What is AfricArxiv?

AfricArxiv is a free, open source and community-led digital archive for African research. We provide a non-profit platform for African scientists to upload their working papers, preprints, accepted manuscripts (post-prints), and published papers. Read more about AfricArxiv here: https://info.africarxiv.org/about

Who is AfricArxiv designed for?

AfricArxiv is designed for African scientists from all disciplines to share their research outputs, including preprints, postprints, code and data.

Why do we need an Africa-specific preprint repository?

We need an Africa-specific preprint repository to:

  • Make African research more visible
  • Disseminate African knowledge
  • Enable research exchange inside the continent
  • Foster cross-continental collaboration

Preprint repositories are more and more commonly used in the context of Open Science and constitute one of the easy and very effective measures to make research output accessible. Submissions are being moderated by scientists so there is a certain peer review process involved – and yet it differs from publishing in a peer-reviewed journal. In most cases this is still possible after submitting to the preprint repository.

How is AfricArxiv different from other upcoming repositories?

With AfricArxiv we want to provide a platform for African scientists to publish their research output immediately and free of cost. That way they can receive feedback on their work, improve it further and also identify collaboration partners for future projects. Preprints are evolving to be an integral part of Open Science. To have a repository specific to the African research community can also trigger interdisciplinary research specifically addressing African issues.

We hope that it will give African scientists more visibility internationally and also engage more in intra-Africa research collaborations. Science is comprised of many different disciplines with research groups scattered across the globe. Building communities for these disciplines and also specific to certain regions allows scientists and other stakeholders (policy makers, entrepreneurs, medical staff, farmers, journalists) to find research outputs of their interest more strategically.

What are the challenges that African scientists face?

  • Low visibility internationally
  • Restricted research funding
  • Language barriers 
  • African researchers tend to be less integrated into international research networks

How will scientists in Africa benefit?

More visibility of research output from the continent

  • Add some statistics about
    • research output covered in international journals?
    • African research output in general?
  • Better network and collaborate with each other

We hope that African scientists will be more aware of each others research outputs, especially bridging the divide between francophone and anglophone science communities on the continent. We encourage authors to provide a short summary in either French or English.

AfricArxiv will provide the platform for strategic searches for collaboration partners inside Africa and across continents.

How was AfricArxiv created?

The idea came up at AfricaOSH via Twitter. Open Science  Framework is providing the infrastructure to a community-led effort, which reduces cost and complexity and allows for focus on education about preprints and promotion by AfricArXiv.

We approach individual African scientists to bounce ideas and develop the concept and out to scientists to get involved in recruitment for submissions (PR team), moderation, steering committee advisory board.

Read the AfricArxiv launch press release here: https://cos.io/about/news/center-open-science-and-africarxiv-launch-branded-preprint-service

How is AfricArxiv being managed?

We have a team to work and coordinate the tasks remotely online. After submission, two or more moderators will check the articles for accuracy and relevance.

Who covers the costs of managing AfricArxiv?

There are no significant actual/financial costs involved (other than buying the domain and time) – all efforts and teamwork is on a voluntary basis for the advancement and diversification of science.

Infrastructure provided on OSF, which is developed by the Center for Open Science, a non-profit that build public-goods infrastructure for the research workflow and subsidizes the efforts of numerous community-led efforts aimed at  increasing Open Science practices.

How can African scientists use AfricArxiv?

African scientists can upload both preprint and postprints as well as negative results, code, datasets, theses, also traditional knowledge where applicable and in accordance with the UNDRIP Article 31.

They can also search through the repository to learn what other scientists on the continent are doing in their field of research.

We welcome submissions in English, French and Portuguese as well as local African languages such as Akan, Twi, Swahili, Zulu, … and are building a pool of editors that can edit those submissions. It is often easier to describe your work in your native tongue. Since many African scientists are multilingual later submissions to a peer reviewed journal in French or English won’t be much of a problem.

African scientists who wish to share their manuscripts on AfricArxiv or another preprint repository should check beforehand, if the journal they plan to publish in is in accordance with publishing the manuscript on a preprint repository. Most academic journals do accept preprint publications. We recommend to check the SHERPA/RoMEO service for details or the respective journal’s article sharing policy.

What are the criteria for acceptance?

Policy draft: submissions should meet a certain quality standard and comply with generally good scientific practices and open science principles.

Submission guidelines to be fine-tuned over the next couple of weeks in close exchange with other African scientists. We will build a strong community around the steering community and keep consulting them for continuously optimizing and specifying the platform to the specific requirements in the African research context.

How can supplementary data be added?

With each manuscript you can add supplementaries in any format with unlimited storage. Just click, and drag and drop or select files into each project. You also can integrate from other services like Figshare, Dropbox, or GitHub. See here for example https://osf.io/nuhqx/.

How can I update a manuscript version?

To edit one of your accepted preprints, you can update the DOI entry with a newer version of the article manuscript via your account.
You might also be able to simply add the peer-reviewed article DOI to the current version of the preprint.

– how to do that on OSF: help.osf.io/hc/en-us/articles/360019930573-Edit-Your-Preprint<

Can I publish my work with a different journal after sharing my preprint on AfricArXiv?

AfricArXiv and with our partner platforms is an Open Access preprint repository platform so with us you share our work as green Open Access (self-archiving). Thus yes you can submit your manuscripts to a journal.
We suggest searching through https://www.ajol.info/index.php/ajol and https://doaj.org/ to find a trusted journal to publish your work in at an affordable price re article processing charges (APCs).

How does AfricArXiv know if a researcher needs or requests for a translation for their papers?

Currently, we encourage researchers to provide a translation of their abstract, title, and keywords in a language of their choice. We can assist if necessary with machine translation via DeepL or Google Translate, but those would have to be marked as machine translated.

We do not (yet) recommend translating whole research articles (see our project with DecolSci) for various reasons. However, we are working with initiatives such as Translate Science and in line with the Helsinki Initiative to promote multilingualism and the use of African languages.


Do you have more questions? Email us at info@africarxiv.org