Community Information Devolution: A Step Forward Against Academic Extractivism
The academic world has, at times, been the subject of criticism due to its extractive behavior. Often, researchers arrive at communities, gather data, publish their findings, and never return to share those results with those who provided the information in the first place. However, the PREIT-tour research group is working to change this narrative.
In recent months, the PREIT-tour team carried out an exercise to return information to the communities that participated in the project "Fostering a platform for research-based education to support sustainable development through Tourism in the Cajas Massif Biosphere Area (CMBA)." This act is not only a testament to the team's commitment to the communities but also underscores the importance of acting with transparency and responsibility in research.
Why is this return of information important?
Returning information is not just an ethical matter; it's also a way to strengthen the relationship between researchers and communities, allowing mutual understanding and fostering a trusting environment. By sharing the results, communities can better understand the value and impact of their participation, and can directly benefit from the study's discoveries and conclusions.
Addressing Academic Extractivism
Academic extractivism is a problem that refers to the practice of collecting data from communities without giving anything in return. This dynamic is not only unfair, but it can also be detrimental to the communities, as they feel used and undervalued. By returning the information, the PREIT-tour group is showing a clear commitment against such practices and advocating for a more inclusive and collaborative research approach.
The Return in Practice
Communities in the Cajas Massif Biosphere Area had the opportunity to receive information through various activities organized by PREIT-tour. Meetings, workshops, and seminars were held, where community members could directly interact with the researchers, ask questions, share their opinions, and learn more about the project's results.
These activities not only served to share information but also strengthened the bond between the community and the research team, opening the door to future collaborations and joint projects.
PREIT-tour's initiative is a reminder that research should not be a one-way process. Communities that provide data and knowledge are essential parts of the process and deserve to be recognized and respected as such. By returning information and acting transparently, we can move towards a more ethical, responsible, and inclusive research approach.
Photo credits: PREIT-tour