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.
7.1 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.