Author Archives: bibboek

Scholarly Publishing Programme Fourth Quarterly Report (Summary)

SciELO SA: Collection and Usage Growth

Over the past quarter no scholarly journal titles were added to the collection. There are currently 1 739 South African open access journal issues on the Scientific Electronic Library Online – South Africa (SciELO SA platform), 27 619 articles and 76 journal titles. http://www.scielo.org.za/ scielo. php? script=sci_alphabetic&lng=en&nrm=is

The usage of the articles in the platform attests to the value the platform offers. The total number of views of South African open access research via SciELO SA since 2009 totals more than 16,5 million to date:

3-month period comparison Comparison of views
Jan 2018 to March 2018 860 107
Jan 2019 to March 2019 1 504 893 (43% increase)

Planning is underway to assist SciELO SA journal editors to incorporate the new SciELO Network best-practice criteria in the journals.At the end of March 2019, a bi-annual assessment of the SciELO SA platform took place.

Institutional Repository

The following collections are included in the IR:

The overall repository usage for the last three months was as follows:

  Jan 2019 Feb 2019 Mch 2019 % Increase
Views 32 014 34 206 36 664 14.52
Downloads 21 544 23 025 24 555 13.98

African Open Science Platform (AOSP)

The AOSP is currently in its third year, documenting findings in a landscape report and developing supporting material (frameworks) to guide African countries towards the implementation of Open Science Policy, ICT Infrastructure, skills development/ capacity building and incentives for sharing data and research. During the past months, the draft documentation was compiled and submitted for review to the members of the AOSP Advisory Council and the AOSP Technical Advisory Board. A second survey was developed and launched to further inform the development of the frameworks.

AOSP further had two opportunities to test the findings from the landscape report. A presentation was made during a meeting of the Network of Data and Information Curation Communities (NeDICC) on 14 March 2019, as well as during the University Pretoria and Carnegie Corporation of New York Capstone Conference on 26 March 2019

Report on Grouped Peer Review of Journals

The Report on Grouped Peer Review of Scholarly Journals in Communication and Information Sciences was published and is available: http://hdl.handle.net/ 20.500.11911/111

The peer review of journals in the Communication and Information Sciences disciplinary group included 14 journals, each represented by three volumes covering the period from 2013 to 2015. A total of 42 senior researchers from across the country conducted the reviews.

The review process showed that the quality of articles was overall good to excellent, also reflecting effective peer evaluation systems. In a few instances, the need for more articles from African countries was raised. The inclusion of additional scholarly features like critical and thematic editorials, topical reviews and book reviews were recommended. It was recommended that all 14 journals maintain their DHET accreditation status.

ASSAF-hosted OJS Journals

ASSAf Council approved the continuation of the ASSAf OJS Journals platform beyond the pilot stage in February 2019. Subject to capacity, the hosting service can now be extended to other qualifying journals at an annual cost. Finalisation of the formal launch is underway. Dimensions – a digital tool that gathers citation data from various platforms, indexers and harvesters – has been added to the platform for all journals. Dimensions calculates and displays the citation count on the landing page of each article.

Quest: Science for South Africa

ASSAf attended the SciFest in Grahamstown which took place from 6 –12 March 2019. This year differs from the previous years. For the first time the Quest outreach joined the SciFest outreach in iRhini and Uitenhage. Both venues attracted learners from grade 10 –12. Mr Tsepo Majake, Education Project Officer, gave a physical science presentation on Falling Bodies.

ASSAf Report on Research Publishing in and from South Africa Launched

The Second ASSAf Report on Research Publishing in and from South Africa which was launched on 29 April 2019 is now available online and can be accessed via this link:  http://research.assaf.org.za/handle/20.500.11911/114

The article How to approach the revolution in scholarly publishing has been published in The Conversation. Access the article via this link.

Scholarly Publishing Programme Third Quarterly (Summary)

1 SciELO SA: Collection and Usage Growth

Over the past quarter, one scholarly journal title has been added to the collection. There are currently 1 652 South African open access journal issues on the SciELO SA platform, 26 346 articles and 76 journal titles. www.scielo.org.za

The usage of the articles in the platform attests to the value the platform offers:
The total number of views of South African open access research via SciELO SA totals almost 15 million to date (December 2018).

