Berlin 6 Open Access Conference: Susan MurrayPresentation Transcript
Quality, Evaluation & Impact of OA in African Learning
The big picture
2000 - a breakthrough! Higher Education & Economic Development
Open Access in Africa
Quality and evaluation ideas for Africa
What is ?
In South African slang, a “jol” means a party
… stands for A frican J ournals O n L ine
… is the largest online aggregation of peer-reviewed, African-published scholarly journals in the world, majority nowhere else online
… is a Non Profit Organisation based in S.A.
… provides free hosting & free access to meta-data of over 35, 000 records (journal-defined full-text access soon)
… is working to increase online access, visibility and use of African-published research output & support African higher education
AJOL’s Vision is for African learning to translate into African development AJOL’s Mission is to promote, establish, protect, preserve and maintain an online library and archive of academic journals published throughout the continent of Africa www.ajol.info
To join AJOL, journals must be:
Scholarly in content and contain original research
Peer-reviewed and quality controlled
Able to provide all content to AJOL
Guarantee permission for an AJOL article delivery service
Published within the African continent
Over 330 journals & 36 000 articles
Covering the full range of academic disciplines – particularly strong section on health
Each journal decides their accessibility model and AJOL respects & accommodates this autonomy
Both Open Access & Subscription-based journals (going forward, resources for OA)
AJOL participant journals are from:
– user functionality
Search entire database or specific journal
User-friendly access to meta-data free on AJOL website
Access to article full text (online from Jan 09)
full text is progressively subsidized; OA-journals free.
Free email alerts to registered users
Journal information from each homepage
author guidelines, contact information, etc.
> 55,000 unique visitors / month
Visits by continent 2007
African researchers extremely critical of African-published journals...
AJOL appreciated for being only extant aggregator of African-published journals, and regarded by some as a measure of quality,
AJOL is criticized by others for being to inclusive...
2009 start the search for quality measure
Big picture... information age
Wheel, internal combustion engine, computer chip
Currently, ICT – the internet (information)
A brief history of global ideas on Higher Education and development
For 55 years, the World Bank said Higher Education not important for Africa… In 2000, this was proven wrong
But the impact of this harmful policy must is still to be fully removed by:
African University leaders
Actionable policies, supportive environment and sufficient funds necessary to improve research and research publishing
2000 – a breakthrough!
The World Bank and UNESCO announce that Higher Education is ESSENTIAL for developing countries
New studies and evidence show that the benefits of H.E. not just private after all.
- Higher tax revenues
- higher saving and investment
- higher consumption
- more research
- better national health (allowing higher productivity)
- more innovation & entrepreneurship (more job creation)
- needed for development of infrastructure
- allows technological “catch-up”
- increases quality of primary and secondary education
- fair legal institutions and systems
- better policies and less corrupt governance.
“ There is no way we can succeed in the eradication of poverty if the developing world is not part of knowledge creation, its dissemination and utilization to promote innovation. Higher education is a critical factor in making this possible and must be part of any development strategy”
Managing Director for Human Development, World Bank, 2000
The role of HEI in poverty
“ Strengthening research and research-publishing are crucial priorities for improving higher education in Africa ” (Teferra and Altbach, 2004)
Since knowledge, access to information and higher education have recently (Bloom et al, 2005) been shown to be critical in economic development and significant, long-term poverty alleviation, it is imperative for the poorest continent to overcome Africa’s ‘multiple peripherality’ to the international knowledge system (Altbach, 2003: 143).
How to improve this?
Policy adjustments & financial resources for higher education, research & research dissemination
Internet connectivity, bandwidth, hardware, software & skills
Correction of the market failure of scholarly publishing in Africa
Optimal use of the open access movement
Quality, Evaluation & Impact Assessment
Quality of the overseas journals +/- known
E.g. RAE in UK abandoned due to correlation with ISI (critical mass of high quality journals included in CR obtains)
Quality of African-published research??
Open Access TO Africa
HINARI, AGORA, TEEAL, OARE, JSTOR AA Initiative, pure OA
Need to be pro-active to ensure this does not displace or further weaken local systems of research & research dissemination
Open Access FROM Africa
Even more important
RELEVANT to users’ context
Evidence accumulating that OA use & impact
Online (and OA) allows development of new tools to “measure, assess & manage scientific productivity and progress much better than is currently possible”, although this does rely on critical mass online . (Swan, 2006)
Source: SADC Statistics database, 2003 SADC GDP proportions 2002 http://www.internetworldstats.com
Find practical model for OA publishing in LDC’s
African HEI characterized by resource constraints
Critical mass of OA journals is needed, but also find ways to quality...
Use of existing resources to reduce costs, eg. OJS, AJOL, etc
Catalyse & support non-profit, professional publishers
Improve both quantity AND quality
RANGE of quality in Africa
Some world class, but “more often than not, running the business of (an African) journal is the work of one person who acts as editor-in-chief, editor, messenger, copy editor, managing editor, technical editor, referee, designer, and negotiator (with printers, distributors, and university officials)…” (Teferra 2003)
We need tools to measure quality across the board, not just the top journals.
Criteria for quality assessment system:
Resistant to “gaming”
Acheived by distributed evaluation systems now possible
A combination of “Trust Metrics”
Keep CI as a tool – expand it to be global and develop regional CI’s.
Usage Factors (CiteBase, OpCit, UK Serials Group)
Social networking tools (Soft peer-review...social bookmarking data, collaborative annotation, rating the raters e.g. Del.icio.us (Taraborelli, 2008))
“ Trusted digital repositories” (MIT) extended to include content quality not just preservation
More than one measure of quality… don’t throw out the baby
Use of newly possible “Trust Metrics”
Potential for a new overall indicator as trust metrics matures
And for Africa, get a critical mass of African-published research online and Open Access