Scholarly Publishing in Africa: The Online Potential, the Online Challenge

Samuel Smith-Esseh


A number of efforts have been made to document the nature scope of scientific publishing in Africa. A careful examination of existing literature on the state of scholarly publishing in Africa has been created by the accumulation of anecdotal information; others are given credence by hard data that, while verifiable, do not offer a broad enough picture of the current situation. In any event, there is an erroneous perception of scholarly publishing in Africa, and in response, certain lexicons and rhetoric have been mobilized to describe the situation. This study therefore aimed at providing a more accurate and factual description of the current state of scholarly publishing in Africa through an empirical study designed to elicit information from active participants within the scholarly community - authors, editors, publishers, graduate students, faculty, scientists, librarians, IT staff and university administrators. The data therefore presented here is a new picture, one that is not impressionistic, but founded upon a carefully analyzed evidence. The data is reviewed in light of the opportunities arising from technological progress, particularly the Internet ... and how this speaks to the all important issue of expanding knowledge resources in Africa to the benefit of the global scholarly community.