UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Strengthening scholarly publishing in Africa : assessing the potential of online systems Esseh, Samuel Kwaku Smith


This study investigated current publishing practices among scholarly journals in Africa, while exploring the potential contribution of online publishing systems to aid those practices. This study examined how current systems, largely involving traditional publishing methods, offer Africans limited opportunities and incremental gains in taking advantage of faster and wider dissemination of digital systems for scholarly communication. Issues about authorship, readership, editorial and peer review, as well as the level of science resources in African academic libraries, were studied. Using a well-articulated, mixed-mode research design, this study has assembled data from 286 key actors – journal editors, potential journal editors, librarians, IT administrators, faculty and postgraduate students – from sub -Saharan Africa during a 12-month period in 2007–09. Drawing on this data set, this study documents and analyzes the unparalleled availability of journals and other information resources made available to the African research community through digital technologies and publisher policies, as well as current constraints in ICT infrastructure, training, and support inhibiting the utilization of these same technologies in advancing African scholarly publishing efforts. This study establishes the high level of energy and excitement among journals editors, librarians, and IT administrators about the compelling new possibilities offered by new digital technologies. Drawing on what has been learned in this study, recommendations are made for tapping into the full potential of these technologies in strengthening research capacity, improving the quality of research, reducing Africa’s isolation from the global scholarly community, and ultimately narrowing the information divide.

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