Beyond open access publishing services for its community, AfricArXiv will facilitate more opportunities for rigorous and reproducible practices.Authors: Nicole Pfeiffer, Claire Riss, and the AfricArXiv team
In June 2018, the Center for Open Science (COS) and the pan-African cross-disciplinary Open Access platform AfricArXiv launched a collaboration to provide a preprint service to the African scholarly community. Now, COS and AfricArXiv’s leadership seek to advance scholarship together through the open exchange of ideas and evidence, across the globe actively including the African scholarly community.
Much of this exchange currently takes place through the publication of journal articles following peer review, which adds months or even years to the dissemination of findings. By sharing manuscripts prior to formal peer review, the process and communication of findings is accelerated and made accessible to all. Many journals charge a subscription fee to access the published articles, however by sharing manuscripts pre and post publication free of charge for the researcher, open access for all scholars is achieved.
Beyond the openly accessible publication of scholarship through preprints, COS and AfricArXiv endeavor to encourage adoption of open, rigorous, and reproducible research practices. Through this collaboration, the African research community from across the continent can engage in training events and collaborative projects using all features OSF provides, and gain knowledge about best practices, policies, and incentives to encourage and increase open scholarly practices across Africa.
The purpose of the continued collaboration is to provide a digital infrastructure service to African scholars, librarians and other Higher Education (HE) and Research & Innovation (R&I) stakeholders to make research workflows more time and cost efficient and provide training, seminars, and workshops around Open Science as well as Research Data Management (RDM) and research documentation.
In accordance with the AfricArXiv roadmap, both COS and AfricArXiv have agreed to:
- Develop partnership portfolio and establish shared services developed with and tailored to African research and Higher Education stakeholders.
- Concerted outreach to African HE stakeholders to inform about the COS and AfricArXiv services and how these can benefit African scholarly workflows as well as the discoverability of their work
- Engagement with African research organisations and relevant partner organisations to identify gaps in the documentation of research workflow and suggest OSF opportunities to fill those gaps
- Collaborative proposal writing and online fundraising to ensure financial sustainability of the concerted effort
- Organize joint virtual trainings and workshops on Open Access and Research Integrity through Open Science practices
It is thanks to the initial launch with COS that we exist as a service to African scholars and we are excited about the continuation of our partnership working towards the opportunities and accomplishments that will arise from this,said the AfricArXiv team.
Partnering with the AfricArXiv community to support African scholars from across the continent in rigorous and transparent research practices will enable accelerated knowledge sharing. COS looks forward to collaborating to build capacity and grow adoption of open science practices with the AfricArXiv team,said COS Director of Product Nici Pfeiffer.
Through partnerships like the one established with COS, we hope to establish an independent, efficient, sustainable and decentralized research repository that serves as an interoperable platform for contributions by African researchers, and for all scientists who work in an African context, with the goal to increase discoverability of African research.said AfricArXiv Community Manager, Johanssen Obanda
About the Center for Open Science
An open exchange of ideas accelerates scientific progress towards solving humanity’s most persistent problems. The challenges of disease, poverty, education, social justice, and the environment are too urgent to solve to be wasting time on studies lacking rigor, outcomes that are never shared, and findings that are not reproducible. The COS supports research globally by providing tools and training, and by coordinating culture change in norms, incentives, and policies across the research community to make research go further, faster, and better.
AfricArXiv is a community-led digital archive for African research communication and an openly accessible way to share research contributions across disciplines. We provide a non-profit platform to upload working papers, preprints, accepted manuscripts (post-prints), presentations, and data sets via our partner platforms. AfricArXiv is dedicated to foster research and collaboration among African scientists, enhance the visibility of African research output and to increase collaboration globally.
About the Open Science Framework
AfricArXiv is hosted on the open-source Open Science Framework (OSF) along with other preprint services (see https://osf.io/preprints/). OSF helps researchers design, collaborate, and manage their research workflow, data and materials storage, and provides persistent identifiers, in particular DOIs (Digital Object Identifier). OSF provides highly secure, redundant archiving
services for confident preservation of research outputs. COS has leveraged the platform to help research communities in many disciplines and countries discover new research and receive feedback on their own outputs prior to publication which improves rigor. Preprint authors are encouraged to include links to their underlying research materials, data, code and pre-registrations to increase transparency and trust.
Operating many services on a shared infrastructure is highly cost efficient. The cost of running a single preprint service independently would be prohibitive for many communities. With common infrastructure, the preprint services share the total costs decreasing the individual responsibility and promoting sustainability.
You can support AfricArXiv’s preprint services directly at https://opencollective.com/africarxiv