A strategic approach to research publishing in South Africa


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A strategic approach to research publishing in South Africa

  1. 1. A STRATEGIC APPROACH TO RESEARCH<br />PUBLISHING IN SOUTH AFRICA<br />S Veldsman<br />Director: Scholarly Publishing Programme<br />22 November 2010<br />Applying scientific thinking<br />in the service of society<br />
  2. 2. Impetus to strategic report<br /> During 2001 the most ambitious project of DoE to restructure and reform HE in SA. Change in a number of things:<br />Closure of the Bureau for Scientific Publications, Termination of state subsidy of flagship journals<br />Modified funding of outputs of tertiary institutions :ISI-, IBSS-listed, plus accredited SA journals (DoE list)<br />
  3. 3. Two questions surfaced?<br /><ul><li>Is it appropriate for the state to support publication of learned jnls to foster intellectual exchange?
  4. 4. Do all articles, published in jnls recognized for the output subsidy of universities, deserve recognition, in view of wide variation in quality of the material produced?</li></li></ul><li>ASSAf commissioned for study<br />2001 the then Dept of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology (now Depts of Science and Technology) commissioned ASSAf to address the two questions and to make recommendations for policy development in future<br />
  5. 5. Summarised findings no 1<br />The confirmation that the formal “research publishing system” (backbone of cumulative, global progress in scholarship and knowledge) will continue to depend critically on the integrity and functionality of the core mechanism<br />editorial discretion :<br />peer review: <br />appropriate citation <br /> even if necessary and appropriate adaptations are made in the electronic age<br />
  6. 6. Summarised findings no 2<br /><ul><li>Research publishing in South Africa is undertaken in good faith and with much personal effort and commitment by editors and their editorial boards, but is very fragile in that:
  7. 7. infrequent, often irregular publication of thin issues is generally used to deal with a low supply of good papers
  8. 8. a majority of the journals play only a tiny role in the world research publishing system, as judged by citation in the most extensive, multi-disciplinary, indexed database available;
  9. 9. the “mixed bag” of quality and reputation in the DoE’s local accreditation list means the whole group is “tainted” in the eyes of key stakeholders.</li></li></ul><li>Summarised findings no 3, 4<br /><ul><li>The evolving “electronic age” comes with highly significant paradigm shifts and new opportunities and risks with which an intermediate country like South Africa must vigorously engage
  10. 10. A multi-pronged approach is absolutely essential, embedded in international trends and efforts particularly to assist developing countries like ours </li></li></ul><li>GLOBAL RESEARCH REPRESENTATION<br />WEB OF SCIENCE COVERAGE<br />
  12. 12. Recommendations – 2006 ASSAf Report<br /><ul><li>Strong indigenous journal system essential
  13. 13. Code of best practice in editing and peer review needed
  14. 14. Cyclical peer review of journals by ASSAf panels
  15. 15. Accreditation by govt. by peer review system </li></li></ul><li>Recommendations (continued)<br /><ul><li>National platform for open access through free-online journals and institutional repositories – govt. backing, mechanisms
  16. 16. Information system to be set up, plus citation indexing
  17. 17. Translation of scholarly content to public benefit – esp. education
  18. 18. International : efforts to promote public sector, level-playing field, freely accessible indexing system</li></li></ul><li>Mechanisms in place for follow through of recommendations<br /><ul><li>Presentations to Ministers of Education and Science/Technology, etc; HESA; NACI; SARIMA
  19. 19. Funding sought for implementation project – granted 2008-2011(contract)
  20. 20. ASSAf’s Committee on Scholarly Publishing in SA constituted – project oversight
  21. 21. ASSAf’s Scholarly Publishing Unit established – Director and project staff
  22. 22. National Scholarly Editors’ Forum established : terms of reference : national code of best practice in editing and peer review adopted and published</li></li></ul><li>Mechanisms (continue)<br /><ul><li>Grouped broad discipline peer review panels
  23. 23. Social Sciences & Agriculture--completed
  24. 24. Religion, Law, Humanities & related fields and Medical journals—in process
  25. 25. Consensus Study of scholarly publishing in books completed—Nov 2009
  26. 26. Possible online scientific writing course system under investigation
  27. 27. Creation of national platform for open access publishing of high-quality S A journals—SciELO SA</li></li></ul><li>SciELO SA<br />The Scholarly Publishing Unit of ASSAf's main aim is:<br /> to put a quality, visible and robust platform in place to publish ALL South African Scholarly publications<br />
  28. 28. Advantages of SciELO SA<br />SciELO is a fully cross indexed platform, which forms part of a<br /> developing country "ISI" system.<br />Usage, downloads, visits can be monitored daily by the editor, author and users on the system!<br />SciELO Brazil is in discussion with the "proper" ISI for the inclusion<br /> of SciELO journals in their database and citation analysis system<br />Journals on the platform for inclusion will be stringently selected by<br /> our Review Panels--to ensure quality SA Scholarly journals<br />
  29. 29. Advantages(cont)<br />Publishing on this platform is free as it is funded by the Dept of Science and Technology <br />Possible institutional per-article co-payments possibly linked to the DoE research output subsidy system<br />possible partial subsidization by DST of the print versions (if they are of high quality, post peer reviewed) AND is unable to tolerate possible loss in income<br />being part of a possible new DoE accreditation system linked to ASSAf's SPP activities<br />
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  34. 34. Impact of local scholarly platform<br /><ul><li>Discipline-grouped peer review by ASSAf Panels – cycles – recommendations for govt. accreditation; subsidised free online open access; optimum editorial models; functional categorisation
  35. 35. Platform mechanism(s) for online journal editing/reviewing/publishing; copyright arrangements; “economies of scale” production processes; facilitation of print production/distribution; information capture, including citation indexing
  36. 36. Ongoing improvement through national scholarly editors’ forum, oversight by ASSAf Committee; policy development, etc
  37. 37. Africa???</li></li></ul><li>Conclusion<br />The ASSAf Scholarly Publishing Programme is a concerted intervention into the country’s national system of Innovation (NSI), which focuses on <br /><ul><li> the enhancement of the quality,
  38. 38. quantity and
  39. 39. worldwide visibility of original, peer-reviewed publications produced by researchers in the public sector, and the fostering of a new generation of highly competent and productive scientists and scholars</li></li></ul><li>THANK YOU<br />susan@assaf.org.za<br />