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Journal collaboration opens international doors to students
Innovations in technology are changing lives around the globe. In Ecuador, Brazil and Peru, the establishment of informal "cyber cafes" are extending the reach of information and communication technologies to all ages and classes of people.
In Africa, farmers have a better chance of selling their produce for a profit by checking crop prices at a centrally located kiosk connected to the Internet.
In Pakistan, a street merchant with cell phone in hand can type text messages while hawking grilled kabobs to passing shoppers.
Many of these startling adaptations of technology are being made known to the world through the pages of the Journal of Information Technology for Development, a collaboration of the Commonwealth Secretariat, an International Development Funding Agency in the UK, the Peter Kiewit Institute and the College of Information Science & Technology (IS&T) at UNO.
Dr. Sajda Qureshi (pictured), associate professor at IS&T, serves as editor-in-chief for the quarterly journal. Begun 22 years ago by a professor at Oxford University in England, the journal is a forum for the research and application of Information Technology (IT) infrastructures in emerging economies and their relationships with the developed world. It is the first journal to explicitly address global information technology issues by publishing social and technical research on the subject.
Maintaining the journal's high standards is a group of associate editors that includes Dr. B.J. Reed, dean of the College of Public Affairs and Community Service at UNO; Dr. Peter Wolcott, associate professor at IS&T; and academic representatives from: Washington, D.C.; Boulder, Colo.; Cairo, Egypt; the United Kingdom; and, Norway.
They are supported by an editorial board that includes Drs. Lyn Holley of the Department of Gerontology at UNO and Gert-Jan de Vreede of IS&T, plus professors and administrators from the United States, China, Canada, Pakistan, England, Finland, India, Norway, Australia and South Africa.
Each issue of the journal is a collection of compelling articles that document IT developments throughout the world. One of the journal's goals, according to Qureshi, is providing a focal point for the generation and application of IT resources that will economically benefit regions around the world. By publishing papers that examine theory as well as practical methods, the journal can play a major role in the sharing of resources and knowledge that ultimately can improve commerce, communications and IT research throughout the world, she says.
"This journal has had a big impact over the last 20 years," she says.
That impact continued in November as a delegation from the journal and IT faculty from UNO attended the World Summit on the Information Society in Tunis. The UN General Assembly by resolution in 2001 endorsed holding the summit in two phases. During the first phase, a list of Millennium Development Goals called the Geneva Plan established the foundation for an equitable Information Society. The second phase, the meeting hosted by the Government of Tunisia, explored putting the plan into action.
"Attending the meeting in Tunis and representing the journal and UNO is really important for us," Qureshi says. "It is important for Nebraska, and it is important for the perception abroad about Americans."
To be published in the journal is not an easy task. Once submitted, papers are put through an exhaustive review process. Authors are provided detailed evaluations, and if their article is deemed to have promise, they can make revisions and resubmit.
"We will work with authors through as many rounds of revisions as necessary," Qureshi says. "I'm very proud of the associate editors, as they put considerable work into ensuring that papers meet the high standards of quality and relevance."
She knows how difficult the process can be. Editor-in-chief since 2003, Qureshi prior to her appointment had submitted her own work to the journal - and was honored to have it published.
The standards maintained by the journal, as well as the cutting-edge nature of the articles it publishes, have yielded respect not only for the publication and the authors, but also for UNO.
"The international recognition this journal receives opens up international opportunities for our students here," says Qureshi. "Sets of skills are different in Malaysia and Singapore than here in the U.S. Learning the effect of Information Science in those countries makes our students' skills more portable to the rest of the world."