SCAP’s core ambition is to increase the visibility and developmental impact of research produced within African universities. The programme has formulated its research strategy as follows:
In order to address the programme’s two research questions in an integrated and holistic manner, SCAP has four broad strands of research activity:
- Scholarly communication practices;
- Research measurement and reward systems; and
- Costs and benefits of scholarly communication.
Through the CHAT methodology of the change laboratory and the idea of the expansive learning cycle, the empirical evidence obtained from these four strands is brought together with evidence obtained from the programme’s technology implementation initiative. This initiative, designed as a set of experiments, focuses on the visibility of scholarly communication in study sites in each of its four participating institutions. It is based on principles of open access and is tailored in each case to the context of the institution as well as the scholarly communication practices and needs of the academics, as ascertained in the research strands.
The four research strands together with the technology implementation initiative influence each other in a mutually constitutive manner, within each of the university settings. CHAT therefore provides the programme with the theoretical and methodological tools needed to examine scholarly communication practices and processes of change in the participating institutions within the historical contexts of activity systems.
It is hoped that the empirical evidence that is generated and the lessons learnt from the experiments will contribute to the development of empirically based research in the area of scholarly communication within the African context; as well as to the articulation of scholarly communication strategies that are more relevant to the African context and the developmental impact of its research.