Forum on Open Data and Open Science in Agriculture in Kenya: African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development
Forum on Open Data and Open Science in
Agriculture in Kenya:
African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development
Mary Njeri Karanu
Assistant Editor, AJFAND (www.ajfand.net)
On June 15th, 2015
At Jacaranda Hotel Nairobi, Kenya
• African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and
Development (AJFAND) is a scientific, peer reviewed
scholarly journal with a global reach, published in Kenya since
• It was launched in August 2001, as the African Journal of Food
and Nutritional Sciences (AJFNS) under the Rural Outreach
Program (www.ruraloutreachafrica.org) by Hon. Prof. Ruth
Oniang’o as the CEO and editor-in-chief.
• It became evident that nutrition had a much wider scope,
closely linked to agriculture, environment and human
development in Africa. In recognition of these close synergies,
the name of the journal was changed to African Journal of
Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development (AJFAND); this
was able to accommodate interests of previously excluded
To have a world where information on food, agriculture,
nutrition and development is contributed and shared
honestly, respectfully, equally and impartially, giving global
visibility to African scholars and issues.
The key guiding principle is that no culture has a
monopoly of knowledge.
To inform policy and decision making in the fields of Food,
Agriculture, Nutrition and Development, the application of
emerging technologies for innovative interventions and their
regulation through related research.
GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
To provide a platform, through which food and nutrition
issues and information concerning Africa, and its unique
problems could be effectively addressed and disseminated
To provide a capacity building facility in scholarly
publishing for budding African scholars.
AJFAND covers a wide range of scientific and developmental
• Role of indigenous foods in food and nutrition security
• Food safety related practices like preparation, processing,
preservation and storage
• Nutritional analysis of various foods and human health
• Modern technology such as genomics, biotechnology and tissue
culture technology and their role in Africa’s science, research and
food and nutrition security challenges
• Smallholder farming systems, women in agriculture and climate
• Youth in the agricultural value chain
Besides academic research, the journal provides an avenue for
sharing information on national, regional and international-level
food and nutrition programs, commentaries, short communications,
book reviews, and relevant news and events, obituaries of friends
of AJFAND are also included.
AJFAND is open to both African and non-African
• Primary target group:
– scientists, researchers, academics, policy makers, students,
non-Governmental populace and media
Education and Research
AJFAND supports networking, accessing, sharing, and
publishing of papers for researchers, scholars, scientists, and
Creating and preserving up-to-date online digital information
across all formats and ensuring effective access and
management of information to all, especially those serving
research and educational communities.
Examples: African Union (AU) Library, University of
Botswana Library, University of Zimbabwe Library and
Cornell University Robert R. Mann Library.
Health and Nutrition
Supporting and facilitating communication, networking,
accessing, sharing, and publishing of information between
researchers, practitioners, and policymakers involved in health
promotion activities. Including: food safety, food security,
food trade, healthier eating and childhood nutrition.
Publishing Support and Mentoring
Strengthening the work of editors and communication
professionals, especially those in research and science.
Through publishing, AJFAND makes people aware of the
resources available to them, and through innovation, it makes
access to these resources easier.
Rural Development and Agriculture
Supporting networking, accessing, sharing, and publishing of
information for rural development practitioners. The lack of
basic information plays a significant role in the persistence of
poverty. Poor people need better connections to schools, health
care, markets, essential services and each other. Almost all of
the Millennium Development Goals depend on providing
From 2001 issues of the journal were both in the conventional
print and online (www.ajfns.net). Since November 2003, the
journal has been produced entirely online; via the website
In 2009 African Scholarly Science Communications Trust
(ASSCAT) started publishing AJFAND. The Trust just replaced
ROP as the Publisher.
BENEFITS OF ONLINE PUBLISHING
Shorter production cycles.
Increased visibility and recognition as compared to print media.
More efficient quality control through electronic peer review.
Greater versatility in the design of the electronic files.
Opportunity to build capacity in electronic publishing.
Easier to handle corrections with electronic version compared to
BENEFITS OF OPEN ACCESS PUBLISHING
Presenting high quality African scientific research accessible
Giving budding scientists visibility and recognition online.
Enabling African scientists to contribute to global scientific
Contributing unique African solutions to global scientific
questions through original research conducted in Africa by
CHALLENGES OF OPEN ACCESS PUBLISHING
• Threat of virus, hacking
• Monitoring plagiarism in submitted work
• Turnaround times: Some authors have unrealistic expectations of
the review process.
• Financing the journal- maintaining a secretariat, website
AJFAND has a global reputation and readership. The journal is quality
assured by The University of Toronto through Bioline International
since 2006 (http://www.bioline.org.br/nd)
Other institutions that carry and disseminate AJFAND articles and with
whom we have signed agreements:
– CABI (London)
– EBSCO Publishing
– Chemical Abstracts Societies (CAS)
– African Journals Online (AJOL) (http://www.ajol.info/index.php/ajfand)
– FAO Sustainable Food Value Chain Development (SFVC) Knowledge Platform
– African Union (AU) Library
– University of Botswana Library (intranet)
– University of Zimbabwe Library (intranet)
Under second review by Scopus (http://www.elsevier.com/solutions/scopus) and
applying again to Thomson Reuters for coverage in Web of Science.
• AJFAND has enjoyed 15 years of continuous publishing of
Agricultural, Nutrition and Development research in Africa
• AJFAND receives 200+ quality manuscripts every year from
Africa, Europe, USA and Asia. The journal publishes an average of
80 manuscripts in a year, with issues coming out bimonthly
• AJFAND’s roster of qualified, widely read and widely published
(voluntary) international reviewers is 100+ with frequent new
requests to review for the journal
-PhDs (Full reviewers) and MScs (Junior reviewers) in
relevant fields. Each article must benefit from at least 2 FULL
• AJFAND carries profiles of reviewers highlighting their academic
and professional achievements. A photo is included (both for
authors and profiled reviewers). This serves as an incentive to our
• AJFAND takes interns (top talent) from local universities for
mentoring and to gain work experience
Open Data and Open Science in Agriculture…suggestions
• More channels for accessing published materials from African
scholarly journals eg. through intranets in the university
networks- which reduces internet connectivity issues.
• Much of agricultural research could be relevant to policy
makers, students, journalists and the educated public. Yet, it is
often written up in articles that are too long, highly technical and
hidden behind paid subscriptions.
• Connecting published knowledge and emerging technologies
with actors on the ground. Perhaps try repackaging and
disseminating scientific information in simplified layman
language eg. via SMS, newspapers, radio, drama etc.
• Resources are required for all these.
African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development (AJFAND)
Josem Trust Place, Off Bunyala Road, Upperhill
P.O. Box 29086-00625