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WHY SciELO? A STRATEGIC APPROACH TO RESEARCH PUBLISHING IN SOUTH AFRICA 14 May 2009 Susan Veldsman Director: Scholarly Publishing Unit.

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Presentation on theme: "WHY SciELO? A STRATEGIC APPROACH TO RESEARCH PUBLISHING IN SOUTH AFRICA 14 May 2009 Susan Veldsman Director: Scholarly Publishing Unit."— Presentation transcript:

1 WHY SciELO? A STRATEGIC APPROACH TO RESEARCH PUBLISHING IN SOUTH AFRICA 14 May 2009 Susan Veldsman Director: Scholarly Publishing Unit

2 Impetus to strategic report During 2001 the most ambitious project of DoE to restructure and reform HE in SA. Change in a number of things: –Closure of the Bureau for Scientific Publications, Termination of state subsidy of flagship journals –Modified funding of outputs of tertiary institutions :ISI-, IBSS-listed, plus accredited SA journals (DoE list)

3 Two questions surfaced? Is it appropriate for the state to support publication of learned jnls to foster intellectual exchange? Do all articles, published in jnls recognized for the output subsidy of universities, deserve recognition, in view of wide variation in quality of the material produced?

4 ASSAf commissioned for study 2001 the then Dept of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology (now Depts of Science and Technology) commissioned ASSAf to address the two questions and to make recommendations for policy development in future

5 Summarised findings no 1 The confirmation that the formal research publishing system (backbone of cumulative, global progress in scholarship and knowledge) will continue to depend critically on the integrity and functionality of the core mechanism –editorial discretion : –peer review: –appropriate citation even if necessary and appropriate adaptations are made in the electronic age

6 Summarised findings no 2 Research publishing in South Africa is undertaken in good faith and with much personal effort and commitment by editors and their editorial boards, but is very fragile in that: infrequent, often irregular publication of thin issues is generally used to deal with a low supply of good papers a majority of the journals play only a tiny role in the world research publishing system, as judged by citation in the most extensive, multi-disciplinary, indexed database available; the mixed bag of quality and reputation in the DoEs local accreditation list means the whole group is tainted in the eyes of key stakeholders.

7 Summarised findings no 3, 4 The evolving electronic age comes with highly significant paradigm shifts and new opportunities and risks with which an intermediate country like South Africa must vigorously engage A multi-pronged approach is absolutely essential, embedded in international trends and efforts particularly to assist developing countries like ours

8 Recommendations – 2006 ASSAf Report Strong indigenous journal system essential Code of best practice in editing and peer review needed Cyclical peer review of journals by ASSAf panels Accreditation by govt. by peer review system

9 Recommendations (continued) National platform for open access through free-online journals and institutional repositories – govt. backing, mechanisms Information system to be set up, plus citation indexing Translation of scholarly content to public benefit – esp. education International : efforts to promote public sector, level-playing field, freely accessible indexing system

10 Mechanisms in place for follow through of recommendations Presentations to Ministers of Education and Science/Technology, etc; HESA; NACI; SARIMA Funding sought for implementation project – granted 2008-2011(contract) ASSAfs Committee on Scholarly Publishing in SA constituted – project oversight ASSAfs Scholarly Publishing Unit established – Director and project staff National Scholarly Editors Forum established : terms of reference : national code of best practice in editing and peer review adopted and published

11 Mechanisms (continue) Grouped broad discipline peer review panels being set up – criteria and processes agreed - Social Sciences & Agriculture, Religion & related fields and Medical journals Consensus Study of scholarly publishing in books completed – draft report ready- June 2009 Possible online scientific writing course system under investigation Creation of national platform for open access publishing of high-quality S A journalsSciELO SA

12 many developing countries have successfully developed their research infrastructures in different dimensions such as, human and financial resources, formulation, review and development of research projects, publication of their results, preferably in journals of the called main stream however, they face difficulties and barriers to publish quality journals when compared with the developed countries as evidenced by the relationship between the proportion of articles published in the WoS and JCR titles SciELO : fundamentals and goals

13 Advantages of SciELO SA SciELO is a fully cross indexed platform, which forms part of a developing country "ISI" system Usage, downloads, visits can be monitored daily by the editor, author and users on the system! SciELO Brazil is in discussion with the "proper" ISI for the inclusion of SciELO journals in their database and citation analysis system Journals on the platform for inclusion will be stringently selected by Review Panels -- to ensure quality SA Scholarly journals

14 Advantages(cont) Publishing on this platform is free as it is funded by the Dept of Science and Technology Could be linked with institutional per-article co-payments possibly linked to the DoE research output subsidy system possible partial subsidization by DST of the print versions (if they are of high quality, post peer reviewed) AND is unable to tolerate possible loss in income being part of a possible new DoE accreditation system linked to ASSAf's SPP activities

15 JCR Impact Factor of SciELO Journals indexed in JCR and SciELO from 1998 to 2006



18 Pilot project Identify 4 journals to be published on platform Must be accredited, and ISI or IBSS listed Brazil will mark up and index data Two years coverage To serve as a demonstrator To gain experience Evaluate and research impact of OA on print

19 South African platform Setting up own server Appoint personnel Train to do own mark up and indexing Add deeper files Add more content (peer review panels) Refine selection criteria and systems for quality journals inclusion

20 Impact of local scholarly platform Discipline-grouped peer review by ASSAf Panels – cycles – recommendations for govt. accreditation; subsidised free online open access; optimum editorial models; functional categorisation Platform mechanism(s) for online journal editing/reviewing/publishing; copyright arrangements; economies of scale production processes; facilitation of print production/distribution; information capture, including citation indexing Ongoing improvement through national scholarly editors forum, oversight by ASSAf Committee; policy development, etc

21 Conclusion The ASSAf Scholarly Publishing Programme is a concerted intervention into the countrys national system of Innovation (NSI), which focuses on the enhancement of the quality, quantity and worldwide visibility of original, peer-reviewed publications produced by researchers in the public sector, and the fostering of a new generation of highly competent and productive scientists and scholars


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