ASSAf Scholarly Publishing Unit: September 2016 Communique

Dear Colleagues

First of all – thank you for joining us during the past National Scholarly Editor’s Forum, and thank you for actively participating in the programme. This meeting is an annual highlight on the ASSAf Scholarly Publishing Unit calendar, since we get the opportunity to engage on a face-to-face basis with you. From the feedback received, it was a highly successful event with valuable opportunities for networking. Thank you so much for contributing towards making it a success!

What made this year a bit different, was that we also hosted numerous workshops in collaboration with partner stakeholders. We managed to visit the Western Cape, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, and also colleagues from Gauteng North. Upcoming and in support of international Open Access Week celebrated worldwide from 24 to 31 October, is a workshop on best practice scholarly publishing, to be hosted by the University of the Free State in collaboration with LIASA Free State Branch. The criteria for trusted and high quality scholarly journals will be shared, followed by an intensive workshop on using Open Journal Systems to manage and publish scholarly journals. Thank you to the University of the Free State and the LIASA Free State Branch for co-sponsoring these travels and accommodation.

In addition to the above, we would like to provide the following feedback:

Discipline-grouped peer review of South African scholarly journals
Desré Stead

Reviews in the following three subject groups are currently being conducted:

  • Humanities II: Visual and Performing Arts (10 journals)
  • Communications, Information Science and Knowledge Systems (14 journals)
  • Engineering and Architecture (15 journals)

Three reviewers were appointed to evaluate each journal. We have received most of the reviews and we are currently compiling a Version 1 draft report of each journal to present to the Peer Review Panel. The Panel will discuss the reviews and will provide consensus answers to each of the criteria.

The names of panel members are available on the ASSAf website: http://bit.ly/1MaS1oK

The next cycle of peer review evaluations will include journals in the following disciplinary groups:

  • Education (16 journals)
  • Mathematics and Science (22 journals)
  • Politics, History and Philosophy (26 journals)

ASSAf sent out a call for nominees of panel members earlier this year. The shortlist of nominees will need to be approved by the Committee on Scholarly Publishing in South Africa (CSPiSA) and the ASSAf Council before we can proceed with constituting these panels.

We ask journal editors who have not submitted the questionnaire for the peer review yet to please submit it as soon as possible. Panel members and reviewers will require access to the last three volumes of the journal.

Please contact us for any queries relating to the peer reviews:

Desré Stead, desre@assaf.org.za

Mmaphuthi Mashiachidi, mmaphuthi@assaf.org.za

National Scholarly Editors’ Forum meeting
Desré Stead

The 10th National Scholarly Editors’ Forum (NSEF) annual meeting, was held on the 1st September 2016 at the Protea Hotel, O.R. Tambo. The theme for this year’s meeting was Disruptive trends challenging scholarly publishing. Ms Susan Veldsman, Director of the Scholarly Publishing Programme (SPP) at ASSAf, presented an update on the activities of the SPP. Prof Keyan Tomaselli put forward a motion to discuss the publication of Master’s and PhD student journal articles to enable them to graduate. The programme was different this year as editors were grouped according to pre-selected themes to discuss the challenges facing scholarly journal publishing in South Africa. Editors enjoyed the opportunity to interact with each other and network with others in the field. Prior to the meeting, attendees were encouraged to register for an ORCID (http://orcid.org/) if they had not already done so, and ORCID sponsored a prize for a lucky draw that was presented in the afternoon session. Prof Johann Mouton presented a sample of the results of the CREST study on publishing trends in South Africa with particular emphasis on journal publishing. The editors found the presentation to be a useful analysis of journals in South Africa.

Chairs chairing the round table discussions during the past NSEF Meeting

committee

Back row: Shannon Hoctor, Pierre de Villiers, Keyan Tomaselli, Voster Muchenje, Herbert Maserumule, Andries van Aarde, Dan Parker

Front row: John Butler-Adam, Charles Ngwena, Ingrid Nye, Michelle Hamer, Ina du Toit

African Open Science Platform
Ina Smith

The SPP is currently running a preparatory “landscape” exercise which is designed to evaluate relevant open data activities in national science systems in Africa, scanning policies and activities by governments, funders, universities, academies and evaluating both projects and individual capabilities. This exercise is a vital pre-requisite for building the consortium for the Platform launch, which will take place at the SA Science Forum on 8-9 December this year.           More about the Science Forum: http://www.sfsa.co.za/

SciELO SA
Louise van Heerden

SciELO SA Advisory Committee: The SciELO SA Advisory Committee will meet during the last quarter of the year to decide on criteria to admit and retain journal titles in the collection.

