Matthew L. Smith

Matthew L. Smith is Senior Program Specialist at the International Development Research Centre in Ottawa and coeditor of Open Development: Networked Innovations in International Development (MIT Press and IDRC).

  • Critical Perspectives on Open Development

    Critical Perspectives on Open Development

    Empirical Interrogation of Theory Construction

    Arul Chib, Caitlin M. Bentley, and Matthew L. Smith

    Cross-cutting theoretical frameworks and analyses examine how open innovations in international development can empower poor and marginalized populations.

    Over the last ten years, “open” innovations—the sharing of information and communications resources without access restrictions or cost—have emerged within international development. But do these innovations empower poor and marginalized populations? This book examines whether, for whom, and under what circumstances the free, networked, public sharing of information and communication resources contribute (or not) toward a process of positive social transformation. The contributors offer cross-cutting theoretical frameworks and empirical analyses that cover a broad range of applications, emphasizing the underlying aspects of open innovations that are shared across contexts and domains.

    The book first outlines theoretical frameworks that span knowledge stewardship, trust, situated learning, identity, participation, and power decentralization. It then investigates these frameworks across a range of institutional and country contexts, considering each in terms of the key emancipatory principles and structural impediments it seeks to address. Taken together, the chapters offer an empirically tested theoretical direction for the field.


    Juan Pablo Alperin, Caitlin M. Bentley, Bidisha Chaudhuri, Nandini Chami, Arul Chib, Purnabha Dasgupta, Andy Dearden, Melissa Densmore, Helani Galpaya, Piyumi Gamage, Anita Gurumurthy, Onkar Hoysala, Linus Kendall, Rich Ling, Goodiel Moshi, Chiranthi Rajapakse, Katherine Reilly, Paul Mungai, Priya Parekh, Chiranthi Rajapakse, Anuradha Rao, Katherine Reilly, David Sadoway, Deo Shao, Parminder Jeet Singh, Matthew L. Smith, Janaki Srinivasan, Bernd Carsten Stahl, Satyarupa Shekhar Swain, John Traxler, Jean-Paul Van Belle, Marion Walton, Yingqin Zheng

    • Paperback $55.00
  • Making Open Development Inclusive

    Making Open Development Inclusive

    Lessons from IDRC Research

    Matthew L. Smith and Ruhiya Kristine Seward

    Drawing on ten years of empirical work and research, analyses of how open development has played out in practice.

    A decade ago, a significant trend toward openness emerged in international development. “Open development” can describe initiatives as disparate as open government, open health data, open science, open education, and open innovation. The theory was that open systems related to data, science, and innovation would enable more inclusive processes of human development. This volume, drawing on ten years of empirical work and research, analyzes how open development has played out in practice

    Focusing on development practices in the Global South, the contributors explore the crucial questions of who is allowed to participate when an initiative is “open” and who benefits—or not—from them, finding that processes characterized as open can sometimes be exclusionary in their implementation. Examining a wide range of cases, they consider the governance of open development ecosystems and the implementation of a variety of applications, including open educational resources, collaborative science, and the uses of crowdsourcing.

    The open access edition of this book was made possible by generous funding from Knowledge Unlatched.


    Denisse Albornoz, Chris Armstrong, Savita Bailur, Roxana Barrantes, Carla Bonina, Michael Cañares, Leslie Chan, Laura Czerniewicz, Jeremy de Beer, Stefano De Sabbata, Shirin Elahi, Alison Gillwald, Mark Graham, Rebecca Hillyer, Cheryl Hodgkinson-Williams, Dick Kawooya, Erika Kramer-Mbula, Paulo Matos, Caroline Ncube, Chidi Oguamanam, Angela Okune, Alejandro Posada, Nagla Rizk, Isaac Rutenberg, Tobias Schonwetter, Fabrizio Scrollini, Ruhiya Kristine Seward, Raed Sharif, Matthew Smith, William Randall Spence, Henry Trotter, François van Schalkwyk, Sonal Zavaeri

    • Paperback $55.00
  • Open Development

    Open Development

    Networked Innovations in International Development

    Matthew L. Smith and Katherine M. A. Reilly

    Experts explore current theory and practice in the application of digitally enabled open networked social models to international development.

    The emergence of open networked models made possible by digital technology has the potential to transform international development. Open network structures allow people to come together to share information, organize, and collaborate. Open development harnesses this power, to create new organizational forms and improve people's lives; it is not only an agenda for research and practice but also a statement about how to approach international development. In this volume, experts explore a variety of applications of openness, addressing challenges as well as opportunities.

    Open development requires new theoretical tools that focus on real world problems, consider a variety of solutions, and recognize the complexity of local contexts. After exploring the new theoretical terrain, the book describes a range of cases in which open models address such specific development issues as biotechnology research, improving education, and access to scholarly publications. Contributors then examine tensions between open models and existing structures, including struggles over privacy, intellectual property, and implementation. Finally, contributors offer broader conceptual perspectives, considering processes of social construction, knowledge management, and the role of individual intent in the development and outcomes of social models.

    ContributorsCarla Bonina, Ineke Buskens, Leslie Chan, Abdallah Daar, Jeremy de Beer, Mark Graham, Eve Gray, Anita Gurumurthy, Havard Haarstad, Blane Harvey, Myra Khan, Melissa Loudon, Aaron K. Martin, Hassan Masum, Chidi Oguamanam, Katherine M. A. Reilly, Ulrike Rivett, Karl Schroeder, Parminder Jeet Singh, Matthew L. Smith, Marshall S. Smith

    Copublished with the International Development Research Centre of Canada (IDRC)

    • Paperback $25.00