ASSAf Scholarly Publishing Unit: January 2016 Communique

Dear Colleagues

A warm welcome back from all at ASSAf, and we wish you all the best for a highly productive year in terms of your journal publications! 2015 was a busy, but very exciting year! We are looking forward to working with you again this year, and please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions, concerns and suggestions. Our door is always open, and we are an email or telephone/Skype call away.

The following is a summary of a few initiatives, at the same time reporting on progress made.

SciELO SA Journal Status

Our collection has grown to 60 titles, and it was visited more than 1.3 million times during 2015 – an indication that it is highly visible. Another highlight was SciELO SA scoring 98% during the independent evaluation conducted by the SciELO Network – an all-time high, of which we are very proud!

The following were also addressed:

  • The Publisher’s Agreement between the journals and ASSAf has been signed by most of the SciELO SA journals.
  • All SciELO SA journals now include DOIs in their articles. The DOIs are registered with CrossRef.
  • All SciELO SA journals have implemented a Creative Commons-license.
  • Online ISSNs have been assigned to all SciELO SA journals.
  • We are in the process of systematically preserving all SciELO SA journal PDF and XML metadata files on Portico.
  • More and more journals are now implementing ORCIDs.
  • All SciELO SA journals were requested to reapply for inclusion in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ).

Journal Information on SciELO SA Web Site

A kind request to please verify the information for your journal on the SciELO SA web site at Corrections can be forwarded to Louise van Heerden, Email:

DHET 2016 List of Accredited Journals

The accreditation status of a South African published journal is informed by the following:

The DHET has indicated that the list of accredited journals for 2016 will be released by the end of February 2016. Once the list is issued, ASSAf verifies all the information, and adds further value. CREST (Stellenbosch University) is in the process of creating an online database, from where this information will be made accessible to all.

OJS Pilot Project

The following SciELO SA journals form part of the OJS pilot project:

Training was conducted, and journals are in the process of populating the sites with content and articles. The pilot project has been very exciting thus far! A special thank you to our editors who are working very hard to make a success of this project, so that others can benefit in the long term.

Ad Hoc Peer Review of Journals

The Scholarly Publishing Unit (SPU) arranged and hosted an ‘ad hoc’ Panel Review on the 25th November 2015 to evaluate the new applications and re-applications of journals for DHET accreditation. The Department conducted the preliminary assessment to assess if the new journals met the technical requirements of the policy but requested that the SPU assist with the content review to determine if they were of good quality. The peer review process is centred on a multi-perspective, multi-disciplinary ‘ad hoc’ evaluation panel appointed by ASSAf and comprising of experts in the field. The panel was chaired by Prof Robin Crewe and five reviewers evaluated 12 journals from various subject disciplines such as Law, Health, Management and Social Sciences.

Discipline-grouped ASSAf Peer Review of South African Scholarly Journals

ASSAf’s Committee on Scholarly Publishing in South Africa has been convening these Peer Review Panels of journals since 2009. This project of systematically subjecting locally published journals to independent peer review aims to improve their quality, visibility and impact.

Five peer review reports have been published to date and the sixth report on Humanities I: Classics, Literature and Languages has been published and is currently being disseminated.

The next cycle of peer review evaluations will include journals in the following fields: Humanities (Visual and Performing Arts); Economics and Business Management; Communications, Information Sciences and Knowledge Systems; Politics, History and Philosophy; Education, Engineering and Architecture; Mathematics and Science; and other fields (Geography and Population; Health; Social Sciences; Natural Science and Agriculture; Humanities; Cultural History and Development).

The reviews of the next three panels will take place in early 2016: Humanities II: Visual & Performing Arts; Communication, Information Science & Knowledge Systems; and, Engineering & Architecture.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for sending your completed questionnaires and providing access to the last three volumes of your journal.

If you have not completed the questionnaire please let us know if you require more time to gather information or if there is another delay beyond your control. Your responses will assist peer reviewers in conducting a thorough review of your journal. Please also provide access to the latest volumes of the journal online or send or deliver the print copies.

What is your Journal Impact?

Two of the most frequently asked questions include: “How do I determine the impact of my journal?” and “How can I increase the impact of my journal?”.

Suggestions from our side:

  1. Visit the SciELO web page for your journal, and click on Metrics SciELO to the left of the page.
  2. To see how your journal is doing on other platforms through which it is hosted, you will have to request the owners of these platforms for statistics, e.g. Sabinet etc. (if hosted elsewhere at all).
  3. Go to  and do a search for the journal title. You will find articles from the journal that have been referenced, but it can be a tedious process.
  4. Alternatively – create a journal profile via Google Citations, and add journal articles to track usage over time. Click here to view an example.
  5. Google Analytics also offers in depth statistics of web usage. If you have a Gmail account, Google Analytics can be activated for as many websites as needed.

Also see the ASSAf wiki help page on measuring journal impact. This page contains information required to register with international indexes, such as Web of Science, IBSS, and more. Please promote your journal, and encourage your authors to widely share their articles via social media (e.g. Google+, facebook, twitter, Linkedin, ResearchGate). 

ASSAf Help Page

Please keep in mind that we have a help wiki, where you can find answers to most of your questions. See

ASSAf SPU Calendar

The following events are planned for this year, and dates will be communicated once they become available:

  • OA Week 2016
  • NSEF Meeting
  • SciELO SA Users Group Meeting
  • Webinars on relevant topics

Meet the ASSAf SPU Staff

We’ve had a few new appointments, and although we have met most of you already, we would like to take this opportunity to introduce ourselves as well as our various roles within ASSAf SPU:

Susan Veldsman

Director: Scholarly Publishing Unit
012 349 6661

 susan Oversees the strategic and operational management of the Scholarly Publishing Unit.
Louise van Heerden
SciELO SA Operations Manager
012 349 6626
 louise Ensures that SciELO criteria, policies and procedures are adhered to.Invites journals to join SciELO SA. Ensures the most recent issues of journals are uploaded according to SciELO criteria.ASSAf Agreements, Creative Commons Licensing.
Ina Smith
SciELO SA Planning Manager
012 349 6641
 ina Engages in new scholarly publishing initiatives, best practice in scholarly publishing, and focuses on journal hosting via Open Journal Systems.
Desré Stead
Senior Project Officer
012 349 6640
 desre Manages and coordinates ASSAf’s Peer Review Panels for journals, scholarly books and conference proceedings and supports the Academy’s Committee on Scholarly Publishing in South Africa (CSPiSA).
Mmaphuthi Mashiachidi
Project Administrator
012 349 6644
 mmaphuti Project Administration of the SPU and the ASSAf’s Peer Review Panels for journals, scholarly books and conference proceedings; supports the CSPiSA; assists with the drafting of relevant minutes and reports and maintains records of all project activities.
Mohau Moja
Project Officer
012 349 6610
 mohau Populates SciELO SA Journals; Digital Preservation of SciELO SA Journals; SciELO SA IT
Chief Dingiswayo
Junior Project Officer
012 349 6634
 chief Populates SciELO SA Journals; registers DOI metadata
Tyrone Ngonyama
Junior Project Officer
012 349 6629
 tyrone Populates SciELO SA Journals; registers DOI metadata
Menzi Nhlenyama
Junior Project Officer
012 349 6636
 menzi Populates SciELO SA Journals; DOI Coordinator & registers DOI metadata

For more information about ASSAF, please visit our new web page at

We are looking forward keeping in touch, and sharing more about our initiatives following the ASSAf SPU strategic meeting on 3 February 2016.

With kind regards,


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