Why, how and by whom? A pro-active approach to open access in Africa


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Susan Murray, Director, African Journals Online speaking at Open Access Africa 2010

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Why, how and by whom? A pro-active approach to open access in Africa

  1. 1. Susan Murray susan@ajol.info
  2. 2. Presentation Outline  About Open Access  Why Open Access in Africa?  How? Some existing solutions to the challenges  Results of AJOL OA survey  By whom?
  3. 3. WHAT? Definitions of OA  Budapest OAI (2001), Berlin Declaration (2003) Bethesda statement (2003)  In the strictest terms:  Freely available  Full rights for users to read, copy, distribute in digital medium  The work is included on a website that is backed by an organisation committed to open access and archiving
  4. 4. Green and Gold Open Access  'green': the author self-archives at the time of submission of the publication (e.g. in institutional repository which can include “grey literature”, journal articles, conference proceedings, monographs etc.  'gold': the publisher makes the material available online for free in an Open Access journal immediately  An article can be available online through both green and gold access
  5. 5. Formal Open Access Models OPEN ACCESS Archival OA* Permit authors to archive pre-/postprint in institutional repository or own website Delayed OA* Provide free access 6-12 months after subscriber access to print/online edition Online OA* Provide free access to online edition, with subscriptions retained for print edition Development OA* Provide free access for institutions and individuals in developing nations Hybrid OA* Enable authors or institutions to purchase open access for specific articles Complete OA* Offer immediate open access without restriction, using article fees and grants * OA online with journal print subscriptions (some evidence to date shows no effect on subscription sales)
  6. 6. Open access (OA)  The principle:  Free access to full text online  Universal access with equal opportunities for all to discover and use information  Resulted initially from the library serials crisis: institutions cannot afford to purchase the increased cost and increased volume of research literature  .... BUT, AJOL believes the largest & most important outcome of OA is development in poorer countries.
  7. 7. WHY? Challenges to SC in Africa  The digital divide  World’s poorest continent  Information from North to South  Too little African research output produced & too little of that being captured by the Northern measures of quality, impact, and indexing
  8. 8. The challenges cont.  Lingering effects of bad policy  Africa’s Higher Education & research not sufficiently supported by Africans or anyone else  Too little organised collaboration in Africa  Strong articles or journals go elsewhere  Unquestioned beliefs... FOREIGN IS NOT necessarily BETTER
  9. 9. The challenges cont. > 1 billion people (2010) Africa is geographically huge Lowest tertiary enrolment rate in the world at 5% Numbers of tertiary enrolments has more than tripled …1985 (800,000 enrolments) to 3 million in 2002, imposing great strain Many Tertiary Education institutions in Africa lack capacity 200 public universities in Sub-Saharan Africa (UK alone with 60 million population has 126 universities and over 1 million enrolments) Brain drain, social crises including HIV/AIDS, malaria, conflict, and corruption Adapted from Materu, P., (2007), “Higher education quality assurance in sub-Saharan Africa: status, challenges, opportunities and promising practices”, A Report for the World Bank: Washington.
  10. 10. Tertiary Education Spend 2001 http://www.worldmapper.org
  11. 11. Science Research Publishing 2001 http://www.worldmapper.org
  12. 12. Human Poverty 2002 http://www.worldmapper.org
  13. 13. The challenges to OA in Africa  Significant, ubiquitous resource shortages of all kinds lead to  Zero money for online hosting  Very little money for Article Processing Charges (APC’s)  Limited awareness and/or understanding of what OA is and how it can be done  Intended readership may not have any access to the internet or to a computer  Policies, systems, processes, budgeting etc in institutions need to shift.  Resistance to change and fear of unknown by journals, authors, university leaders, etc.  Unreliable internet and electricity connectivity makes local hosting unstable for users.
  14. 14. OA is online... Few in Africa are! http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm
  15. 15. But...  Times are changing!  Internet connectivity and awareness of OA is increasing.  Channels for OA are being created in Africa
  16. 16. Benefits of OA in Africa Even more important than in Developed Global North  African content shared RELEVANT to developing country users’ context  Representative flow of information from the Global South to the Global North  Allows access that otherwise not possible AT ALL.  Evidence accumulating that OA increases use & impact of research in developing countries that have reasonable internet connectivity J.A. Evans & J. Reimer: ‘Open Access and Global Participation in Science’. Science. 323, 2009. pp. 1025
  17. 17. Benefits cont. (from survey)  Increased visibility and dissemination (NB journal financial concerns on behalf of readers)  Increased article submissions to journals  Reduced production costs when online (printing)  Reduced postage costs too (very nb in Africa)  Some journals hope that increased awareness through being OA will bring in more international print subscriptions
  18. 18. Achievements of OA in Africa  Quick check on DOAJ and AJOL shows 151 OA journals hosted from various African countries  And another 50 or more that we know of not on aggregators  Many health-related journals in particular have transitioned to OA from TA (v important in Africa)  Much greater awareness of OA through INASP, EIFL, AJOL, etc. Proven by applications to partner AJOL being over 50% OA now compared to 0% 4 years ago.  Sustainability fears on OA seem to have dissipated.
