Scholarly Publishing in Africa - Preliminary Findings

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Presentation for Publishers for Development Conference (2013) by Susan Murray (AJOL) and Abby Clobridge (Clobridge Consulting)

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Scholarly Publishing in Africa - Preliminary Findings

  1. 1. Current State of Scholarly Publishing in Africa Preliminary Notes & Findings – Phase 1 Publishers for Development October 2013 Susan Murray susan@ajol.info Abby Clobridge Clobridge Consulting aclobridge@clobridgeconsulting.com
  2. 2. Background • Various projects on global publishing scene and specific elements of scholarly publishing, but nothing specifically on Africa • important because: “Focus on African problems/challenges could make research unpublishable in other countries” • Hypothesis: Dynamic publishing scene in Africa, but issues, trends, challenges not always the same in African context as at global level – ex: OA, print vs. online, management of journals, predatory OA, today’s key issues Current State of Scholarly Publishing in Africa www.clobridgeconsulting.com/scholarly-publishing-in-africa
  3. 3. Background • Timeline: • Part 1: Survey (August-September 2013) • Part 2: Follow-up in-depth conversations (end of 2013) • Full report: Early 2014 • Funding in part from Carnegie Corporation of New York and Swedish International Development Agency (Sida) Current State of Scholarly Publishing in Africa
  4. 4. Survey Target Population • Direct: email invitations to journal editors • 1200+ emails, 800+ reminder emails • English and French email & survey • Online and “offline” options • Encouragement from publishing organizations • INASP, PKP, AJOL, EIFL, Taylor & Francis, BioMed Central, Elsevier, African Journal Partnership Project (AJPP), BioLine, etc. • Indirect invitations & awareness raising: • Listservs: World Association of Medical Editors (WAME), IFLA Africa Section, Sabinet, HIFA2015, KM4Dev, etc. • Social networks: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ Current State of Scholarly Publishing in Africa www.clobridgeconsulting.com/scholarly-publishing-in-africa
  5. 5. Survey Responses • Approx. 330 responses • ~30% of African-based actively publishing journals that we identified • ~5-10% of responses were from journals we had not identified • Challenges in identifying target population • Ulrich’s, DOAJ, OJS, Scopus, Scimago, AJOL, South African Department of Education Accredited Journals, Web of Science, ProQuest Int’l Bibliography of Social Sciences • Duplicates with slightly different names, out-of-date information • Some difficulty defining African-published/-based Current State of Scholarly Publishing in Africa
  6. 6. Demographics of Respondents Geography: Responses from 32 countries Country Responses South Africa 105 Nigeria 99 Egypt 19 Ethiopia 18 Ghana 13 Kenya 13 Uganda 8 Tanzania Current State of 5 – 2 responses: Sudan (5), Algeria (3), Cameroon (3), Madagascar (3), Rwanda (3), Botswana (2), Ivory Coast (2), Morocco (2), Mozambique (2), Senegal (2), Togo (2), Tunisia (2), Zambia (2), Zimbabwe (2) 6 Scholarly Publishing in Africa 1 response: Burkina Faso, Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea, Libya, Malawi, Mauritius, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Angola, Benin, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Gabon, Gambia, GuineaBissau, Lesotho, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Namibia, Niger, Republic of the Congo, Sao Tome, Seychelles, Somaliland, South Sudan, Swaziland, Western Sahara
  7. 7. Demographics of Respondents Date Range of Birth Year 1960s 1950s 1970s Gender: 74% Male 25% Female 5% No answer Current State of Scholarly Publishing in Africa
  8. 8. Current Occupation & Current Role in Publishing University professor University lecturer Full-time journal editor, publisher, or staff member in… Research officer/manager within academia Research officer/manager or scientist for an… Other Retired University student Programme officer at an NGO 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 180 200 Editor-in-Chief Journal manager/staff member at editorial office Member of Editorial Board Other Publishing organization Printer 0 Current State of 50 Scholarly Publishing in Africa 100 150 200 250
  9. 9. Top Subject Areas of Journal (DOAJ Categories) Subject Areas of Journals -- Top Responses 140 120 100 80 60 40 20 0 Other = mostly sciences that will be recoded into appropriate category Current State of Scholarly Publishing in Africa
  10. 10. How Articles are Selected for Journal 300 250 200 150 100 50 0 Prelim review by EIC reviews all Ed Board reviews Peer-review for EIC or manager submissions all submissions all then peer-review Yes Current State of No Uncertain Scholarly Publishing in Africa We accept all manuscripts We accept all manuscripts within subject area
  11. 11. Tracking Impact Other Not sure We don't track impact User ratings Tweets (Twitter) Social networking references (other) Page views Page ranks Online registrations LinkedIn References Facebook Likes Downloads Comments Citations Blog coverage Backlinks 0 Current State of 20 40 Scholarly Publishing in Africa 60 80 100 120 140
  12. 12. Print and Online Access 250 200 150 100 50 0 Print To subscribers for a fee Current State of Online For free Scholarly Publishing in Africa Not avail in this format
  13. 13. Inclusion in Indexes, Directories, Aggregators Answers with >1 response ScientificCommons CiteSeerx BioOne Periodicals Index Online Embase JSTOR Medline CAS ProQuest Index Copernicus African Index Medicus SABINET AJOL 0 Current State of 20 40 60 80 Scholarly Publishing in Africa 100 120 140 160 180 200
  14. 14. Permission to Deposit Articles or Manuscripts into Repositories Immediately After a delay No Don't know 0 20 Final/typeset version Current State of 40 60 80 100 Peer-reviewed version Scholarly Publishing in Africa 120 140 160 180 200 Author's version of manuscript
  15. 15. Which type of organization publishes the journal? 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Current State of Scholarly Publishing in Africa
