Scholarly Publishing Programme

The Scholarly Publishing Programme (SPP) is regarded as a major intervention within the National System of Innovation (NSI) in South Africa. The strategic goal of the SPP is to enhance the national capacity to produce and publish research, on the one hand, and to increase the quality and visibility of South African research publications, on the other. The SPP is overseen by the Academy’s Standing Committee on Scholarly Publishing in South Africa (CSPiSA), chaired by Prof Keyan Tomaselli.

After publication of the 2006 Academy report on A Strategic Approach to Research Publishing in South Africa, the Scholarly Publishing Unit (SPU) was established within ASSAf to implement the ten recommendations contained in the report. Multi-year funding was received from the DST to undertake this task. The main thrusts were to:

  • promote/enhance the standing and effectiveness of South Africa’s research journals, nationally and internationally;
  • improve the productivity/efficacy of publication through different modalities (e.g. electronic publication);
  • establish the South African Journal of Science (SAJS) as a “national asset” of high quality; and
  • ensure that discoveries and insights gained through research published in South African journals were made known to a wider public than the research community itself.

Summary: Strategic Approach to Research Publishing in South Africa: Recommendations at a Glance 

ASSAf is a signatory/supports the following:

Quest: Science for South Africa

Quest Science magazine is a full-colour, quarterly, popular science magazine aimed specifically at the youth and the general public who have an interest in the sciences. It aims to present the country’s (South Africa’s) foremost scientific work in an accessible form and can be used to support curricula work at various levels and institutions. Quest is distributed to public high schools with science departments, universities, libraries, science centres, government departments, parliamentary committees, embassies, NGOs, TVETs and resource centres. Quest is also available at selected national science events, science Olympiads, DST events and Focus weeks and at various communal functions. Quest is published on a quarterly basis, and each issue has a theme, which is generally decided six months in advance. Quest: Science for South Africa is managed, hosted and published as an open access (free) magazine, by ASSAf.

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The Scientific Electronic Library Online (SciELO) SA is South Africa’s premier open-access (free to access and free to publish) searchable full-text journal database in service of the South African research community. The database covers a selected collection of peer-reviewed South African scholarly journals and forms an integral part of the SciELO Network project. SciELO SA is managed by the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), funded by the South African Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) and endorsed by the South African Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET).

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Committee on Scholarly Publishing in South Africa – CSPiSA

The Committee shall focus on scholarly publishing in all its forms, as well as related matters that concern access to copyrighted materials, quality assurance of scholarly output, questionable publishing practices, peer review, open science and open access publishing models, and standards in and from South Africa. The Committee should take a broad view of its role in commenting on the rapidly developing landscape of scholarly publishing and should provide advice on the way in which government, universities, and institutions should address the challenges of evolving publishing cost models. CSPiSA Terms of Reference CSPiSA Members Phillip De Jager Phillip de Jager works at the Department of Finance and Tax, University of Cape Town. Phillip does research in Accounting Scholarship, Financial Economics and Monetary Economics and is a National Research Foundation rated scientist (C2).  Gideon Els Gideon Els have been a lecturer for more than 21 years and au fait with issues of research of publication. He is the editor of two DHET accredited academic journals and have published 12 academic articles. He reviewed 10 academic journals and is the editorial board member of one. Over the years he has successfully supervised 43 Master’s students and 7 Doctoral students. Having been

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International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development

The International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development 2022/23 celebrates the importance of the basic sciences for advances in medicine, industry, agriculture, water resources, energy planning, environment, communications and culture, and how basic sciences rupture technologies to respond to the needs of humankind by providing access to information and increasing societal well-being, and promoting peace through improved collaboration toward Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). ASSAf coordinates IYBSSD SA on behalf of the DSI and NRF. Read more

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South African Journal of Science (SAJS)

The South African Journal of Science – established in 1903 – is now an electronic-only, open-access, multidisciplinary journal published bimonthly by the Academy of Science of South Africa. Its objective is to promote the visibility and impact of South African and African research by publishing high-quality original research from Africa or on African-relevant issues that will be of interest to readers in any discipline and be for the benefit of scholars, educators, the general public and policymakers. The Journal also provides a forum for discussion of news and developments in research and higher education through non-reviewed content such as commentaries, perspectives and news articles. Peer-reviewed articles comprise reviews, research articles and research letters. A team of Associate Editors and Associate Editor Mentees, led by the Editor-in-Chief, is responsible for the editorial content covering the following fields: Agriculture & Forestry; Archaeology, Anthropology & Palaeontology; Cell, Molecular & Health Sciences; Chemistry; Earth & Environmental Sciences; Engineering- & Technology; Organismal Biology; Physics, Mathematics & Astronomy; Social Sciences & Education; and Social Sciences & Humanities. A full-time Managing Editor and Online Publishing Systems Administrator provide editorial support and are responsible for publishing the Journal. To read, submit, or for more information or contact Nadia

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African Scientists Directory

The African Scientists Directory – collaboratively developed by the International Science Council (ISC) Regional Office for Africa (ROA) and the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) during 2020, with funding made available by the South African Department of Science and Innovation – seeks to provide relevant information on African experts in the natural and social sciences, humanities, engineering and mathematics. Since April 2021 the maintenance and management of the directory became the responsibility of the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), following the closing of the International Science Council (ISC) Regional Office for Africa (ROA) offices. This directory aims to: (i) facilitate the free flow of scientists and scientific knowledge across the borders; and promote the participation of African scientists in activities of the global scientific community; (ii) ensure efficient information transfer from the global scientific community to the scientific community in Africa; and the collection and dissemination of any valuable scientific information for Africa; and (iii) promote and facilitate the formation of scientific societies and academies within the continent as well as sub-regional partnerships on the continent. The directory also promotes and facilitates capacity building in Africa, including support for post-graduate training programmes for early-career scientists. The directory this far contains more than 1,800 scientist profiles, all verified and evaluated

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ASSAf Research Repository

The ASSAf Research Repository is an institutional platform, providing open access to all research products by ASSAf, thereby increasing its usage, visibility and impact. At the same time it serves as a digital archive for the digital preservation of all ASSAf knowledge products since 2015, into the unforeseeable future.   This repository contains both peer-reviewed and non-peer reviewed publications and event outputs by ASSAf and its members (e.g. ASSAf Consensus Study Reports, ASSAf Workshop Proceedings and Other Reports, ASSAf Policymakers’ Booklets, Quest: Science for South Africa, ASSAf Statements, webinar recordings, etc.) Access the ASSAf Research Repository here.

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African Open Science Platform

Open Science (incl. Open Data) – according to Foster – “is the practice of science in such a way that others can collaborate and contribute, where research data, lab notes and other research processes are freely available, under terms that enable reuse, redistribution and reproduction of the research and its underlying data and methods.”

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Khulisa Journals

Khulisa Journals is a federated journal management platform, using the Public Knowledge Project (PKP) Open Journal Systems (OJS) open source software. “Khulisa” is a word in the Nguni languages that are indigenous to southern and eastern Africa. It means “to grow or foster the development of a person or community”. This is exactly what we would like to achieve through this platform, namely to grow the peer-reviewed open access scholarly journals in South Africa through the Khulisa Journals community.

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