12-month period comparison of views
Oct to Dec 2017 675 818
Oct to Dec 2018 1 480 585 (54% increase)

The SciELO SA User Group met again on 21 November 2018 at the Southern Sun Hotel, OR Tambo. The topic was the introduction of the new SciELO Network criteria.

Fifty-five people attended the meeting. The meeting consisted of both an informative and practical session. The feedback received from the attendees will be incorporated into the new criteria guidelines and timeline for SciELO SA journals.

At the end of November 2018, the bi-annual assessment of the SciELO SA platform took place. The collection was awarded a score of 98,8%.

2 The ASSAf Research Repository (RR)

The ASSAf RR currently includes 83 ASSAf publications: http://research.assaf.org.za/

The following collections are included in the IR:
• ASSAf Consensus Study Reports
• ASSAf Workshop Proceedings and Other Reports
• ASSAf Policymakers’ Booklets
• Quest: Science for South Africa

3 Grouped Peer Review of South African Scholarly Journals

The Communications and Information Science Journals Peer Review Report is currently being compiled.

4 National Scholarly Editors’ Forum

ASSAf hosted a stimulating full-day meeting of 62 members of the National Scholarly Editors’ Forum (NSEF) on 20 November 2018 at the Southern Sun Hotel OR Tambo, Johannesburg. Although the forum usually meets annually, the event was not held in 2017 due to budgetary constraints.

Feedback on three of the recently completed Peer Review Panel reports was given. The panels recommended that journals in these disciplinary groups, Communication and Information Sciences; Humanities II: Visual and Performing Arts; and Architecture, Built Environment and Engineering, improve their governance and management structures, broaden editorial boards, widen diversity and representation from authorship to readership, encourage authors from outside the country (especially from other African countries), encourage young researchers to publish, and move to open access.

Prof David Walwyn of the School of Technology Management, University of Pretoria gave feedback on the Incentives for Collaborative Research Project, which ASSAf initiated, and shared the recommendations and conclusions from the study. Collaboration enhances research and publishing, although measurement is a challenge. Ms Elizabeth Marincola, Senior Advisor of Communications and Advocacy in the African Academy of Sciences (AAS), presented on the AAS Open Research and the advancement of open scholarship. Prof Robin Crewe, Chairman of the Committee on Scholarly Publishing in South Africa (CSPiSA), gave a presentation on the twists and turns of authorship with an emphasis on conflicts of interest and misconduct.

5 Peer Review Panel of Journal Applications for DHET Accreditation

The DHET requested ASSAf’s assistance in constituting a Peer Review Panel to evaluate the new and re-applications of journals for DHET accreditation. A panel of 14 expert scholars were selected from ASSAf Membership, SAYAS and the National Research Foundation (NRF) databases. There were 23 journals under review from various fields of humanities, social sciences, education, health and law. A meeting of the panellists to review the journals took place on 5 November 2018 in Johannesburg. Reports from the meeting were sent to the DHET in early December.

6 African Open Science Platform (AOSP)

6.1 Engagement with Stakeholders
AOSP was represented at the following meetings, to create further awareness on the need for open science and open data to be funded, and to be made a requirement:

• 2018 Global Research Council (GRC) Africa Regional Consultative Meeting (8 November 2018, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire). The meeting was co-hosted by PASRES (Côte d’Ivoire) and the NRF (SA).
• AOSP sponsored a session during the past Annual Meeting of African Science Academies (AMASA). The session took place on 14 November 2018 in Benin.
• Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T) Meeting Skype Presentation (8 November 2018, Vancouver, Canada).

6.2 Progress regarding frameworks
A working group under Prof Benjamin Aribisala, assisted by Dr Ousmane Moussa Tessa who also attended the AOSP Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Infrastructure meeting on 14 May 2018, has been established to explore existing work done thus far, and to propose a roadmap towards implementation by governments.

All other (Incentives, Capacity Building and Open Science Policies) frameworks were presented and tested during the past AOSP Technical Advisory Board Meeting on 3-4 November 2018, Gaborone, Botswana and International Data Week (IDW) Conference 2018.

