The Scholarly Communication in Africa Programme (SCAP) was a three-year initiative aimed at increasing the publication and visibility of African research through harnessing the potential for scholarly communication in the digital age. Jointly led by the Centre for Educational Technology and the Research Office at UCT, the project engaged four African universities in action research to better understand the ecosystem of scholarly communication in Africa and address the scholarly communication needs and aspirations at the various participating institutions.
The project’s primary concern was with the dissemination of research out of universities. The programme was based on the assumption that while sufficient research capacity is available, there exists an opportunity to increase the output and quality of academic journals and other forms of scholarly communication produced in Africa through technologies such as blogs, wikis, social networking and RSS feeds.
Specifically, the project aimed to:
- Map out the current status of research dissemination in four selected universities from four southern African countries (Universities of Botswana, Cape Town, Mauritius and Namibia).
- 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 can interface with outputs such as journals and books.
- 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, and 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 he wider visibility of African research.
- Thomas Bossuroy
- Clare Hofmeyr