UCT launches open-access, African-centric research platform

12th January 2021 By: Sane Dhlamini - Creamer Media Researcher and Writer

UCT launches open-access, African-centric research platform

University of Cape Town (UCT) Libraries director of research and learning services Dr Reggie Raju revealed on Tuesday, the institute’s newly developed continental platform for open access publishing in Africa.

The African research community can now create and share its own scholarly content – open access journals and open access monographs and textbooks – which UCT hopes will help grow and develop local research for African society.

Raju, the project’s innovator, pointed out that many African institutions did not have the funds to publish open access and also lacked the institutional funds to set up their own services.

“Financial challenges and lack of technical infrastructure shouldn’t be a barrier to being able to disseminate good research widely. At UCT we are lucky enough to have the infrastructure and skilled staff available. Therefore, we decided to host the platform and train library staff at other African universities. After all, we must work together if we want to demolish the barriers to African research so that our institutions are able to produce and publish their own knowledge,” he said.

UCT librarian Jeremiah Pietersen says the publishing platform forms part of UCT’s goal to address social justice-driven sharing of research output, active participation in global knowledge production and the inclusion of research from the global south. 

Raju said the platform was created to allow Africans to take charge of their own knowledge and systems.

He assured that African institutions would not lose branding or their identity while being hosted on UCT’s information technology infrastructure.

“The platform seeks to offer an alternative to the dichotomous ‘publish globally and perish locally’ or ‘publish locally and perish globally’ by providing a platform for African institutions to develop their own journals and have ownership of good academic rigour in publishing outside of global north influences,” Raju said.