Two additional frameworks have been identified as deliverables:
• Data Repository Framework
• Research Data Management Framework

6.3 Data Repositories
During the past, Libsense Repository Workshop the UbuntuNet Alliance managed to create a platform for librarians (specifically institutional literature repository managers) to engage with technical NREN staff, to investigate support and collaboration.

A parallel meeting with vice-chancellors from universities across Africa was hosted by UbuntuNet to discuss ways in which universities and NRENs can strengthen collaboration towards addressing the challenges brought about by the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

6.4 Capacity Building
AOSP funded three facilitators from Ethiopia to participate in the Foundational School in Data Science from 22 October to 2 November 2018 at the University of Rwanda. This school was co-hosted by the University of Rwanda, Research Data Alliance (RDA) and CODATA.

6.5 International Data Week 2018 Conference
International Data Week 2018 brought together more than 800 participants from 64 countries and six continents, with top numbers from Botswana, South Africa and the United States.

The AOSP was part of the organising committee, and also managed to fully/partially sponsor 30 delegates from Africa.

The host was the University of Botswana, and the main organisers were CODATA, RDA, World Data System (WDS), ASSAf and the University of Botswana. From the outset, IDW2018 was aligned with the mandate of AOSP – which is to create awareness and advocate for high-quality research data to be curated in a fair way.

The proposed draft International Data Week Gaborone Statement, one of the outcomes of the conference, is being finalised.

6.6 Science Forum South Africa 2018
During SFSA 2018, AOSP Hosted A Session Titled “Relevance of Open Data towards a Sustainable Environment, focusing on data in priority disciplines. The session was well attended, and the panel comprised of three speakers from different African countries and fields.The future AOSP will be launched during the upcoming SFSA.

During the SFSA closing session, it was indicated that AOSP’s pilot phase (2016-2019) will be followed by a phase two of the project. The AOSP launch document was shared with the audience at the forum and made available online.

7 QUEST

7.1 Science engagement
The following events were attended:
• Science Communication Conference in Stellenbosch from 2-9 November.
• Science Centres Conference in Thohoyandou on the 26-30 November.
• Assisted with organising the lecture by Professor Stephan Borrmann from the Institute for Atmospheric Physics at the Johannes-Gutenberg-University in Germany who was a visiting scholar at Wits University.
• On 15 September Quest visited the ScopeX event and distributed copies.

Quest was distributed at the SFSA 2018 held between 10-14 December 2018.

8 ASSAf-hosted OJS Journals

Article-level metrics, specifically Views and Downloads, were activated for the five journals on the ASSAf OJS Journals platform in November 2018. Planning is underway to include Dimensions for all articles on the platform. Dimensions is a digital tool that gathers citation data from various platforms, indexers and harvesters and displays the data as one citation count on the article landing page.

DECEMBER 2018

Scholarly Publishing Programme Second Quarterly Report (Summary)

SUBMITTED TO THE DEPARTMENT OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

SCHOLARLY PUBLISHING PROGRAMME

SciELO SA: Collection and Usage Growth

Over the past quarter three scholarly journal titles have been added to the collection, bringing the total to 76. There are currently 1 641 South African open access journal issues on the SciELO SA platform, 25 731 articles and 76 journal titles. http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_alphabetic&lng=en&nrm=iso

The usage of the articles in the platform attests to the value the platform offers:

The total number of views of South African open access research via SciELO SA totals almost 14 million to date (September 2018).

The SciELO Network celebrated its 20-year anniversary in September 2018 in São Paulo, Brazil. Mrs Susan Veldsman and Mrs Louise van Heerden attended the national collection meeting and conference and Mrs Van Heerden presented a paper on SciELO SA: Past, Present and Future.

The ASSAf Institutional Repository (IR)

The ASSAf IR currently includes 80 ASSAf publications: http://research.assaf.org.za/

The advantage of making ASSAf publications available in an institutional repository is that the usage can be monitored.

Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) keywords are now being included in the metadata of each publication. This will allow harvesters to pick up the keywords and link it to ASSAf publications. Furthermore, these keywords will assist in grouping together publications that relate to specific SDGs.

