African Journals OnLine (AJOL) is the world's largest online library of It has also been difficult for African researchers to access the work of other African. Request PDF on ResearchGate | African Journals OnLine (AJOL) | While the Internet provides African researchers with access to a wealth of information from . PDF | Introduction The International Network for the Availability of Scientific Access to African Journals: The African Journals OnLine (AJOL) Initiative.

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This is the print version of the African Journals OnLine. (AJOL): .. African Journals OnLine (AJOL): A Second Internal Evaluation INASP Journals should be encouraged to send their articles as PDF files for ease of storage and. Page 1 of 6. Access to African Journals: The African Journals OnLine (AJOL) Initiative. Pippa Smart. Head of Publishing Initiatives. International Network for the. While the Internet provides African researchers with access to a wealth of information from international, western publishers, these publications do not fairly .

Harnad , Ouya and Jacso in separate studies have argued that open access journals enhances the democratization of scholarly information and visibility of authors and publications. According to Harnad, researchers would maximize the impact of their research findings by making them public through publishing so that potential researchers in the same field would have easy access to them.

Ouya added to this through a study which was meant to ascertain editors' awareness of the open access movement. The survey showed limited awareness of and understanding of open access. He therefore highlighted the need for more information about emerging publishing models and the open access initiatives in Sub Saharan Africa.

In a related development, Esseh and Willinsky identified the immediate and long term benefits of online journal publication in Africa.

According to them the immediate benefits among others include management and publication of multiple journals, integration and indexing of African contents; while long term benefits include development of a training and support centers for scholarly publishing studies, increased African and global access, increased African participation in the global scholarly research etc.

While it is true that electronic publishing reduces the delay in scholarly communication process, ensure the visibility and accessibility of the journals, Dix argues that there is no difference between e-journals and that of print since the peer review process are similar. The only difference is on the process of communication where all e-journals use e-mail, making the time elapsed between acceptance and publication to be shorter than that of the print.

Electronic publishing is however not without its draw backs. A major problem of e-publishing according to Letshela and Lor is how to handle legal deposit in an electronic publishing environment since many countries have not updated their legal deposit laws to reflect issues pertaining to electronic publishing. Another flaw of e-publishing is the possibility of Internet connectivity in Africa where ICT infrastructure is generally poor.

Similarly, Asomoah-Hassan has identified the following flaws of electronic publishing.

Despite these draw backs, the popularity of electronic journal publication has continued to grow. Subscriptions to African journal online have been tremendous. A result, it becomes imperative to examine electronic journal publishing in Africa, using AJOL as a case study.

This researcher visited the website of African Journal Online and downloaded list of journals in the database of AJOL for the analysis. As at the date of this visit which was on 25 th August , there were three hundred fifty-one journals listed in AJOL database.

These journals were analyzed based on their geographical spread, subject coverage and language of publication. Simple statistical tables and charts were used to analyze the data generated from the list of the journals.

Data collected from the AJOL database are presented in tables and charts bellow for necessary discussion. Table 1 shows the geographical distribution of journals listed in AJOL. Out of these 8 countries have only a journal each. This means that almost a third of the countries have one journal each.

Four countries, Algeria, Botswana, Burkina Faso and Sudan have 2 journals each, while one country, Malawi has 3 journals 0.

Only 8 countries have up to 10 journals listed in AJOL. Nigeria leads in the number of journals in the database with journals Kenya follows South Africa with 20 journals 5.

Southern Sudan Medical Journal

Two countries namely Nigeria and South Africa have more than half of the total journals in the database. Up to 10 journals listed in the database are from outside Africa. West Africa has East Africa is in the third position with 55 journals Table 3 shows the distribution of the journals in the database by discipline and also journals that have open access.

From the table we can deduce that medical journals constitute greater percentage of the journals in AJOL with Other eight disciplines have less than 10 journals in AJOL.

African Journals OnLine

The total number of open access journals in AJOL is 63 which constitute about Seven out of the 22 disciplines have no open access journals in AJOL. It is clear from the table that the majority of the journals are published in English language.

Only 5 of the journals 1. Other languages such as German and Dutch have 3 and 2 journals respectively while 1 journal is published in English and Arabic. The findings from the data generated through the AJOL database have a lot of revelation.

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In table 1 which shows the geographical distribution of journals held in the database, it is observed that out of about 64 African countries, only 26 countries were represented in AJOL. Eight countries out of the 26 have only a journal each, while another four countries have two journals each. This means that out of the twenty-six countries, 12 of them contributed only 16 journals. This revelation lays credence to Bello 's worry that even with so many journals in Africa only very few of them are accessible.

Nigeria has nearly half of the journals in AJOL while South Africa has almost one-fifth of the whole journals in the database. In other words, Nigeria and South Africa contribute more than two-thirds of the journals in the database. Generally, contributions to AJOL are very low considering the amount of journal publication in Africa. This has far reaching implications in the visibility and accessibility of African scholarly publishing; for one thing, this development increases the digital divide already existing between the developed and developing countries, and for another, it reduces African's contributions to the global knowledge economy.

The low level of Internet connectivity is complicating the problem of electronic journal publishing in Africa. Very little Internet access in some of these countries is usually limited by the low bandwidth and epileptic power supply in these countries. When sub-regional distribution of journals in the database is considered, it becomes very clear that West Africa is leading with more than fifty percent of the journals in the database. This probably is because Nigeria, one of the countries in West Africa contributes heavily in the database.

This suggests therefore, that Central Africa has low research productivity or perhaps the researchers and journal publishers in that region are not aware of AJOL as a database that can promote the visibility of their scholarly publications.

