EIFL, AJOL (African Journals Online) and WACREN (the West and Central African Research and Education Network), with support from Wellcome, are launching a three-year project that will strengthen the quality and sustainability of diamond open access (OA) publishing services across Africa while maintaining their diversity.
The ‘Collaboration for sustainable open access publishing in Africa’ project is timely. Diamond OA, a scholarly publication model in which journals and platforms do not charge fees to either authors or readers, is on the rise in Africa. It is being discussed by institutional and national open science policy makers seeking to align their policies with the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science.
The project will identify challenges for diamond OA publishing in Africa through community consultation and a landscape study, and issue two open calls for proposals for funding to strengthen the quality of diamond OA publishing services across the region. The first call for proposals will be issued in 2024. The funding process will be participatory, with input and advice from the African diamond OA community.
Sustainable funding commitments
The project will also seek to strengthen national and regional collaboration on diamond OA and secure sustainable funding commitments from African governments and institutions by embedding diamond OA support in open science policies.
“We are delighted to be part of this project and to work more closely with EIFL and WACREN towards open science in Africa. AJOL provides a Pan African online hosting platform, technical services and best practice advice to over 700 journals from 39 countries in Africa, including over 100 diamond open access journals, and we receive several new applications for assessment each week. This project will strengthen AJOL’s capacity to provide services to increasing numbers of partner diamond journals and enhance their quality standards. It will allow us to research and share proven and relevant strategies for flipping APC-based journals to diamond open access,” said AJOL CEO, Susan Murray.
“We have been advocating and supporting open access and open science in developing and transition economy countries for 20 years, building capacity, developing policies and enhancing open infrastructures for repositories and journals. I would like to thank Wellcome for the opportunity for us to advance diamond OA publishing in Africa,” said EIFL Director, Rima Kupryte.
“WACREN, through its LIBSENSE initiative, has actively promoted open science across multiple African countries, focusing on infrastructure, policy development, and open science practices. Embracing the chance to consolidate our endeavours, we are eager to join coordinated efforts and cultivate collaborative partnerships at national and regional levels in diamond OA,” said Boubakar Barry, CEO, WACREN.
“As long-term advocates of open access, we are pleased to extend our support beyond European and North American scholarly publishing. Through a participatory funding approach, this project seeks to strengthen the existing diverse Diamond OA publishing ecosystem across Africa,” said Hannah Hope, Open Research Lead, Wellcome.