Grouped Peer Review of South African Scholarly Journals

The Report on Grouped Peer Review of Scholarly Journals in Humanities II: Visual and Performing Arts was finalised in September 2018 and published in http://www.assaf.org.za/index.php/publications/evidence-based-reports.

The Communications and Information Science Journals Peer Review Report is currently being compiled.

National Scholarly Book Publishers’ Forum (NSBPF)

The forum’s annual meeting was held on 28 August 2018 at the Wanderer’s Club in Johannesburg to coincide with the meetings of the Publishers’ Association of South Africa (PASA). The Scholarly Publishing Programme’s Director, Mrs Susan Veldsman, reported on the CREST/ASSAf study on scholarly journal and book publishing (2005 – 2014) which will result in a publication that will be launched later this year. Other points of discussion included follow up on the forum’s motivation for a national scholarly book fund and possible research into policies on open access book publishing in South Africa.

African Open Science Platform Project

A high-level Uganda Open Data/Open Science National Dialogue with government officials brought together data-intensive initiatives across all disciplines, to advance work towards an open data/open science policy for Uganda.

Two AOSP workshops were hosted by the DST, discussing the future AOSP. Although there was agreement that there is a need for an actual platform aligning policy, incentives, capacity building and infrastructure, it was felt that more work was still required.

The work done as part of the African Open Science Platform is aligned with the new SA Draft White Paper on Science, Technology and Innovation (STI), the African Union (AU) STI Strategy for Africa 2024, and work done globally, also as part of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC), a very important partner for AOSP.

During a meeting on 14 May 2018, National Research Education Networks (NRENs) indicated willingness to explore offering data-related services in addition to connectivity services.

ASSAf-hosted OJS Journals

Plans to introduce a Twitter page for the ASSAf OJS journals platform are underway. A memorandum of agreement has been drawn up and sent to the editors of the five other journals on the platform to formalise the hosting agreement between the journals and ASSAf.

Science Engagement

The Quest: Science for South Africa magazine is growing in popularity both as a tool in science engagement and outreach and as support material in the classroom.

The Gauteng Education Department has subscribed for 2018 for all curriculum leaders in the sciences; they are using the magazine to inform curricular activities and to examine possible contributions in the near future.

Altogether 11 340 magazines were distributed at various events across South Africa.

END

Scholarly Publishing Programme First Quarterly Report (Summary)

SCHOLARLY PUBLISHING PROGRAMME

FIRST QUARTER REPORT (1 April 2018 – 30 June 2018) SUMMARY

SUBMITTED TO THE DEPARTMENT OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

1. SciELO SA: National Platform for Open Access High-quality South African Scholarly Journals

1.1 Growth

Over the last quarter 2 titles have been added to the collection. There are now 74 titles: http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_alphabetic&lng=en&nrm=iso

1.2 Usage

The usage of the articles in the platform attests to the value the platform offers. Since its inception in 2009 the total number of views of South African open access research via SciELO SA has been more than 12.6 million. When comparing the 1st quarter of 2018 with the 1st quarter of 2017 there has been a 76% increase in the number of page views of South African articles via SciELO SA.

April to June 2017 April to June 2018

709 210 page views via SciELO SA

1 251 371 page views via SciELO

1.3 Best Practice

All SciELO SA journals assign digital object identifiers (DOIs) to articles to provide a persistent link to their location on the Internet. Most of the journals have been included in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). Those that are not, are in the process of applying.

2. Discipline-grouped Peer Review of South African Scholarly Journals

The Report on Grouped Peer Review of Scholarly Journals in Visual and Performing Arts was approved by the ASSAf Standing Committee on Scholarly Publishing in South Africa (CSPiSA) and Council and is currently in production.

The version 2 draft reports of the journals being evaluated in the Communications and Information Science discipline groupings were sent to the journal editors for comment and the reports are being revised with updated information.

3. Discipline-grouped Peer Review of South African scholarly Journals: New Panels

Reviews in the following three subject groups are currently being conducted: Education (17 journals); History, Philosophy and Politics (25 journals); and Maths and Science (22 journals).

