Open access in Ethiopia

EIFL helps launch an open access publishing platform and supports open access policy discussions and training

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Photo of Aklilu Dessalegn (Managing Editor, The Ethiopian Journal of Business and Economics, EJOL) and Solomon Mekonnen (EJOL, AAUL and EIFL-OA country coordinator).
Open Access publishing champions: Aklilu Dessalegn (Managing Editor, The Ethiopian Journal of Business and Economics, EJOL) and Solomon Mekonnen (EJOL, AAUL and EIFL-OA country coordinator).

BACKGROUND

Addis Ababa University Libraries (AAUL) has been advocating for open access in collaboration with Consortium of Ethiopian Academic and Research Libraries (CEARL). AAUL launched an open access Electronic Theses and Dissertations repository in 2007 as a pilot project with Graduate School.

The objectives behind the project: to increase the availability, visibility, and access of AAU’s student research for scholars; preserve AAU’s thesis and dissertations electronically; make submission and handling of theses and dissertations less costly and more efficient; and teach students the ins and outs of electronic publishing and self archiving.

AAUL has implemented and manages the repository that currently contains more than 13,300 open access thesis and dissertation.

AAUL celebrated International Open Access Week in 2011-2016 to create awareness on open access through discussions and showcases. However, open access movement in Ethiopia was at its infancy stage with only few institutions contributing their research and heritage output to the global knowledge resource of which Addis Ababa University and Forum for Social Studies have open access institutional repositories.

As part of coordinating open access movement in Ethiopia, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed in 2013 among Ethiopian universities and research institutes to enhance the visibility and accessibility of Ethiopian research outputs by establishing open access National Digital Repository.

There are more than 100 journals that are published in Ethiopia,  but only a few are openly available by participating in the African Journals Online (AJOL) project. The rest of the journals are either print only, or available using a simple website which hinders their visibility and interoperability.

OVERVIEW

The Open access in Ethiopia project worked with journal editors and publishers as well as with librarians and researchers to improve the visibility and accessibility of Ethiopian Journals to the world by promoting open access publishing and implementing the Open Journal Systems (OJS).

OJS is a journal management and publishing system that has been developed by the Public Knowledge Project through its federally funded efforts to expand and improve access to research.

The Open access in Ethiopia was supported by EIFL and managed and run by AAUL in partnership with CEARL and the Vice President Office for Research and Technology Transfer of AAU. In order to qualify to participate in the project, journals had to meet the following criteria: they should publish scholarly content with original research; should be peer reviewed and quality controlled, and published within Ethiopia.

MAIN ACTIVITIES

Hosting a series of meetings, workshops and training for researchers and students, research administrators and policy makers, as well as university presses and society publishers so that to improve their awareness on open access publishing and skill on OJS.

Installing OJS and training journal editors on using it.

TIMELINE

June 2013 - ongoing.

ACHIEVEMENTS

  • Open access publishing platform has been set up: Ethiopian Journals Online (EJOL) has been launched to publish open access journals using OJS. Four  journals have already started using EJOL.
  • Awareness of open access and skills in open access publishing have been improved: Over 150 journal editors and publishers, researchers and students, research administrators and policy makers attended the project events on open access publishing.
  • Support for journal editors and publishers was established: EJOL helps in setting up the journal, provides training for editorial staff, guarantees backups and technical support along the way, supports in copyright managements and digitisation, creates opportunities for networking.

PROGRESS

  • In 2014, EIFL together with AAUL, the Vice President Office for Research and Technology Transfer of AAU and CEARL co-hosted an OA policy workshop to advocate the need for institutional OA policy and encourage University officials to articulate one for Addis Ababa University. An OA policy draft has been developed that includes open access publishing provisions and it is currently being discussed by AAU faculty and research administrators.
  • In 2015 EIFL supported a workshop on open research data for AAU and selected members of CEARL to train researchers, research administrators and librarians on the importance of making research data openly available and discuss open research data policies in universities and best practices in data sharing.
  • In 2017 AAUL and CEARL hosted EIFL open science train-the-trainer workshop and AAU plans to launch open access, open research data and open science training for PhD students.