  19. 19. AJOL = African Journals OnLine  A website… the world’s largest online aggregator of African published peer-reviewed scholarly research (NOT a publisher)  Non-profit organisation based in South Africa  A pan-African partnership of journals www.ajol.info
  20. 20. More about AJOL...  Both Open Access (25%) and subscription titles (and everything in between)  Journals cover all academic disciplines, large content in Health, Agriculture and African Studies categories  Has resources sections that link to other useful websites and tools  Plenty of exciting new functionality soon.
  21. 21.  AJOL works to increase online access to African- published, peer-reviewed scholarly journals to support quality research and higher education, research on the continent AJOL’s Vision is for African learning to translate into African development
  22. 22. AJOL approved journals are:  Scholarly and contain original research  Peer-reviewed and quality controlled  Able to provide all content to AJOL  Grant permission for an AJOL article delivery / download service  Published within the African continent
  23. 23. Open Journal Systems (OJS)  Developed by the Public Knowledge Project (PKP)  Online publishing of journals  Full publishing workflow:  Author submits article using OJS  Editor assigns peer-reviewers (article from OJS)  Copyeditors, layout & proof-readers get reviewed article from OJS and then put final version back  Editor assigns article to an issue using OJS, then publishes issue online when complete. http://pkp.sfu.ca
  24. 24. AJOL uses OJS to:  Host and aggregate journals (at no charge)  Full OJS workflow offered to qualifying journals, hosted by AJOL – and operated by Editors. Benefits of OJS:  Designed for best-practice publishing  Easy to use, and flexible  Search engine optimised  Standards (Counter, DC, OAI-PMH) compliant  Good support; used by 1000’s of journals
  25. 25. HOW? African content OA?  Researchers want access to quality full text quickly, easily and affordably (pref OA).  African authors and journals want visibility of their content online and to have high readership.  Universities still grappling with resource scarcity, ICT infrastructure & skills, systems and policies  Institutional and Subject-specific IR’s “green route” still currently in their infancy in Africa  BUT, the “gold route” OA is doing well in Africa
  26. 26. AJOL and OA achievements...  400 titles from 30 countries currently online  Two thirds of AJOL partner journals are not online anywhere else!!!  Over 25% of AJOL partner journals are Open Access (often not possible unless free online hosting)  16,525 Open Access articles on AJOL out of 58,076 (28.5%)  Over half new partner applicants are OA  AJOL has a Google PageRank of 8; Alexa.com 89,361th in world  We thank God for the positive impact of African Journals OnLine (AJOL) on enhancing visibility of our journals published in Africa. Many research works published in our African journals in the past were often labelled as local papers because others could not access them. AJOL is changing that notion, in that African journals and articles published therein are now available globally. Prof Tolu Odugbemi, Vice Chancellor, University of Lagos (permission to quote granted)
  27. 27. Access Options on AJOL Traditional subscription model Full open access Delayed open access Open access on specified articles (hybrid)
  28. 28. Who uses AJOL?  Over 200 000 people each month!  Researchers, academics, policy-makers, health professionals, etc
  29. 29. 27% 19%30% 19% 2%2% 1% Visits by Continent Asia Europe Africa N. America (not set) Oceania S. America
  30. 30. 30 countries with journals on AJOL
  31. 31. AJOL Survey of OA partners  Used Survey Monkey (free version, limited number of questions) two months ago  102 OA titles on AJOL were asked to participate in the survey (we still need to report back to them)  46 did complete the survey (nearly half)  30% born digital, averaging 4.2 years publishing  70% switched to OA after average of 9.9 years Toll Access  Of all 46, average duration of OA has been 3.9 years.  Summary follows....
  32. 32. Through own internet research and use of other OA journals 16 From AJOL 9 From friend, colleague or other journal 7 From an interested institution (eg. ASSAf, Bioline, Scholarly Exchange, AERA) 4 Through participating in a training workshop on OA (eg. INASP, Canadian University) 4 How did you first learn about OA?
  33. 33. Other • Contractual publishing for other organisations • Mostly institutional support and volunteerism. Advertising and Donor support are planned in future • Publisher Support from Scientific Society, as parent body who published, and is still publishing, the hard copy • Authors pay for certain services (i.e., translations) • The journal is supported by the subject-specific community in Africa, the universities, laboratories grants, personal grants and volunteerism • Interested public purchases • Personal contribution of Editor-in-Chief • The journal is funded 100% by faculty funding.
