Author Archives: bibboek

ASSAf Open Access Week 2019 Diary – “Open for Whom? Equity in Open Knowledge” 21 – 25 October 2019

The following selected activities will run throughout the week:

Webinar for Scholarly Journal Editors:
An SA Journal’s Move to Open Access
In 2018 the South African Journal of Business Management, an ISI listed journal, moved to an Open Access environment. The managing editor will describe the motivation behind it, the process they followed and the responses they’ve had during this journey.
Presenter: Dr Lara Skelly, Research Manager and Head: PhD Business Management and Administration, University of Stellenbosch Business School


Webinar for Scholarly Book Publishers:
The Future of Open Access Books and Springer Open Access Portfolio
In this webinar, you will be introduced to the open access books programme and portfolio at Springer Nature. Findings from the recent global survey of more than 2,500 academic book authors on attitudes towards, and awareness of, open access will also be presented (see ‘The Future of Open Access Books’ white paper).
Presenter: Ms Christina Emery, Marketing Manager: Palgrave Macmillan / Springer Open Access Books programmes at Springer Nature, London


24 October 2019
ASSAf Presidential Roundtable: Science, Scholarship and Society on:
‘Is Scholarly Publishing becoming Unaffordable?’ An Evidence-based Dialogue on the Implications of a European Plan S on South African Research
Launched in 2018, Plan S is an initiative by Science Europe for Open Access publishing. The initiative that promotes making full and immediate Open Access a reality, has received much criticism of its implementation guidelines.  There is concern about the transition to this model amongst both commercial publishers and a range of learned society journal publishers. How should South African institutions address the implications of Plan S? What exactly will the potential impact be on researchers and institutional budgets? Will Plan S not just be replacing the barrier to read with a barrier to authorship? Through its panellists, the Roundtable will be one of many efforts to understand this contentious subject and the related issues.
Moderator: Prof Jonathan Jansen, Distinguished Professor of Education, Stellenbosch University & President of the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf)

Webinar for Scholarly Book Publishers:
Getting the Best out of Data for Open Access Monograph Presses
This webinar will discuss the importance of ensuring that open access scholarly books are visible and easily discoverable on the net and outline steps that can be taken by publishers to maximise visibility. The presenter will also briefly explore the challenges of collecting data about how, where and why open access books are used and provide examples of community-led efforts to support publishers in making the most of data associated with digital books.
Presenter: Mr Alkim Ozaygen, Research Associate: School of Media, Creative Arts and Social Inquiry, Faculty of Humanities, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia



ASSAf acknowledges the important contribution of the independent peer reviewers who reviewed scholarly South African journals over the period from 2017 to 2018.

ProfAina Lenrie Olatokunbo
DrBreedChristina (Ida)
MsBurger Marlene
ProfDe VaalPhilip
ProfDu PlessisChrisna
DrDu PlooyRaelize
ProfJeppie Shamil
DrJongbloed Enrique Uribe
MrKing George
ProfKnott Cheryl
DrKoutas Lampros
ProfKriel Lize
DrLawrence Frank
ProfLe RouxHannah
ProfLe Roux Annette
ProfMbohwa Charles
DrNel                              Hannelie
ProfO’ ConnorCyril
ProfOverton de KlerkNina
ProfPretorius Deirdre
ProfRawatlal Randhir
DrSomma Donato
DrTonsing Gertrud
ProfVan BelleJean-paul
ProfVan der WaldtDe la Rey
DrVan der Walt Martin
ProfVan GraanAndre
ProfVan RobbroeckLize
DrVan Schoor Chris
ProfVan Wyk Ben 
MrVerhaeghe Benoit 
ProfVon SolmsBasie
DrWindapoAbimbola Olukemi

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. 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: 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:

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.

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:

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.


7.1 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.