ASSAf Scholarly Publishing Programme: January 2017 Communique

Dear Colleagues

On behalf of the ASSAf Scholarly Publishing Team, I would like to wish you all the best for the year. We are looking forward working and learning along with you, in taking high quality Open Access scholarly publishing (incl. scholarly communication) forward, contributing to our research output having a bigger impact on the world of science. We expect another full year, but are always ready to assist where needed. If you need to get in touch, please do not hesitate to do so. Please scroll down for a reminder of who we are, and what we do.

Newly Appointed Editors
A warm welcome to all the newly appointed scholarly journal editors! Please feel free to introduce yourselves, and get in touch with us. We would also like to keep our database with contact information up to date. A kind request therefore to please forward any changes in editors for our information. Thank you very much for assisting with this task.

DHET Accredited Lists
These lists are issued by the DHET, and will also be sent to the research offices at institutions. Once we have more information, we will certainly share from our side also. Contact person at DHET: Walter Ntuli Ntuli.W@dhet.gov.za

Following just a brief summary of our highlights from the last quarter of 2016.

SciELO SA
Our SciELO SA collection consisting of 65 Open Access journal titles, has grown in usage – from 1 331 849 site visits on 31 December 2015 to 1 711 094 site visits on 31 December 2016. This collection – which has been accessed more than 5.5 million times – received a positive evaluation during 2016 and remains to be accredited.

National Scholarly Book Publishers’ Forum
A National Scholarly Book Publishers’ Forum meeting was held on 6 December 2016, during which Open Monograph Press as a monograph publishing system was introduced to publishers, among others.

Peer-review of scholarly journals
Reviews have been completed of journals in the Humanities II: Visual and Performing Arts group (10 journals), Communications, Information Science and Knowledge Systems group (14 journals), and Engineering and Architecture group (15 journals). The reports are currently being finalized.

National Site License
A business case for a National Site License for higher education institutions and research councils to have equal access to a core set of research databases was approved by the Executive Committee of the Department of Science and Technology. The business case will now be advanced to the Minister for final approval and recommendation to the Department of Higher Education and Training.

International Open Access Week 24 – 28 October 2016
• A blog article was authored and published on the SPARC Blog: Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) influencing the direction of open science in SA
• A paper was presented to the SA National School of Government (27 October 2016): Your research matters: increasing visibility, usage and impact
• A paper was presented during the North West University Open Access Day on 28 October 2016: Your research matters: increasing visibility, usage and impact
• ASSAf was represented at the International Council for Scientific and Technical Information (ICSTI) meeting on 12 December 2016, Lagoon Beach Hotel, Milnerton, Cape Town. Important networks were established and ASSAf SPU is looking forward to future initiatives in collaboration with ICSTI member countries.
• The ASSAf Research and Publication Repository was launched in support of International Open Access Week. The repository can be access at http://research.assaf.org.za/ . During the pilot period 5 items were uploaded to the repository, which were well received by the media and scholarly community.

Open Science Initiatives
The African Open Science Platform initiative that seeks to put into practice the principles and enabling practices for Open Data and Open Science was launched during SFSA 2016.
The Platform will play a critical role to assist African countries in developing the necessary capacities to manage and exploit scientific data for the benefit of society
ASSAf and CODATA organised a side-event workshop and a parallel session at Science Forum South Africa. The programmes for these events are linked below.
• African Open Science Platform Side Event: a forum for conversations on data policy, data training and data infrastructure, 6 December 2016
• African Open Science Platform Side Event: Conversations around Openness in African Research, Open Access, Open Data, Open Science, 7 December 2016
Other events in which ASSAf SPU participated in preparation for the initiative include:
• International Conference on Research Infrastructure (ICRI) & Pre-ICRI, 2-4 Oct 2016
• International Research Conference on Scientometrics, STI Policy and Science Communication, 31 October – 3 November 2016
A webinar on the African Open Science Platform was presented to the Network of Data & Information Curation Communities (NeDICC) on 19 October 2016.
A survey was created to share with the data community, in an effort to collect data about data initiatives and activities on the African continent.

SA Open Science Policy Workshop
A workshop intended to prepare recommendations towards the preparation of a White Paper on Open Research in South Africa, was hosted in collaboration with the Department of Science and Technology. The workshop was facilitated by Dr Cameron Neylon, and well attended by policymakers and key stakeholders from SA research institutions. The report is in the process of being compiled.
• Open Research South Africa: high-level stakeholder meeting on Open Research, 12 December 2016
• An opinion piece was written by Eve Gray on behalf of ASSAf and appeared in the Mail and Guardian (December 9th, 2016), Open access, open data, open science

Evaluation of African Institutional Repositories
ASSAf has partnered with the Association of African Universities (AAU) to compile an evaluation instrument for the evaluation of African institutional repositories, aligned with instruments used globally, but adapted for an African context. Once approved, the repositories will be included for harvesting through DATAD-R (Database of African Theses and Dissertations, incl. Research), which is a DSpace OAI-PMH compliant harvester, used to harvest quality metadata from African institutional repositories, containing theses and dissertations, as well as peer-reviewed research articles.

Open Journal Initiatives
In addition to SciELO SA, ASSAf SPU continues to assist 5 SciELO SA journals to be managed and published online, using Open Journal Systems open source software. The journals have been managed on this platform for 12 months now, and the platform remains to be stable, trusted and financially sustainable. Although there is a huge need among other scholarly journals to be supported in a similar way, ASSAf does not have the human or financial resources to do so.
ASSAf continued to provide training and support where needed:
• Training provided to editorial members of Tydskrif vir Letterkunde, 5 October 2016, University of Pretoria.
• OJS Workshop to editors from the University of the Free State, 18 – 19 October 2016, University of the Free State.
• 9 Webinars were presented on best practice scholarly journal publishing during November 2016. This was a collaborative effort between DOAJ and ASSAf.
• As a DOAJ Ambassador, ASSAf continues to assist with the rigorous evaluation involved in Open Access journal publishing, evaluating Open Access journals for possible inclusion in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ).
• ASSAf participated together with DOAJ in a webinar which was hosted by the Open Access Scholarly Publishing Association (OASPA). The webinar was used to share experiences regarding publishing practices and challenges in the global South.
• ASSAf SPU continues to send out frequent Communiques to the National Scholarly Editors Forum via its mailing list, and also shares information via the ASSAf SPU Blog.
• The ASSAf SPU wiki is maintained and serves as a valuable tool for reference by scholarly publishers worldwide.

Awards
During the LIASA Conference 8-14 Oct 2016, Ina Smith was awarded LIASA Librarian of the Year 2016.

This all from us for now. We will remain in touch, and continue to communicate important information via our web, blog and wiki.

Kind regards
Susan

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