All three panels have recommended names of potential reviewers. After being cleared for conflict of interest, three reviewers for each journal are appointed. Reviews of the journals are underway.

4. National Scholarly Editors Forum (NSEF)

The annual NSEF meeting is in planning and consideration is being given to having the official launch of the ASSAf Report: Twelve Years Later: Second ASSAf Report on Research Publishing in and from South Africa (2018) at this meeting with invitations being extended to other important stakeholders and not just journal editors.

The NSEF Code of Best Practice was revised and then approved by the CSPiSA and Council. The new Code of Best Practice in Scholarly Journal Publishing, Editing and Peer Review will be made available to journal editors and will be officially launched at the annual meeting.

5. Committee on Scholarly Publishing in South Africa (CSPiSA)

The Committee gave their feedback and approval of the Report on Grouped Peer Review of Scholarly Journals in Visual and Performing Arts and the revised NSEF Code of Best Practice.

The Committee met on 10 April 2018 to discuss the activities of the Scholarly Publishing Programme.

6. The ASSAf Research Repository (RR)

The ASSAf RR currently includes 77 ASSAf publications: http://research.assaf.org.za/
The following collections are included in the IR:
• ASSAf Consensus Study Reports
• ASSAf Workshop Proceedings and Other Reports
• ASSAf Policymakers’ Booklets
• Quest: Science for South Africa
The overall repository usage for 2018 up until the end of June 2018 was as follows:
Views: 110 930;  Downloads: 65 659

The relevant sustainable development goals (SDGs) descriptors will soon be added to each of the publications on the repository. This is useful as the keywords will be picked up by harvesters, and can be used to group together publications on a specific SDG.

Other investigations that are underway is the inclusion of altmetric and dimension data badges to the repository (which will provide article level metrics), and adding machine readable CC-licenses to individual publications.

7. African Open Science Platform (AOSP)

7.1 Development of Frameworks to Guide African Governments on the Implementation of Open Science

The development of the four frameworks to guide African countries to implement open science policy, make provision for an ICT and research infrastructure in support of data sharing and other activities in the data lifecycle, training all relevant people involved in the creation and management of research data (IT, researchers, librarians, research officials, funders, and more), as well as ways to incentivise researchers for sharing data, are receiving priority.

7.2 Strategic Direction for AOSP: Phase 2

A second phase for the platform will be announced during the upcoming SFSA meeting in December 2018. The project team has provided major input into the documentation for the proposed framework, as well a 2nd strategic meeting to be held during September 2018.

7.3 Making the African Voice Heard – Opportunities for Collaboration through Open Data

The 11th Research Data Alliance (RDA) Plenary brought together data scientists, experts and practitioners engaged in the advancement of data-driven science and economy from across the globe. The theme of the conference was From Data to Knowledge.

7.4 Libraries as Important Stakeholders in Data Management: AOSP Participation during Standing Conference of Eastern, Central and Southern Africa Library and Information Association (SCECSAL) XXIII, Entebbe, Uganda (23 – 28 April 2018)

ASSAf – through the AOSP project – contributed to raising awareness amongst librarians during the conference, hosted by the Uganda Library and Information Association.

7.5 National Dialogue on Open Science and Open Data, 25 – 27 April 2018, Kampala, Uganda

Uganda hosted a high-level Uganda Open Data/Open Science National Dialogue and associated meetings in April 2018. AOSP was a funder of the event which was coordinated together with the African Union of Conservationists, with great support from the Uganda National Council of Science and Technology (UNCST). The meeting was well attended by more than 60 people.

7.6 Technology Adaptation, Innovation and Research Capacity with the Focus on Botswana

AOSP had the opportunity to participate in the recent IST-Africa2018 conference. The message shared during the IST-Africa2018 conference in Botswana from 9 – 11 May 2018 was that researchers and government are committed to turn research into knowledge products, implementing policies to strengthen human resource development, towards sustainability and more people becoming entrepreneurs and creating jobs. The conference had high-level support from the Botswana government.

