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Seeking Impact and Visibility

Scholarly Communication in Southern Africa

Henry Trotter, Catherine Kell

Publication Year: 2014

African scholarly research is relatively invisible globally because even though research production on the continent is growing in absolute terms, it is falling in comparative terms. In addition, traditional metrics of visibility, such as the Impact Factor, fail to make legible all African scholarly production. Many African universities also do not take a strategic approach to scholarly communication to broaden the reach of their scholarsí work. To address this challenge, the Scholarly Communication in Africa Programme (SCAP) was established to help raise the visibility of African scholarship by mapping current research and communication practices in Southern African universities and by recommending and piloting technical and administrative innovations based on open access dissemination principles. To do this, SCAP conducted extensive research in four faculties at the Universities of Botswana, Cape Town, Mauritius and Namibia.

Published by: African Books Collective

Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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pp. iii-vi

Tables and figures

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pp. vii-

Abbreviations

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pp. viii-x

Project group

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pp. xi-xii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xiii-xiv

Grateful acknowledgements are due to the vice chancellors, senior management, academic communities and support staff at the Universities of Botswana, Cape Town, Mauritius and Namibia. The programme was privileged to receive access to many sectors of institutional life and governance in each of the research sites. ...

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Executive summary

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pp. 1-8

While research production on the continent is growing in absolute terms, it is falling in comparative terms (especially as other Southern countries such as China ramp up research production), reducing its relative visibility. ...

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1. Programme overview

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pp. 9-18

The Scholarly Communication in Africa Programme (SCAP) was established to help raise the visibility of African scholarship by mapping current research and communication practices in four Southern African universities and by recommending and piloting technical and administrative innovations at these sites based on open access dissemination principles. ...

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2. Project components and methodology

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pp. 19-36

The SCAP programme arose from an 18-month scoping process that took place in 2008/2009 under the direction of Eve Gray, an African scholarly communications and open access expert (Gray 2006, 2010; Gray & Kahn 2010; Gray, Trotter & Willmers 2012). Hosted jointly by the Centre for Educational Technology and the Research Office at the University of Cape Town, SCAP was launched in March 2010. ...

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3. The Southern African university context

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pp. 37-62

In this chapter, we analyse the broader contexts shaping scholarly communication activity at the Universities of Botswana, Cape Town, Mauritius and Namibia. We start by detailing the general conditions of higher education in Southern Africa so as to grasp how the region both reflects and refracts conditions at these different universities. ...

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4. Scholarly communication policy landscape in Southern Africa

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pp. 63-88

In this chapter, we examine the policy landscape shaping Southern African research and communication activities, especially as they pertain to our four partner universities. We do so by viewing this landscape from three vantage points: the international context, the national context and the institutional context. ...

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5. Research and communication practices

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pp. 89-140

SCAP’s research examines the scholarly communication ecosystem at four Southern African universities in order to address the primary research question: What is the current state of scholarly communication in Southern African universities? ...

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6. The SCAP implementation initiative

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pp. 141-176

SCAP’s research design called not only for the collection of data from our various pilot sites, but the active stimulation of them through customised implementation initiatives (or “interventions”) that sought to improve the state of scholarly communication within them. Five principle assumptions underpinned these initiatives. ...

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7. Challenges, contradictions and opportunities

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pp. 177-220

A key element of SCAP’s research was to identify the main challenges, contradictions and opportunities in the scholarly communication ecosystems of our four research sites, especially as they pertain to the dissemination of digital research outputs (articles, conference papers, reports, etc.). ...

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8. Key findings

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pp. 221-232

In seeking to answer our two research questions concerning the state of scholarly communication at Southern African universities – of Botswana (UB), Cape Town (UCT), Mauritius (UoM) and Namibia (UNAM) – and how ICTs and open access publishing models can improve that state with appropriate institutional support, ...

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9. Recommendations

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pp. 233-236

To optimise scholarly communication at Southern African universities, there are four stakeholders that can play a dynamic role in improving universities’ dissemination activity: national governments, university administrations, university academics and research funding agencies. ...

References

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pp. 237-246

Back cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9781620677551
Print-ISBN-13: 9781920677510

Page Count: 262
Publication Year: 2014