development research.
In conclusion, it is the purpose of the Academy to make these Guidelines available to the largest relevant audience outside the Academy.
Afterwards, the Academy will evaluate the applicability, the effective use and the usefulness of the Guidelines, and decide about necessary amendments and additions.