  34. 34. What helped/made OA possible? Internet access and ICT infrastructure 10 AJOL 9 Own institution funding / in kind support 7 Determination & dedication of journal team 7 Other institution / donor funding 6 Other institution in kind support 6 APCs and willingness of authors to pay 5 Personal / journal conviction of moral imperative to share research outcomes 5 Publisher funding / in kind support 3 Internet / ICT skills 3 Nothing in particular 2
  35. 35. OTHER FACILITATING ITEMS....  Availability of adaptive ICT that enables me, a person with total visual disability, to access information without sighted assistance (I use a screen-reader to do my work on the computer).  Impressive cooperation from the operators of the African Journals online where our journal is based.  1. Request from contributors; 2. Not to be left behind; 3. Acceptability.  INASP, and various other workshops  Planned to be OA from outset  Willingness of reviewers to work free of charge  Authors willing to pay because they need promotion What helped/made OA possible?
  36. 36. Wider accessibility / visibility 35 Developing countries can’t afford to pay and need access 6 African countries can’t afford to pay and need access 6 So that it is free of charge for users 4 For African research to reach the rest of the world 4 To reduce costs 4 To improve journal’s reputation / give wider acceptability 4 To increase article submissions (globally) to the journal 2 Journal received a grant that made OA possible 2 Authors need to publish for professional advancement 2 Improve impact / citation impact 2 Why OA instead of subscription?
  37. 37.  OTHER COMMENTS MADE....  A subscription model would have required personnel which we do not have.  1. Authors and their works can be accessed and used; 2. Wider publicity; 3. Easier to deliver  Subscription sales were very low anyway  Hope to get higher print subscriptions  We have both models  1. Pay model does not make sense to me. Authors making journal rich; 2. In Africa, we can't pay anyway.  Donor regulations  Broader accessibility, especially in Madagascar (journal's geographic focus)  Allows more timely publishing Why OA instead of subscription?
  38. 38. OA and Open Source Software  It is FREE!  It does the job  Lots of online support & upgrades  Through AJOL and other similar organisations, and the use of free Open Source Software, African journals can allow OA quite easily (codicil though).
  39. 39. Inferences for other Developing Country Aggregators  Don’t be afraid to choose Open Source Software  Hosting all models of journals helps increase transition to OA  Relationships, communication, good organisation and hard work are still the drivers of success, the technological tools are just the vehicle  Teach yourselves!!!
  40. 40. Inferences for journals  Get online  Use free open source software (particularly OJS)  Aim for Open Access  Join online aggregators – in partnership & co- operation, so much more can be achieved  And again, teach yourselves – be pro-active in learning about ICT options you have.
  41. 41. Inferences for authors  Aim to publish in OA journals, pref in Africa & try to retain copyright!  Use your IR’s if you have them, & urge OA – in partnership & co-operation, so much more can be achieved  Re-examine your motives for publishing & how else you can make your work have impact  And again, teach yourselves – be pro-active in learning about ICT options you have.
  42. 42. Inferences for policy  Improve ICT infrastructure  Increase ICT skills training  Fund HE & Research  Fund Research (OA) dissemination  Build on existing initiatives  Support research publishing (OA)  Change publication reward process  Collaborate more to benefit all  Fund research AND  Research dissemination  Encourage OA & partnering  Co-ordinate with other donors African Governments Universities Donors
  43. 43. Future potential for AJOL  Full text online (done – needs adjusting)  Alternate metrics  Digitizing and hosting African NPO research  Hosting African-published OA books  Hosting data associated with articles on AJOL  Hosting T and D  Providing an African OA Article Repository  Show-casing best practice examples
  44. 44. “Helping developing countries communicate and use science is essential to international aid and diplomacy”  The biggest single factor limiting developing countries' potential for achieving sustainable economic growth — or even attaining the Millennium Development Goals — is their ability to access and apply the fruits of modern science and technology…  It also highlights the importance of effective science communication — crucial for bridging the gap between producing new knowledge and turning that knowledge into either practice or policy, thus significantly increasing the returns from initial investments in research…  Seen from this angle, science, communication and diplomacy can form an important alliance, particularly in the context of development aid. Putting this alliance into effect is not easy. But it is essential if the goals of sustainable economic growth and social development are to be achieved across the developing world.” http://www.scidev.net/en/science-communication/editorials/science-communication aid-and- diplomacy.html David Dickson
  45. 45. Thank you! susan@ajol.infoSusan Murray AJOL Director