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How African Researchers Can Lead the Way in Global Science Communication


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Elizabeth Marincola

African Academy of Sciences, Nairobi, Kenya

Scientists everywhere in the world experience similar frustrations in disseminating the results of their research: delays of months or more; access constraints; bias resulting from opaque peer review; incomplete availability of data, and the tyranny of the Journal Impact Factor, which induces scientists to chase acceptance in a succession of journals, hoping to publish in the one with the highest possible JIF – exacerbating the delay problem. African scientists are subject to all these barriers, with amplified effects resulting from the status of many as relatively unknown, often from unknown institutions. This presents researchers in Africa and other low- and middle-income countries to an uneven playing field and thus even higher barriers to entry to compete in what is increasingly a global science landscape. Yet because of relative lack of legacy and the acceleration of quality research output on the Continent, African STM publishing is positioned to “leap frog” to a better global solution for science communication. These conditions have shown to lead to extraordinary leadership in Africa in other industries, such as mobile money and energy. We believe that open publishing platforms represent a welcome evolution to sharing knowledge and discovery without waste and unnecessary delay. African scientists are positioned to not just "catch up" with more developed countries, but to lead globe in enlightened science communication.

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