How I wrote about the right to education in the global South. Tools

One month ago I completed writing the dissertation. All august was very demanding at the same time important period of my life. From the 6th of August until the 9th of September I spent in reading, noting, writing (around 19 000+ structured words), proofreading. I learned to think.

One more time about the topic

Its title sounds a bit long - “Challenges and Possible Solutions in Access to Educational Resources in a Selection of Countries in the Global South: Human Rights Approach”.

In other words, on the one hand,  it is about barriers of the copyright to full realisation of the right to education. And, on the other hand, the text reveals approaches existing in legal and organisational spheres for overcoming the copyright hurdles.

For example, copyright increases transaction and pure cost of content. It concerns textbooks or course packs price as well as price of the effort to obtain the copyrighted knowledge for non-commerce educational purposes.

Another example is about legal impediments such a three-step test, a compulsory and blanket licence, fair use/dealing practices and the like. Theoretically, they are called to solve (or at least mitigate) a lot of issues, but in practice it is logical traps for non-affluent countries which do not have an army of sophisticated lawyers as the UK or the US.

The second and third parts of my work is about bottom-up solutions and international human right law respectivelly. The latter is about the opportunity to shape legal regime based on human rights and primary status of the right to education over the economic right to make money.

Honestly, my thoughts went far from the topic and i feel that I need go further in the intellectual findings.

Why GitHub?

In a previous post, I counted tools which I was going to use in the preparation the dissertation. These are Zotero, Trello and Google Documents.

The first one was used very actively in the "noting" stage, especially in classification and organisation many sources, links and notes. Sometimes I keep the source inside Zotero cloud (mostly PDFs), sometimes there were just links (news and Covenants). The main idea is that this tool helped me to feel how many stuff do I need to read and process.

The second service is a Trell. Yes, this is a nice means to deploy every single step from scratch to final result. So, Trello helped me to define stages, aggregate all useful information in one place, make and feel a progress I did, by implementing every ticket on the board. For instance, I had tickets devoted a content structure of this research or common plan of each stage. Totally I went through 74 tickets. So yep, It was wonderful adventures.

And the third tool is Google Documents which were utilised from the first row to merging all parts in one and final edition. G-docs helped me significantly in the the proofreading process as well.

During this hard-working month I used two more services. The first one is helping me to improve writing English. It helped me to reduce many grammar mistakes and sometimes improve vocabulary (e.g. avoiding repetition or expanding words diversity) being cheaper (around 30 usd per month) than hand by hand proofreading (around 250 pounds).

The free dictionary as a hub of dictionaries and thesauruses was my permanent assistant particularly in finding synonyms and appropriate words for academic sentences.

The next service is This provided an open platform for my own essays which were sources for the dissertation. I can link them on the footnotes more convenient for further researcher.

The hardest thing

What was the most challengeable in the writing process is the crystallisation of central thesis and shaping of the content structure. These both points take a lot of time for just thinking. It is not a visually defined process. It is more about the discussion with your colleagues and insights during the conversation or midnight where a brain can operate with big text constructions and prioritise them.

One of the hardest points was to stop read sources. The more you drill the topic the more sources you have and want to read. An appetite comes during the meal. It is true for me as well.

Last but not least what I want to put in the hurdles list is “start”. Yes, to begin is a really very complex. It is brain preparation for understanding the scope of a future work and the deepness of the research. All in all, I spent several months thinking and collecting sources about the topic and one month for reading and writing it.

Pages cleaning

Yes, you can find the final work on GitHub. I published the work under Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike. This means everyone can read, modify, disseminate this and derived work from this freely and under the same licence marking my authorship =). I hope it will be.

I would like to stress separately a library contribution. It was very amazing. Firstly, I could make a selection of printed sources freely and put them on the shelf in a room with books and reading places. After, I can use them whenever I wanted. Other books I could take to my room with good loan duration (around two months). I had an opportunity to use many law databases and electronic books as well. I know that in my country students do not have the same opportunities to work with sources.

Yes, when I submitted the research I spent around one hour to erase my notes in the corners of the pages in printed books. Then I thought that the work will not only a theoretical research of the “possible solution” for me and the readers.

I hoped it can be a guidance and a manual which revealed essential points for human right activists who fight for the right to education and other social and cultural rights who to understand the political economy premises of copyright and use it in a practice and start to change them.



The image was created by mexican political publisher and graphic Jose Guadelupe Posada.