The rise of the internet and information and communication technologies has fundamentally altered and expanded 21st-century scholarly communication practices. African universities face numerous challenges in participating in and benefiting from new, global forms of knowledge creation and systems for sharing and profiling this knowledge. All of these impact on African representation in the production and circulation of global knowledge, and limit the developmental impact of its research.
The Scholarly Communication in Africa Programme (SCAP) is a research and implementation initiative aimed at increasing the visibility and developmental impact of a spectrum of research outputs from universities in Southern Africa. SCAP’s dual research activity and technology implementation initiative is guided by its grounding in Cultural Historical Activity Theory (CHAT) and can be illustrated as follows:
The programme utilises CHAT as a framework for examining the scholarly communication ecosystems in four Southern African universities in order to address the primary research question: What is the current state of scholarly communication in African universities? The technology implementation initiative addresses the sub-question: How can the use of ICT, technology platforms and open access publishing models contribute to the improvement of strategic African scholarly communication, and what institutional structures are needed to support such an approach?
The programme is jointly hosted by the Centre for Educational Technology (CET) and the Research Office at the University of Cape Town. It engages in study sites which are cross-disciplinary and cross-faculty at the universities of Botswana, Cape Town, Mauritius and Namibia, and undertakes participatory research in order to:
- Map out the current status of research dissemination in four selected universities from four southern African countries.
- Understand the policy, ICT infrastructure and administrative support systems needed to effectively integrate scholarly publishing and dissemination at these universities.
- Work closely with the partners from selected universities to support the use of open-source platforms that could easily interface with various outputs, such as journals, books and conference proceedings, among others.
- Build capacity in managing and sustaining an integrated scholarly communication system.
- Better understand the costs and benefits resulting from open access approaches to scholarly communication.
- Develop complementary metrics that could align quality concerns, recruitment, recognition and rewards systems in order to promote greater access to knowledge.
- Interact with policy-makers at various levels and promote solutions that could support the wider visibility of African research.
For more detailed information on the programme’s research framework, please refer to the About Us page.
Eve Gray Blogs
- Open access in Africa – green and gold, the impact factor, ‘mainstream’ and ‘local’ research
- From the IPA 2012 Congress to the Finch Report – publishers and open access
- Academic spring – open access policies take the world by storm
- The policy gap – research communication in limbo in South Africa’s new Green Paper
- Open Everything at UCT Open Education Week