In this report, literature reviews were conducted on scholarly work concerned with internet policy in different world regions. Our objective was to look for recent research on internet policy and relevant sub-topics in these regions, find out which issues are more widely discussed in the literature, learn about the countries, regions and topics that may need more focus, and propose potential areas for future research.
Internet usage statistics were taken from the Internet Live Stats website, which collects its data from sources such as the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), United Nations Population Division and the World Bank. Current internet speed information was taken from the websites of Internet Society and Akamai. At the initial stage, research topics discussed on the IPO website were utilized to form a set of keywords (e.g. ‘internet policy’, ‘internet governance’, etc.). These keywords were used in combination with country and region names to form search inputs for databases. EBSCO and JStor databases, and Google Scholar search were used to reach scholarly work. Most recent and most relevant outputs in the search were used to specify particular research topics with the aim of obtaining the most cited, the most relevant or the most representative work depending on the issue discussed in research (e.g. using keywords such as ‘censorship’, ‘digital divide’, etc.). In cases where there were several articles on a specific issue, the selection was made based on relevance, number of citations, and whether the work is up to date / still relevant.
We aimed to include the most relevant research on widely studied countries in way to represent the region proportionately. For example, India and Bangladesh were represented with a few selected articles and topics among several that were found, while countries like Bhutan and Nepal were each represented with one article that addressed a specific issue in the country. We also aimed to include countries and topics that are rarely discussed in scholarly work. Besides these concerns, the review was designed to include some of the most recent, most up-to-date, and most cited pieces of research.
Only the works with accessible full text were included. Abstracts were checked to confirm relevance. Articles’ references sections were checked to see if there is more relevant, recent and reliable work on the topic. A set of articles were collected this way for each specific issue covered in the literature. Full texts were checked to decide on the article to be included in the review. While a few articles from the late 90s were included due to the dearth of research on certain topics and countries, most pieces of research included in the review were from 2010s, while few others were from the late 2000s. Peer-reviewed journal articles, technical reports and books were included. News articles, blogs, reviews, dissertations and unpublished work were not included. All included work was published in English.