Findings also reveal that Medicine has the largest contributions among all the disciplines with some journals in AJOL. The contribution from Medicine is over thirty percent. It is therefore believed that the most researched field in Africa is the Medical Sciences. If this is not the case, one can then safely conclude that awareness of the existence of AJOL is more among researchers in the Medical Sciences than any other field.

Another field with many journals in the database is Agriculture with about thirteen percent of the journals.

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One can therefore deduce from this findings that Africa publish more journals in the sciences than in the social sciences and the humanities because a closer look shows that Medicine and Agriculture contribute more than forty-four percent of the whole journals in the database.

This is not surprising because AJOL first began with medical and scientific journals with the intention of making scientific research findings available to global scholarly community Rosenberg , The lowest contribution is seen in the humanities specifically in history and religion.

Humanities and Social Sciences contribute only about twenty-four percent of the whole journals. In the Social Sciences, Education and Economics have the highest contribution which implies that the two disciplines are the most researched in Africa. It is also interesting to note that some of the journals in AJOL are open access.

Medicine has more open access journals than any other discipline, followed by Biological Sciences.

Trends in electronic journal publishing in Africa: an analysis of African Journal Online (AJOL)

More open access journals are obtainable in the Sciences than the Humanities and the Social Sciences. This signifies that Medical Science journal publishers in Africa are more liberal with their publications than other fields. The reason for more open access journals in medicine and other science related disciplines could also be traced to the initial philosophy behind the establishment of AJOL as a database of medical and scientific journals in Africa.

This probably gave early awareness to these scientific based journals. Seven disciplines have no open access journals at all. Incidentally, Library and Information Science belongs to this group without open access journals. The number of open access journals in AJOL is not encouraging considering, Jacso 's and Harnad 's remarks on the suitability of open access journals in the scholarly communication process.

In addition to this, authors in the non open access journals lack citation impact in the global scholarly community and this equally affects the international ratings of the institutions of these authors.

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The language of publication of these journals was also considered and findings reveal that the majority of the journals are published in English language. Few others are published in African and French languages, while only five of the journals are published in African languages. The implication is that most journal publishers in Africa do not consider publication of their journals using African languages. Other foreign languages which some of the journals appear in are German and Dutch.

From the findings, one can safely conclude that the language of publication of journals in AJOL follows the colonial languages in Africa. With this development, the idea of promoting African languages is seriously suffering a set back and this will equally hamper the scientific and technological development of Africa as a people.

Electronic journal publishing in Africa though still at its infancy has been widely accepted as one of the best methods of promoting scholarly publishing. It has been suggested that the future of scholarly information lies in an entirely digital system [4] causing traditional print publishers to view electronic journal system e-journal evolution as intimidating. However, with the development of these e-journals, the availability and access to scholarly information has not only been increased, but the costs incurred by a journal publishing its title solely online compared to print publishing are significantly reduced.

Online only publishing allows higher and wider readership.

While the Digital Divide still poses a very real problem for researchers in least-developed countries, resources to improve this are already available. This web-based initiative indexes and hosts African published scholarly journals on the internet free of charge. With over titles from 27 African countries online to date, AJOL strives to increase the awareness and accessibility of African research, both to Africa and the rest of the world.

By partnering in an aggregator site, the journals indexed on AJOL benefit by all being together in one, highly visible, highly used website, as opposed to having only their own usually low visibility website, or no online presence at all.

OJS is a free electronic journal management system used by thousands of publishers around the world, which allows individual journals the ability to manage their journal and publish their content completely online by tracking each step of the publication process right from the online submission of a paper through the complete peer-review process right up to the final editing and the actual publication and indexing of the article either as a single entity or part of an issue online [5].

Of course, production costs such as layout, copy-editing and proof-reading cannot be disregarded; however by performing the complete work-flow process online via means such as the free OJS package, the total cost is notably lower than that of print publishing. This facility can also assist journals to improve their reliability and punctuality by saving the time previously taken by the printing and distribution processes of a print journal.

The OJS system allows researchers to search for and download full-text Portable Document Format PDF files from the website, making the research accessible to anyone, no matter where they may be located on the globe. OJS can be used for both Open Access and subscription model journals.

Adaptations such as these, while beneficial and invaluable to the African research community, cannot stand alone. In addition to this, journals may want to look at their current publishing model and determine its efficacy in reaching its readers, and its sustainability both at present and into the long term future. Due to the massive potential increase in readership and submissions associated with it, some journals are adopting an Open Access OA publication model.

Open Access, yet they continue to sell print versions to those subscribers who prefer or need to have hard copies. Some revenue channels to be considered for an Open Access model business plan include author-side publication fees, additional sponsorship and funding either from an outside source or the institution managing the journal and advertising within the journal or on its web pages.

In the resources section of the AJOL website, some links to business plan templates are provided to assist journals with this process. Given the increased access to research for all involved, online publishing can only benefit the academic community, both within Africa and the rest of the globe, in the exchange of quality scholarly information.Do not use shading and keep formatting simple.

Items of this length are more likely, than longer ones, to be accepted for publication, partly owing to space constraints, and partly because short items are more likely to be read.

Data Presentation Data collected from the AJOL database are presented in tables and charts bellow for necessary discussion. In a related development, Esseh and Willinsky identified the immediate and long term benefits of online journal publication in Africa. Four countries, Algeria, Botswana, Burkina Faso and Sudan have 2 journals each, while one country, Malawi has 3 journals 0.

After a positive evaluation of the pilot in early , AJOL was re-launched and expanded. If the table has been published elsewhere you must obtain the consent of the copyright holder to republish it. These developments have weakened the growth of research and scholarly publications in Africa and other developing countries of the world.

Similarly, Asomoah-Hassan has identified the following flaws of electronic publishing. According to Rosenberg , AJOL project started formerly in and was restricted to only journals in science and technology published in English language within sub Saharan Africa.

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