7.7 Reliable ICT Infrastructure a Condition for Research Data Sharing

All participants during the AOSP ICT Infrastructure meeting held on 14 May 2018 in Pretoria, South Africa were in agreement that a document guiding African countries in preparing ICT infrastructures in support of research data sharing, will be of benefit to all. The one day meeting brought together key stakeholders.

7.8 Brief feedback on the SA-EU Open Science Workshop, 15-16 May 2018, Pretoria, SA

The DST has – in partnership with the European Union (EU) – started a dialogue on an Open Science policy framework for the country. The first of the meetings took place in December 2016, followed by a workshop from 30 November to 01 December 2017. An expert task team was assigned and compiled an interim report following input from all relevant stakeholders, to further direct the process and the drafting of a framework, supported by the DST steering committee.

8. Quest – Science for South Africa

8.1 Science Engagement
With the advent of the DST Science Engagement Strategy, all promotions and popularisation events are expected to align and speak to outlined objectives and aims. Each entity of the DST is expected to have at least engaged with 80% of the ‘publics’ by the end of each year and outlined the budget in line with the recommendations of the strategy.

Against this background, Quest has sought to reach all publics in every event per term. Quest has partnered with event organisers to strategically plan events to reach 50 –60% of the public.

Quest participated in various Science festivals and events throughout the country.

9. South African Journal of Science and other ASSAf-hosted OJS Journals

The South African Journal of Science announced the launch of the Associate Editor Mentorship Programme in April 2018. The call for this one-year mentoring programme was open to early career researchers with a PhD who have a strong publication record but little or no editorial experience. The first Associate Editor mentees for the South African Journal of Science were appointed in May 2018. The successful candidates are Dr Maitumeleng Nthontho from the University of Pretoria (for Social Sciences & Education) and Prof Yali Woyessa from the Central University of Technology (for Earth & Environmental Sciences).

Altmetric – a programme which provides a score or article-level metric that indicates engagement via Facebook, Twitter, social bookmarking, blogs and general news coverage – was introduced for all journals on the OJS Journals platform in May 2018. To accompany the metric, social share buttons were activated for the other five journals to allow readers to be able to share the articles via social media.

The first User Group Meeting of the ASSAf OJS Journals was held on 4 – 5 June 2018 in Pretoria. The Editors and Journal Managers of the six journals on the platform comprise the User Group. The meeting included discussions on the future of the platform, a formal memorandum of agreement and business plan, as well as OJS technical training.

END

Identifying a Trusted Journal

Some criteria to use when deciding on whether a journal can be trusted, for purposes of funding, submitting an article, conducting research, serving on the editorial board/as a reviewer, and more.

1. First of all, we recommend using the correct platform for hosting and managing online open access journals. See Slides or Webinar Recording on Open Journal Systems open source software, as an example.

2. We recommend certain criteria the journal needs to adhere to. See Slides or Webinar Recording.

3. We encourage you to monitor the usage and impact of your journal. See Slides or Webinar Recording.

4. And we recommend high quality open access journals to apply for inclusion in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). See Slides or Webinar Recording.

Avoid being regarded as a questionable journal
1. All information on the journal web page should always be up to date.

2. Do not interrupt publication of issues/volumes, and publish on time. A balance should be maintained. Often questionable journals publish large quantities of articles, which is not realistic.

3. Grammar/language use on the journal web page should be correct. The smallest typo can cause doubt.

4. Transparency very important. Be clear in terms of page fees, and do not confuse prospective authors. Indicate the average number of pages an article should consist of, and what the article processing fees/page fees are.

5. You can add information about the journal impact, but that should not be used to “sell” the journal.

6. All research articles should be peer-reviewed by experts in the field.

7. Email, affiliations and country should be clearly indicated for all. Also for the authors.

8. All hyperlinks (linked data) should be active, and resolve correctly.

9. Appearance throughout the journal should be consistent.

10. Each journal is unique, and should therefore have unique policies, adapted for the journal.

11. Clearly indicate the copyright owner/s, and who owns the publishing rights of individual articles.

12. Clearly indicate which usage license applies to each article.

13. The editorial board should be compiled from seasoned researchers active in their fields of expertise.

14. Guard against the same authors submitting articles on a regular basis, as well as editors authoring articles within the journal all the time.

