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Bias, and African Research

Researchers in Africa tell NPR's Goats and Soda blog that when Western researchers hear about their work, they are surprised it's of high quality.

NPR notes that there's little data on whether a bias against African research exists, but at least one study indicates that US-based healthcare professionals and researchers tend to associate wealthy countries with better research and poorer ones with not as good research. It adds, though, that the study asked about poor countries, which extend outside Africa, and that not all African countries are poor.

NPR also says part of the issue could be volume of research, as there are fewer researchers working in Africa than in other parts of the world.

Larisa Bowen-Dodoo, the founder of the site Levers in Heels, which advocates for African women in science and technology, tells NPR that it's also due how Africa is viewed. "I believe this stems from unconscious perceptions and bias against research from our parts of the world, probably as a result of how some Western media portray us: deprived, underdeveloped, and incapable," she says at NPR. "Underdeveloped compared to other continents? Maybe. But definitely not incapable."