An Open Science webinar from LIBSENSE & PublicHealth.Africa 

Building capacity for open access publishing in public health:
An Open Science webinar from LIBSENSE & PublicHealth.Africa was held whose purpose, was to present and discuss the results of a study of open access parameters in African public health journals, share good practices and discuss an education programme to facilitate open publishing in Africa.

Participants: Participants in the LIBSENSE – PublicHealth.Africa research project and wider members of the collaboration; African journal editors; librarians, World Association of Medical Editors; other interested people and organisations.

Organising group: Omo Oaiya (WACREN), Iryna Kuchma (EIFL), Dominc Dankwah (UHAS), Khalif Bile (SHAJ), Nominee WAME, Modibo Sangre (UMali), Dick Heller.

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Open Access publication of Public Health research in African journals

Associated with a relative lack of research capacity in the Global South is lack of research with local relevance to populations in the South. This is compounded by difficulty in publishing high quality research in an open access format so that it is readily available and the results can be applied where they are needed. Recent data indicate that Open Access papers have drastically fewer lead authors from low-income regions and that Article Processing Charges are a barrier to Open Access publication for scientists from the Global South.

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Current research project by PublicHealth.Africa & Libsense

PublicHealth.Africa, in association with LIBSENSE, has thus embarked on a series of studies to explore research journals published in Africa that might be expected to publish articles on public health. The first study in this series is to identify these journals and their characteristics according to various categories of Open Access.

A team of investigators have examined journals published in a number of African countries. So far, in early analysis, 97 journals were examined from individual countries. 22 of these were published by universities and 61 by learned societies in those countries. 64 were published twice a year or annually. Although 77 of the journals were open access and available for free download, only 25 used a Creative Commons licence and only 16 were indexed in PubMed.

Initial research from PublicHealth.Africa

A survey of some African public health graduates found that more than a half of the respondents reported barriers to research and writing. Participants were asked if they would like to publish their research as open access, and more than 70% said yes, if the journal waived or did not levy publication fees, but only a half said yes if their institution had to pay and only a quarter if they had to pay the fees themselves.