SciELO SA Collection Growth: The SciELO SA-collection now has 65 titles: http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_alphabetic&lng=en&nrm=iso

On 31 August 2016 the collection included 19 020 articles, 1231 issues and 65 titles.

SciELO SA: Usage growth: Over the last year there has been a 16% growth in visits to SciELO SA:

scielo

Since its inception in 2009 the SciELO SA collection has been accessed almost 5 million times.

New SciELO software: During September 2016 a new version of the SciELO software will be installed at ASSAf. From 19-23 September two staff members from the SciELO Network will visit ASSAf to train the SciELO SA staff in the usage of the new version.

ASSAf-AAU DATAD Project
Ina Smith 

The past DATAD annual conference (Bulawayo, Zimbabwe) was a clear indication of progress made in terms of Africa sharing its research with the rest of the world. As part of this project, an evaluation instrument with criteria for trusted institutional repositories was developed and shared with the audience. In future, only repositories adhering to the requirements will be included for harvesting through DATAD, which will be hosted by ASSAf. Repositories adhering to additional criteria on top of the basic requirements, will qualify for the DATAD Seal of Approval. The DATAD project will mostly focus on harvesting the metadata from theses and dissertations made available through African repositories, and we hope to extend it to data sets accompanying research output, as part of the African Open Science Platform.

Journal article level impact
Ina Smith

Alternative metrics – providing an indication of the number of citations, downloads, and mentions via social media – is more and more becoming the preferred method of measuring scholarly journal article impact. The Thomson Reuters Journal Impact Factor is widely criticized for not measuring individual research. Alternative metrics is regarded as an alternative, since it gives a better picture of the impact of individual articles. An example from the South African Journal of Science:

alt

Currently we recommend that you explore the following tools for possible implementation:

Also read the Altmetrics Manifesto for the rationale behind the above. 

SciDataCon 2016
Ina Smith

Two members of the scholarly publishing unit will participate in the mentioned conference, as part of the African Open Science Platform project. During the initial phase, we hope to identify data repository projects within Africa, as well as establishing ownership, implementation of open access policies, needs in terms of ICT and training, and more. Read more about this conference at http://www.scidatacon.org/2016/

Important partners as part of the African Open Science Platform Project are ICSU, CODATA, and the Department of Science and Technology.

Central database of all SA scholarly journals
Ina Smith

ASSAf has been working with CREST to build a database of all SA scholarly journals, their history, rankings, accreditation status, and more. This database was developed with programming expertise from CREST, while ASSAf provided input on journal details. We hope that this database will address challenges faced on an annual basis, in terms of identifying and finding information about our almost 400 journals. We will heavily rely on editors and other role players to help keep this database up to date. More information on this will be shared soon. It will be updated annually, to accommodate changes informed by the DHET list of accredited journal titles.

Apply for your journal to be included in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)
Ina Smith

A webinar was presented to address the requirements for inclusion in the DOAJ. Two very important requirements: only peer-reviewed, open access journals are approved, in addition to other requirements.

ASSAf is of the opinion that – the more scrutiny a journal is subjected to – the better the chances of the journal improving its own profile. We would therefore like to invite you to apply for inclusion in the following indexes:

Quest
Tsêpo Majake

Quest: Science for South Africa is a popular science magazine published by ASSAf. The magazine is used for science promotion, engagement and curriculum support. The articles are contributed by researchers, scholars and practitioners in different science fields. The scholarly publishing unit at ASSAf has been tasked with the responsibility of ensuring that the magazine reaches the length and breadth of this country and abroad particularly in previously disadvantaged communities.

As journal publishing increases and the quality improves, we hope to improve the throughput by exposing the young ones to careers in science and cutting edge research in South Africa, to encourage and expose them to possibilities. We also hope to ensure that we can contextualize content so that they see the application of what they learn in everyday life.

Please get in touch with us should you have any questions regarding any of the above issues mentioned, and we will try our best to assist.

Wishing you all the best for the remainder of the year!

Kind regards

Susan Veldsman
Director: Scholarly Publishing Programme
Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf)

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The Scholarly Publishing Programme Team

team

Back: Ina Smith, Msimelelo Dingiswayo, Tyrone Ngonyama, Mohau Moja, Menzi Nhlenyama, Linda Fick

Front: Louise van Heerden, Desré Stead, Mmaphuthi Mashiachidi, Susan Veldsman (Director), Nadine Wubbeling

Absent: Tsêpo Majake

 

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