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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.


Scholarly Publishing Programme Second Quarterly Report (Summary)



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.

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:

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

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.


Scholarly Publishing Programme First Quarterly Report (Summary)


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


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:

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:
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.


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

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:

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 page for this article here: 

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:


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 have a set of SciELO generated statistics. For inquiries, please contact

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 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

ASSAf Scholarly Publishing Programme: January 2017 Communique

Dear Colleagues

On behalf of the ASSAf Scholarly Publishing Team, I would like to wish you all the best for the year. We are looking forward working and learning along with you, in taking high quality Open Access scholarly publishing (incl. scholarly communication) forward, contributing to our research output having a bigger impact on the world of science. We expect another full year, but are always ready to assist where needed. If you need to get in touch, please do not hesitate to do so. Please scroll down for a reminder of who we are, and what we do.

Newly Appointed Editors
A warm welcome to all the newly appointed scholarly journal editors! Please feel free to introduce yourselves, and get in touch with us. We would also like to keep our database with contact information up to date. A kind request therefore to please forward any changes in editors for our information. Thank you very much for assisting with this task.

DHET Accredited Lists
These lists are issued by the DHET, and will also be sent to the research offices at institutions. Once we have more information, we will certainly share from our side also. Contact person at DHET: Walter Ntuli

Following just a brief summary of our highlights from the last quarter of 2016.

Our SciELO SA collection consisting of 65 Open Access journal titles, has grown in usage – from 1 331 849 site visits on 31 December 2015 to 1 711 094 site visits on 31 December 2016. This collection – which has been accessed more than 5.5 million times – received a positive evaluation during 2016 and remains to be accredited.

National Scholarly Book Publishers’ Forum
A National Scholarly Book Publishers’ Forum meeting was held on 6 December 2016, during which Open Monograph Press as a monograph publishing system was introduced to publishers, among others.

Peer-review of scholarly journals
Reviews have been completed of journals in the Humanities II: Visual and Performing Arts group (10 journals), Communications, Information Science and Knowledge Systems group (14 journals), and Engineering and Architecture group (15 journals). The reports are currently being finalized.

National Site License
A business case for a National Site License for higher education institutions and research councils to have equal access to a core set of research databases was approved by the Executive Committee of the Department of Science and Technology. The business case will now be advanced to the Minister for final approval and recommendation to the Department of Higher Education and Training.

International Open Access Week 24 – 28 October 2016
• A blog article was authored and published on the SPARC Blog: Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) influencing the direction of open science in SA
• A paper was presented to the SA National School of Government (27 October 2016): Your research matters: increasing visibility, usage and impact
• A paper was presented during the North West University Open Access Day on 28 October 2016: Your research matters: increasing visibility, usage and impact
• ASSAf was represented at the International Council for Scientific and Technical Information (ICSTI) meeting on 12 December 2016, Lagoon Beach Hotel, Milnerton, Cape Town. Important networks were established and ASSAf SPU is looking forward to future initiatives in collaboration with ICSTI member countries.
• The ASSAf Research and Publication Repository was launched in support of International Open Access Week. The repository can be access at . During the pilot period 5 items were uploaded to the repository, which were well received by the media and scholarly community.

Open Science Initiatives
The African Open Science Platform initiative that seeks to put into practice the principles and enabling practices for Open Data and Open Science was launched during SFSA 2016.
The Platform will play a critical role to assist African countries in developing the necessary capacities to manage and exploit scientific data for the benefit of society
ASSAf and CODATA organised a side-event workshop and a parallel session at Science Forum South Africa. The programmes for these events are linked below.
• African Open Science Platform Side Event: a forum for conversations on data policy, data training and data infrastructure, 6 December 2016
• African Open Science Platform Side Event: Conversations around Openness in African Research, Open Access, Open Data, Open Science, 7 December 2016
Other events in which ASSAf SPU participated in preparation for the initiative include:
• International Conference on Research Infrastructure (ICRI) & Pre-ICRI, 2-4 Oct 2016
• International Research Conference on Scientometrics, STI Policy and Science Communication, 31 October – 3 November 2016
A webinar on the African Open Science Platform was presented to the Network of Data & Information Curation Communities (NeDICC) on 19 October 2016.
A survey was created to share with the data community, in an effort to collect data about data initiatives and activities on the African continent.

SA Open Science Policy Workshop
A workshop intended to prepare recommendations towards the preparation of a White Paper on Open Research in South Africa, was hosted in collaboration with the Department of Science and Technology. The workshop was facilitated by Dr Cameron Neylon, and well attended by policymakers and key stakeholders from SA research institutions. The report is in the process of being compiled.
• Open Research South Africa: high-level stakeholder meeting on Open Research, 12 December 2016
• An opinion piece was written by Eve Gray on behalf of ASSAf and appeared in the Mail and Guardian (December 9th, 2016), Open access, open data, open science

Evaluation of African Institutional Repositories
ASSAf has partnered with the Association of African Universities (AAU) to compile an evaluation instrument for the evaluation of African institutional repositories, aligned with instruments used globally, but adapted for an African context. Once approved, the repositories will be included for harvesting through DATAD-R (Database of African Theses and Dissertations, incl. Research), which is a DSpace OAI-PMH compliant harvester, used to harvest quality metadata from African institutional repositories, containing theses and dissertations, as well as peer-reviewed research articles.

Open Journal Initiatives
In addition to SciELO SA, ASSAf SPU continues to assist 5 SciELO SA journals to be managed and published online, using Open Journal Systems open source software. The journals have been managed on this platform for 12 months now, and the platform remains to be stable, trusted and financially sustainable. Although there is a huge need among other scholarly journals to be supported in a similar way, ASSAf does not have the human or financial resources to do so.
ASSAf continued to provide training and support where needed:
• Training provided to editorial members of Tydskrif vir Letterkunde, 5 October 2016, University of Pretoria.
• OJS Workshop to editors from the University of the Free State, 18 – 19 October 2016, University of the Free State.
• 9 Webinars were presented on best practice scholarly journal publishing during November 2016. This was a collaborative effort between DOAJ and ASSAf.
• As a DOAJ Ambassador, ASSAf continues to assist with the rigorous evaluation involved in Open Access journal publishing, evaluating Open Access journals for possible inclusion in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ).
• ASSAf participated together with DOAJ in a webinar which was hosted by the Open Access Scholarly Publishing Association (OASPA). The webinar was used to share experiences regarding publishing practices and challenges in the global South.
• ASSAf SPU continues to send out frequent Communiques to the National Scholarly Editors Forum via its mailing list, and also shares information via the ASSAf SPU Blog.
• The ASSAf SPU wiki is maintained and serves as a valuable tool for reference by scholarly publishers worldwide.

During the LIASA Conference 8-14 Oct 2016, Ina Smith was awarded LIASA Librarian of the Year 2016.

This all from us for now. We will remain in touch, and continue to communicate important information via our web, blog and wiki.

Kind regards

OJS Journal Hosting Solution (PKP Publishing Services)

In addition to Scholar One (by Thomson Reuters), OJS (non-profit open source software) also offers a journal hosting service through the creator of the software, PKP Publishing Services, should you want to explore hosting with them. See

For an annual fee PKP offers the following (basic package $ 850.00 or R 12 179.00 per annum):

  • install OJS on their servers
  • get you started with initial setup and training support
  • provide daily backups (seven days incremental, other regimens available for an additional fee)
  • upgrade the software
  • ensure that your content is highly visible on the web.

Alternatively, OJS software can be downloaded on an institutional server, or hosted on a server in the cloud (e.g. the ASSAf OJS Journals).