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There is an ongoing transition in the research enterprise towards Open Science (OS), increasing transparency in researchers’ collaboration, knowledge exchange, and how science is organized. The Open Access (OA) movement can be seen as a case study of the challenges that this transition can present. For ...

There is an ongoing transition in the research enterprise towards Open Science (OS), increasing transparency in researchers’ collaboration, knowledge exchange, and how science is organized. The Open Access (OA) movement can be seen as a case study of the challenges that this transition can present. For example, despite all the advantages of OA and the fact that the concept is exceptionally strong as a principle, it is yet to be implemented across all institutions, particularly in Africa. Even though research productivity from the African continent has increased over the last two decades, the global north still dominates the scholarly communication and publication sphere. High article processing charges (APCs) can make it difficult for some African researchers to publish in highly rated- and respected academic journals, which are critical to their career advancement. Fee waivers and discounts are available but eligibility and percentages vary by publisher and predatory publishing presents a challenge to African researchers. In addition, the exclusion of many African publication sources from the major bibliographic databases such as Scopus and the Web of Science skews and limits bibliometric analysis and influences the outcomes of world university rankings.

This Research Topic aims to investigate the transition to OS in the African continent. This will include researchers' and other stakeholders’ (support services, policy makers) concerns regarding OS as well as the advantages it offers them. Moreover, the role of new technologies is also of interest in the implementation of OA as it is the knowledge divide between different countries and regions. It is also crucial to address what needs to change in the research enterprise to make OS a worthwhile venture/practice for most researchers and research role-players and how they can cope with the contradictory challenges.

In this Research Topic, OS is used as the umbrella term that includes Open Research, Open Data, Open Access, Open Courseware, Open Software, Open Peer Review, Scientific Social Networks and Tools as well as Citizen Science. We seek Original Research or Opinion articles. Views from different countries and regions are encouraged. Scholarly contributions from a broad range of methodological approaches are welcome – ethnographic, qualitative, quantitative, philosophical, and practical.

The following topics could be addressed within the stated context of OS in Africa:
• The role of institutions, regional organizations, and national governments in achieving OS, including concerns and advantages of OS. Specific to OA - what are existing barriers to achieving OA from within higher education and research institutions across Africa, and how can these be overcome?
• The role of new technologies and infrastructure, including possible influences of advanced technologies on the development of OS.
• Changes that have facilitated and accelerated OS, including growth in research output and open knowledge over the last decade.
• Causes for a slowdown in the adoption of OS. What needs to change in the research enterprise to make OS a worthwhile practice for most researchers? What discourages researchers to adopt open publishing and use OA?
• Cross-country or cross-regional OS collaboration activities. Also comparison between countries and regions in Africa and the knowledge divide between them and with the rest of the world. In particular, what is the degree of OA in Africa compared to the global north?
• Open Science citizenship.
• Rewards and recognition that discourage/enthuse OS practice.
• Opinions based on research on the future of OS from researchers and research stakeholders.

Keywords: Open science, Africa, research tranparancy, open access, academic publishing


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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