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Research fellows: Laos and Thailand (2)

About this position:   

The Open Development Initiative is expanding, establishing operations in all five Lower Mekong states. ODI is seeking two research fellows, based in Thailand and Laos respectively, to continue build-out of the Open Development national web portals by preparing editorial and data research projects on key development topics for OD Thailand and OD Laos.

Proposed duties:

Research and write on key development topics : Open Development content portals aim to present multi-faceted insights into the state of development across 17 core taxonomic content categories. In keeping with the existing taxonomic structure of the OD platform, research fellows will identify a minimum of four key topics to research and prepare editorial material for, in English and Thai or Lao. These will be approved by and developed with assistance from the ODM managing editor to ensure consistency with regional and country editorial agendas, and consistency with ODI editorial standards.

Source and curate key data and documents : Research fellows will source key documents and data relevant to research topics, and key thematic priorities. Laws, policies, reports, journal articles, geospatial datasets, population and economic indicators are examples of the content types that are curated, uploaded according to OD metadata standards and presented alongside editorial and data content. 

Company and entity profiles : Entity profiles are a core OD data product — detailed profile databases of entities related to a key development theme. Research fellows contributing to preparing an OD country portal will identify a specific entity type and carry out investigative research to gather and prepare key data for an open public database. Examples of existing OD profiles databases include land concessions, hydropower projects, companies in the extractive industries sector, indigenous communities and protected areas.  

Curate and publish news summaries: OD portals publish daily summaries of news related to development trends. The workflow for this process is semi-automated, but requires an editor to curate; review and lightly edit draft summaries that are created automatically. Research fellows will be expected to provide local knowledge of recommended in-country news sources.

Support regional editorial projects: Research fellows may be assigned research work to contribute to regional or multi-platform projects, particularly where researching Thai or Lao language-based sources is required.

OD Network expansion: Research fellows should assist the larger ODI effort to expand the network by identifying organizations and individuals who may be valuable as data contributors, sectoral review panels, and potential managers of the OD Thailand or OD Laos project, and facilitating networking and other liaison activities. Research fellows should alert the ODI team to relevant local networking and collaboration activities and conferences, symposiums, and workshops.

Propose feature projects: Research and pitch editorial and data research projects of local importance within one of ODI’s key 17 development categories.  

Required qualifications:

The ideal candidate will have a powerful grasp of English and Thai or Lao, a proven research background, and strong writing skill, keen awareness of current affairs and local development trends, familiarity with editorial processes and practices. Applicants should have a strong interest in the development sector, knowledge of the national political environment as it relates to access to information and publishing, environmental sustainability and local economic trends. A background in journalism, investigative research in private, tertiary or non-profit environments, law, economics or conservation will be highly regarded. Specific sectoral knowledge in infrastructure, finance, extractive industries, land governance or natural resource management will be preferred.

Required skills for this position include:

Proven research ability;

Strong writing skills in English and Thai or Lao;

Ability to describe and analyze complex topics concisely in plain language;

Familiarity with content management systems;

Effective verbal communication skills;

High degree of personal organization;

Ability to work virtually in a cross-cultural setting

Preferred qualifications:

Knowledge of current online publishing and storytelling trends;

Familiarity with a WordPress-based publishing environment

Familiarity with basic web publishing standards: HTML, CSS

Knowledge or desire to learn basic visualization and multimedia tools: e.g. DataWrapper, Tableau Public, TimelineJS, CartoDB, StoryMapJS

Strong commitment to objective and neutral ‘open data’ standards;

Knowledge of data management best practices

Understanding of creative commons licensing and its application for republishing open and non-open data sources.

Oversight and direction will be provided by the ODI Managing editor, but candidates are expected to be able to work independently and autonomously. Applications should contain a CV and motivation letter indicating their understanding of Thailand or Laos in context of development issues and a summary of relevant education, employment and volunteer experience. Please forward applications to Dan Bishton: by November 15, 2016.


We are currently seeking volunteers to assist with the Open Development Mekong site. We accepts volunteers and interns who demonstrate appropriate skills and express a strong interest in one or more of the following areas:

Open data,

IT/Open source software development,

Editorial and/or translation work,

Research in relevant topical areas,

Mapping,web design, and

Social media and communications.

Volunteer positions are not paid and may be full-time or part-time positions. 

If you are interested in volunteering for Open Development Mekong, please send a cover letter and your resume to:  Your cover letter should describe your areas of interest, your objective in seeking a volunteer experience, and your availability. 

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Contact us

Do you have a question that Open Development Mekong can help answer? We will gladly help you.

Have you found a technical problem or issue on the Open Development Mekong website?

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Do you have resources that could help expand the Open Development Mekong website? We will review any map data, laws, articles, and documents that we do not yet have and see if we can implement them into our site. Please make sure the resources are in the public domain or fall under a Creative Commons license.

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Disclaimer: Open Development Mekong will thoroughly review all submitted resources for integrity and relevancy before the resources are hosted. All hosted resources will be in the public domain, or licensed under Creative Commons. We thank you for your support.

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