15. Revisit policies and make sure these are up to date and are still relevant.

16. The look and feel of the journal web page should be clean, easy to navigate, and not crowded. Graphics should be of good quality, and in general the page should have a professional feel to it.

ASSAf Scholarly Publishing Programme: March 2017 Communique

Dear Journal Editors

During this coming year, ASSAF SPU will – in addition to existing activities – more and more focus on Open Science/Open Data, as part of the African Open Science Platform (AOSP). We welcome scholarly journals to also start thinking about preserving and making data in support of research articles, available. Two of our team members will be presenting on AOSP, and as follows:

From 13 to 17 March 2017, ASSAf will be represented at a workshop presented by the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) (Barcelona, Spain). This workshop is fully funded by the IDRC, and it is an excellent opportunity to network with DOAJ Ambassadors from all over the world. We will give feedback in our next newsletter.

ASSAf has also been invited to present the case for Open Access scholarly publishing in the Global South, during the Sixth International PKP Scholarly Publishing Conference which will be held from August 2 – 4, 2017 in Montreal, Canada. We are honoured, and looking very much forward to display progress made in SA. Our attendance will be fully funded by the conference organisers.

Please complete the DOAJ Survey?

The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) has kindly asked that you please evaluate any support provided to you, with regards to DOAJ. Even if it was just in terms of receiving updates/news on DOAJ. This a kind request to please allow 3 minutes of your time, and quickly complete the online form at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/idrcproject_en

Many thanks colleagues! We appreciate it!

South African Journal of Science (SAJS)

The SAJS was re-accepted to the Directory of Open Access Journals in 2016. The journal also received the DOAJ Seal, this seal is a mark of certification for open access journals, awarded by DOAJ to journals that achieve a high level of openness, adhere to Best Practice and high publishing standards. Visit the SAJS page on DOAJ here: https://doaj.org/toc/1996-7489

The SAJS article; Earliest hominin cancer: 1.7-million-year-old osteosarcoma from Swartkrans Cave, South Africa was included in the 2016 Almetric Top 100 list. This list comprises of the most-discussed journal articles of 2016 (according to their Altmetric score). This article is the only article to be included from South Africa. See the Altmetric.com page for this article here: https://doi.org/10.17159/sajs.2016/20150471 

Capacity Building in Scholarly Publishing

For sustainability, we all need to make sure that we have some contingency planning in place as far as our journals are concerned. One way is to continue to get new people involved in managing, reviewing and editing. The PKP School offers some excellent tutorials with helpful links, which is openly accessible for all to benefit from – maybe for young researchers or postgraduates with an interest in getting involved, who can be mentored? Also helpful if you have been newly appointed in a position.

National Scholarly Book Publishers’ Forum

The NSBPF have devised a document on Best Practice for Peer Review of Scholarly Books which provides guidelines for scholarly publishers.

Peer-review of scholarly journals

Reviews have been completed of journals in the Humanities II: Visual and Performing Arts group, Communications and Information Science group, and Engineering and Architecture group. The three panels will meet shortly to discuss the journal reviews and to finalise their consensus decisions.

Unfortunately we have had to put a hold on setting up the Peer Review Panels for the following discipline groups: Education; Maths and Science; Politics, History and Philosophy. For inquiries, please contact: desre@assaf.org.za

SciELO SA

In line with the guidelines provided by the SciELO Network:

  • all the articles in the SciELO SA collection now have Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs); and
  • all the journals have adopted Creative Commons (CC-BY) licences.

The bi-annual assessment of the SciELO SA collection by the SciELO Network will take place mid-March. The purpose of the assessment is to check that the collection adheres to all their stringent criteria, including checking whether all the journals are current / publishing according to the publication frequency they indicate on their web pages.

Some journals that have struggled with their currency have moved from full-issue publishing to rolling pass / pre-print publishing, i.e. publishing articles online when ready for publication.

Two SciELO SA Winners in ScienceOpen competition!

Congratulations to the two South African winners in the ScienceOpen competition, which now qualifies for promotional pages and more on the ScienceOpen web page! Once the pages have been created, we will share with you. The two journals are:

It is great that we often get to share and showcase South African (incl. African) research output with the rest of the world, contributing to the global knowledgebase.

