Research Objectives:

This project aims to understand whether a collaborative and shared approach could provide a solution to the need for cost-effective and efficient Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP) in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in the Caribbean. Towards this aim, the project plans to develop an overall architecture (which we have termed a Knowledge Broker) and the development of a shared vocabulary as a key sub-component of this architecture.

Research Problem:

The range, incidence and scale of recent natural disasters in the Caribbean region highlight the need for a holistic approach to disaster planning, preparation and recovery. Given the vulnerability (which seems likely to increase with climate change) of the Caribbean region, and indeed many Small Island Developing States (SIDS), to natural disasters and their lack of the resources required to develop, test and maintain comprehensive DRPs, it would be beneficial for countries and public and private sector agencies in the region to collaborate and share data, information and knowledge in order to make DRP development more cost effective and improve DRP quality and effectiveness. A major obstacle to this collaborative approach is the ambiguity, inconsistency and communication problems that often arises when autonomous entities must work together and disparate data sources are to be integrated and shared. We believe that the solution to this problem is the collaborative development of a common representation of the domain including a common language/vocabulary.

Research Question:

  • Can a collaborative and shared approach provide a solution to the need for cost effective and efficient DRP in SIDS in the Caribbean?
  • Since a collaborative and shared approach will require the integration of information from disparate sources, how can this be done?
  • Can a DRP vocabulary be developed that will address the need for a common language to facilitate the integration of information from disparate sources?
  • Can Caribbean countries use this solution to develop or improve existing DRPs?



The primary design approach is Design Science. The Design Science paradigm seeks to extend the boundaries of knowledge by creating new and innovative artifacts (Hevner et al. 2004). The artifact in this case is the Knowledge Broker, a fundamental component of which is the DRP vocabulary.

Project Challenges:

At first, the engagement of the relevant stakeholders was a primary concern since the success of the project is dependent on their engagement. This engagement, however, has not proven to be the challenge since once the stakeholders were identified and meetings and discussions were held, there was little resistance to the idea of the project as a whole. In fact, many stakeholders quickly bought into the proposed solution.

Emerging Findings:

We have been excited to note the overall high level of support and recognition of the importance of such a solution in this domain. The relevant stakeholders have been tremendously willing to contribute in any way possible to our proposed solution. This may be due to the fact that many of the objectives of our research align with the objectives of the potential partners’ objectives so they have seen our project as an opportunity to also obtain support towards meeting their own objectives.

What do your findings suggest about the nature/context of open science in development?

If stakeholders see the value of collaborating, then they are actually quite willing to share their data and resources. They also need to see the alignment and benefits of the collaboration. We have pitched the discussion in such a way that our solutions can support the work that is already being done by these various stakeholders.