  16. 16. 200 Sources of Funding and Income 180 160 140 120 100 80 60 40 20 0 Very Important Current State of Somewhat Important Of Little Importance Scholarly Publishing in Africa N/A
  17. 17. What sources of non-financial support or resources does the journal receive that allow the journal to operate? Volunteer time of peer reviewers Volunteer time of editors Volunteer time of EIC Univ/org policy support & encouragement Free office space Free use of univ/org's internet Free use of univ/org's computers Gov't policy and legislative environment Free or open source software Free journal hosting Free publishing software Other 0 Current State of 50 100 Scholarly Publishing in Africa 150 200 250
  18. 18. Main Expenses Advertising Copyediting or translating Graphic design and typesetting Honorarium for Ed Board Honorarium for EIC Honorarium for Reviewers Printing costs Sponsorship of meetings Staff salaries Website design, dev't Website hosting 0 Significant Current State of 50 100 Somewhat Significant Scholarly Publishing in Africa 150 200 Minor Expense 250 N/A 300
  19. 19. Economic Status Current Status Generating a surplus (13%) Breaking even (58%) Operating at a loss (29%) Anticipating Status 3-5 Years from Now Generating a surplus (39%) Breaking even (53%) Operating at a loss (7%) No longer in operation at that time (1%) Current State of Scholarly Publishing in Africa
  20. 20. Open Access Immediate OA Embargoed OA Hybrid OA Subscription only Don't know 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 Of the OA Journals: Always OA 6 of these were OA at one point but transitioned to subscription Subscription to OA 0 Current State of 20 40 60 80 100 Scholarly Publishing in Africa 120 160
  21. 21. Motivations for Becoming Open Access 140 Very important Somewhat important 120 100 80 60 40 20 0 Current State of Scholarly Publishing in Africa Not important
  22. 22. Factors in Becoming OA Avail of free or low-cost journal sys Broadband access of Ed board/staff Broadband access for readers External web hosting services avail ICT skills Ed board/staff One-time external funding Ongoing external funding Readers' internet access thru mobile devices 0 Not important Current State of 10 20 Somewhat important Scholarly Publishing in Africa 30 40 50 Very important 60 70 80
  23. 23. Perceived/Experienced OA Benefits 140 120 100 80 60 40 20 0 Current State of Scholarly Publishing in Africa
  24. 24. Preliminary impressions of key themes • Widespread emphasis on importance of Open Access, but complexities are marked • Cost recovery in all publishing models is difficult • • • • • low (or no specific) funding from African governments diminishing research funding too little institutional support (financial and other) few subscribers authors can’t afford fees • Quantity issues • Too many journals • Too few reviewers • Too many or too few article submissions Current State of Scholarly Publishing in Africa
  25. 25. Preliminary impressions of key themes • Quality issues / perceptions of problems • Measurement of journal quality “impact factor fundamentalism” and “bias”. • Stem from a lack of incentives: 1. to authors “top quality papers will be submitted to European and American and Australian journals first” 2. to peer-reviewers “(peer-review) takes up too much time in our context. I wish there would be some way to speed this process, apart from monetary incentives.” 3. to editors “producing a journal is a lot of work and it is not particularly well rewarded or supported” “The problem of extremely low output in Africa of quality journal articles does not lie with the journals per se, but with social and cultural systems and people living and working in conditions that are not conducive for high quality work”. Current State of Scholarly Publishing in Africa
  26. 26. Preliminary impressions of key themes • Huge preponderance of “scholar journals” (which cannot afford dedicated staff members) published by career academics “after hours” • Concerns around skills in three areas: • Novice authors’ writing skills • IT skills • Handover of journals from founding Editor/Board Scholarly Publishing in Africa
  27. 27. Surprises • OA journal numbers are higher than toll-based – tentative • Internet connectivity and ICT not often mentioned • Low awareness of concept of “predatory OA”, but little influence, except for sharing current policies & practices more explicitly • Frequent mention of the need for more collaboration between countries, and greater cooperation throughout the continent • Notably with respect to amalgamation of journals Current State of Scholarly Publishing in Africa
  28. 28. Surprises • From reviewers of the survey: • It is too long, but add the following NB questions (!) • From correspondence ABOUT the survey: • A hypothesis that African journals use a subscriptionbased publishing model to keep low quality content from being widely assessed • From respondents: • strong overall optimism about publishing in Africa (despite the challenges mentioned) “huge potential for new insights and original research…” Current State of Scholarly Publishing in Africa
  29. 29. Looking forward… • Phase two of the research: Case studies AND THEN… • • • • AJOL’s drafting of an OA in Africa Advocacy approach? An Africa-wide conference on OA in Africa?? An African statement on Open Access? An African statement on dedicated public support for research communication? • Comparison & collaboration with other developing country regions? Current State of Scholarly Publishing in Africa
  30. 30. Hypothesis on OA in Africa tentatively confirmed… “The place of local and regional journals needs more recognition and these titles are under more pressure than ever in the increasingly globalised and increasingly OA worlds.” Current State of Scholarly Publishing in Africa
  31. 31. More Information Forthcoming: Report Available Early 2014 (Details TBA) Contact: Susan Murray susan@ajol.info Abby Clobridge aclobridge@clobridgeconsulting.com Current State of Scholarly Publishing in Africa www.clobridgeconsulting.com/scholarly-publishing-in-africa

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