VoxDev turns 1! Note from the Editor-in-Chief


Published 25.06.18

A note from Tavneet Suri, our Editor-in-Chief, on our one-year anniversary.

Happy First Birthday VoxDev!! 

I cannot believe it has been a year since we launched VoxDev! I have to admit that we (Robin, Chang, Chris, Nidhi and I) have all been having such a total blast creating and building VoxDev over the last year, it has not felt at all like work. 

We have had an outpouring of support from all our amazing contributors (especially our Founding Contributors) and our readers. Some of my favorite VoxDev moments have been the constant excitement, encouragement and feedback from our readers, the conspiracy theory that I had been cloned in a secret lab at MIT (yes, you should be petrified) and my Managing Editor being told she has a jealousy-inducing job!   

Jokes aside, our aim when we built VoxDev was to create a platform that can bridge the gap between research and practice, a platform that can bring rigorous academic research to the potential consumers of this research in a format that allows them to use it, a platform that can empower decision makers across the developing world. 

Over this year, we have covered a wide range of policy issues that affect developing economies, including the effects of globalisation, the role of technology and the digital economy, financial inclusion, education, health, agriculture, firms, urbanisation, political economy and management practices. We have also highlighted researchers using new data sources (such as satellite images) to better understand these issues. We have reached over 110,000 users, with 300,000 page views from across 187 countries, and 30% of our viewership is from developing countries. John Van Reenen’s article on Management and the Wealth of Nations has been viewed over 20,000 times alone! We have an active social media presence – in fact, the only reason I joined Twitter was VoxDev (not sure if that counts as a positive externality from VoxDev…). It’s been quite a year!   

I grew up reading Douglas Adams’ Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy series (yes, it was available even in Nairobi). As we celebrate VoxDev being around for a year, let me reach back out to Douglas Adams for inspiration. My vision for VoxDev when we launched was for it to be “The Guide” for international development, in Adams’ words, “compiled by researchers roaming round the galaxy, beaming their copy in, which was then instantly available to anybody to read”. We have had a fantastic start on this path to creating The Guide but we have plenty more to do. To again quote Adams, “The more people who use the Guide, the more useful it will become, and the more useful it becomes, the more people will use it. A long way down the road we see...”. One day, I hope the Editor at VoxDev will finish that sentence with “a world with leaders equipped with the evidence they need to make better decisions”.  

In that vein, for our one-year anniversary, we tried something new and (hopefully) cool. We asked a number of very different development policy makers and stakeholders to do some short audio interviews to tell us how they use evidence in their organisations. As you can see, we are releasing a number of these in one day and over the next week will keep adding to the list. You will get to hear from folks at the Department for International Development in the UK, the Asian Development Bank, USAID, the UN, the Gates Foundation, the CDC in the UK, the World Bank and the World Food Program. Please tell us what you think of these!

Over the next year, we are hoping to do a lot more at VoxDev, lots more articles, videos and audio interviews, but also to add a few new features to VoxDev. Stay tuned! If you have ideas, please send them my way [email protected].      

Before I sign off, some thank yous are in order. A shout out to our totally awesome Editorial Board (Robin Burgess, Chang Tai Hsieh and Chris Woodruff) and our stellar Managing Editor, Nidhi Parekh. Most importantly, we couldn’t have come this far without our contributors and readers, but also the mentorship of VoxEU, CEPR, IGC and PEDL. A heartfelt thank you to you all.