Monitoring the usage and impact of your journal

Editors are usually interested in some usage statistics in order to report to the Editorial Board, and also to the Society or other funding agency. In the case of subscription journals, it is worthwhile to follow up with the publisher on how many libraries/individuals have access to the journal. When budgets are cut, it will automatically also impact on the number of users (in the case of subscription journals).

In an OA environment, a variety of tools are available to monitor usage and impact. See for example how some of our journals monitor usage and impact. The category for Indexing/Listing for each, also contains links to the SciELO statistics. All SciELO SA journals at http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_alphabetic&lng=en&nrm=iso have a set of SciELO generated statistics. For inquiries, please contact louise@assaf.org.za

Since all SciELO SA journals are also indexed by ScienceOpen, as part of the agreement between SciELO Brazil and ScienceOpen, editors and more can now also track alternative metrics for individual articles. To search for a specific journal, click here. Please see a list of South African journals available through ScienceOpen, for which alternative metrics are generated. An example of what the metrics look like on article level (see the table at the top):

DOAJ also recently entered into an agreement with ScienceOpen, strengthening support for Open Access even further. Through collaborating we can achieve so much more in increasing the visibility of all research output. Read here.

Keeping your online journal safe

The publishing environment is a competitive environment, and it is crucial for us all to keep our digital identities, our research, and our journals, safe. We can do that by properly managing it. A few tips we would like to share with you (you are also most welcome to share with us, if you know of any):

  1. Make sure that connections to your journal web page is always encrypted. Register a security certificate with a trusted Internet service provider, and renew the security certificate annually. You will know that your journal web page is encrypted if you can add a https: to the URL, and it still resolves. Journals on the ASSAf Open Journal Systems server is for example encrypted. When accessing the page, type in https://journals.assaf.org.za/ Encryption is especially important when users are required to login with a username and password, to perform certain actions on the system.
  2. Confirm with your IT division that all is backed up to a server. Usually a back-up is made on the site, and then one or two additional back-ups are made to an unknown site/s.
  3. Have a digital preservation policy in place. All SciELO SA (incl. ASSAf OJS) journals are digitally preserved via Portico, in a dark archive. This means the content cannot be accessed via the Internet. Portico servers are spread over different continents, should disaster strike one of the continents.
  4. Assign Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) to individual articles, and ORCIDs to individual researchers. This to verify that the articles are published in a trusted way, and that the individuals associated with the journal are real.
  5. Know who the users of the journal are, inspect the names registered on the journal system, and remove/block suspicious names.
  6. Only allow the submission of MSWord or PDF files or known file formats (e.g. OpenOffice) in the case of an article. If the file submitted looks suspicious, please verify with your IT or check it against an up-to-date anti-virus programme, before opening it.
  7. Regularly search your own name (incl. photos), but also the name of the journal, on the web. Confirm that it is used in the context intended to be used. Also on social media.
  8. Move your mouse over any link, and see what displays in the area above the browser task bar. Especially in the case of linked text. See for example when one moves the mouse cursor over the following, the web address or URL or email address that displays. Confirm that it looks correct and that it can be trusted.

The following displays in the area above the browser task bar when hovering the mouse over the linked text for ASSAf, which is correct and a trusted ASSAf email address:

  1. Learn to read and interpret hyperlinks/web addresses/URLs. See How do I know if I can trust a website?
  2. Depending on which browser you use to access the Internet, you can increase the security (e.g. Chrome, Firefox). The same applies to your operating system (e.g. Linux, Windows, Apple).
  3. Do not share usernames and passwords, use unique usernames and passwords, and regularly change it. See Creating a strong password.
  4. And many more ….

If you suspect suspicious behavior, please keep record of all, don’t open anything, make screen captures, and report it – either to your IT, or Google, or other relevant owner/authority.

Thank you for attending the information sessions on OJS!

Thank you to all who managed to attend the PKP Open Journal Systems information sessions, hosted by ASSAf during February! We are looking forward to more opportunities to engage with you on various aspects of quality Open Access scholarly journal publishing.

Kind regards
Susan