The Global Impact Study of Public Access to Information & Communication Technologies was a five-year project (2007-2012) to generate evidence about the scale, character, and impacts of public access to information and communication technologies (ICTs). Looking at libraries, telecenters, and cybercafés, the study investigated impact in a number of areas, including communications & leisure, culture & language, education, employment & income, governance, and health.
Implemented by the University of Washington’s Technology & Social Change Group (TASCHA), the Global Impact Study was part of Investigating the Social & Economic Impact of Public Access to Information & Communication Technologies — a broader CAD$7.9 million research project supported by Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and a grant to IDRC from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Managed by IDRC, this project included the Global Impact Study of Public Access to Information & Communication Technologies (this project) and The Amy Mahan Research Fellowship Program, led by Universitat Pompeu Fabra, which aimed to deepen the capacity of emerging scholars with the goal of increasing the quality and quantity of research on public access to ICT produced in developing countries.
The Technology & Social Change Group (TASCHA) at the University of Washington Information School explores the design, use, and effects of information and communication technologies in communities facing social and economic challenges. With experience in 50 countries, TASCHA brings together a multidisciplinary network of social scientists, engineers, and development practitioners to conduct research, advance knowledge, create public resources, and improve policy and program design. Our purpose? To spark innovation and opportunities for those who need it most.
Technology & Social Change Group
University of Washington Information School
Seattle, WA 98195
Araba Sey is a Research Assistant Professor at the University of Washington Information School. Dr. Sey served as the Research Lead of the Global Impact Study.
Chris Coward is the Principal Scientist and Director of the Technology & Social Change Group. Mr. Coward served as the Principal Investigator of the Global Impact Study.
François Bar is an Associate Professor of Communication in the Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism at the University of Southern California. Dr. Bar served as the Chair of the Global Impact Study Research Working Group.
George Sciadas has been working on Information Society conceptual frameworks, measurements and analysis for many years at Statistics Canada, the OECD, the UNESCO Institute of Statistics, and IDRC. Dr. Sciadas was a member of the Global Impact Research Working Group and Chair of the Survey Working Group.
Chris Rothschild is a Research Analyst for the Technology & Social Change Group. Mr. Rothschild managed the survey and inventory activities for the Global Impact Study.
Lucas Koepke is a Data Analyst for the Technology & Social Change Group. Mr. Koepke conducted statistical analysis for the Global Impact Study.
Each of the in-depth study Principal Investigators contributed to this volume: Erwin Alampay, Michael Best, Tyler Blake Davis, Jonathan Donner, Andy Gordon, Beth Kolko, Balaji Parthasarathy, Ricardo Ramirez, and Marion Walton.
Copyright 2013, University of Washington. This content is distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike license. The views, opinions, and findings expressed by the authors of this document do not necessarily state or reflect those of TASCHA, the University of Washington, or the research sponsors.
This project would not have been possible without the generous financial support of the sponsors, the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Libraries, telecenters, and cybercafés play a critical role in extending the benefits of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to a diverse range of people worldwide. However, their ability to contribute to development agendas has come into question in recent times. The Global Impact Study was designed to address this debate by generating evidence about the scale, character, and impacts of public access ICTs in eight countries: Bangladesh, Botswana, Brazil, Chile, Ghana, Lithuania, the Philippines, and South Africa. This report summarizes the study’s key findings, situating public access in the context of national development, discussing some disputed issues, and providing recommendations for policymakers, public access practitioners and researchers. The results show that a central impact of public access is the promotion of digital inclusion through technology access, information access, and development of ICT skills. Both users and non-users report positive impacts in various social and economic areas of their lives.
Libraries, telecenters, & cybercafés play a critical role in extending the benefits of ICTs to a diverse range of people worldwide.
cybercafés, libraries, telecenters, ICTD, ICT4D, digital inclusion, e-Skills, public access, e-Inclusion, impact, open research, open data, information access, infomediaries, mobile phones, Bangladesh, Botswana, Brazil, Chile, Ghana, Lithuania, Philippines, South Africa
Sey, A., Coward, C., Bar, F., Sciadas, G., Rothschild, C., & Koepke, L. (2013). Connecting people for development: Why public access ICTs matter. Seattle: Technology & Social Change Group, University of Washington Information School.