Voices of Silence: Experiences in Disseminating Scholarship as a Global South Researcher: Teaching and Learning in Medicine: Vol 0, No 0

Abstract:  Issue: There is an unspoken requirement that medical education researchers living in the Global South must disseminate their work using dominant frames constructed by individuals living in the Global North. As such, the published literature in our field is dominated by researchers whose work primarily benefits the Western world, casting the rest of what is published as localized and unhelpful knowledge. In this article, we use Audre Lorde’s conception of the Master’s house as a metaphor to narrate the experiences of two South African medical education researchers trying to disseminate their work into North American venues. In addition to narrating these stories, we describe the personal and professional consequences they experienced as a result of their efforts. Evidence: For researchers working outside of the Global North, entering the Master’s formidable house is daunting, and there is no clear pathway in. These narratives illustrate how reviewers and editorial staff act as gatekeepers, continuously shaping ideas about what it means to do acceptable research, and who is allowed to disseminate it within the field. These narratives also show that those who have been rejected by these gatekeepers are often conflicted about their position within the larger field of medical education. Implications: To begin to address this issue, we have made several suggestions for the research community to consider. First, medical education research journals need to create spaces for researchers publishing from the Global South. One suggestion is for journals to create a submission type that is dedicated to researchers working outside of North America. Second, journals should also include more Global South editors and reviewers to help with knowledge translation when articles are submitted from outside North America. If our collective goal is to improve the training of physicians and the health outcomes of humanity, then we need to renovate the Master’s house and begin to break down the barriers that separate us from truly building together.

Partners in Library Publishing: Florida State University, University of Cape Town | Feb 2023

“…we now launch a new blog post series, Library Publishing Through the IFLA Global Lens. This series will showcase the work of library publishers around the world, provide an opportunity to get to know the people who are working in this exciting field of librarianship, and highlight the diversity of perspectives on and approaches to library publishing globally. Our first two contributors are Jill Claassen [JC] and Devin Soper [DS].

Describe your work in library publishing?

JC: I work at the University of Cape Town (UCT) Libraries, in Cape Town, South Africa and oversee scholarly communication and publishing. Library publishing started in 2016, when the library didn’t have much skills in this area, but we were able to call on the assistance of the Public Knowledge Project initially.  At that time, we published our first open access journal, which was a student journal and then started publishing open monographs and textbooks. We now have six open access journals, and 23 open access monographs and textbooks, with a lot of the skills now self-taught amongst the staff, using Open Journal Systems (OJS) and Open Monograph Press (OMP). This diamond open access publishing service ensures that local publications are available, accessible and discoverable to an African audience, first and foremost, and then to the rest of the world. We have two full time staff in the scholarly communication and publishing section at UCT Libraries. However, as our Research and Learning’s (one of two divisions in UCT Libraries) structure is based on functional librarianship, library publishing is one of the services that form part of the job description of library staff. Thus, we are able to have a thriving library publishing service at UCT because we have a flexible staff structure.

DS: I work at Florida State University (FSU) Libraries in Tallahassee, Florida, where I lead a small team that supports our library publishing program, Florida State Open Publishing (FSOP)….”

The evolving role of research ethics committees in the era of open data | South African Journal of Bioethics and Law

Abstract:  While open science gains prominence in South Africa with the encouragement of open data sharing for research purposes, there are stricter laws and regulations around privacy – and specifically the use, management and transfer of personal information – to consider. The Protection of Personal Information Act No. 4 of 2013 (POPIA), which came into effect in 2021, established stringent requirements for the processing of personal information and has changed the regulatory landscape for the transfer of personal information across South African borders. At the same time, draft national policies on open science encourage wide accessibility to data and open data sharing in line with international best practice. As a result, the operation of research ethics committees (RECs) in South Africa is affected by the conflicting demands of the shift towards open science on the one hand, and the stricter laws protecting participants’ personal information and the transfer thereof, on the other. This article explores the continuing evolving role of RECs in the era of open data and recommends the development of a data transfer agreement (DTA) for the ethical management of personal health information, considering the challenges that RECs encounter, which centres predominantly on privacy, data sharing and access concerns following advances in genetic and genomic research and biobanking.


Frontiers | Open access and its potential impact on public health – A South African perspective

Abstract:  Traditionally, access to research information has been restricted through journal subscriptions. This means that research entities and individuals who were unable to afford subscription costs did not have access to journal articles. There has however been a progressive shift toward electronic access to journal publications and subsequently growth in the number of journals available globally. In the context of electronic journals, both open access and restricted access options exist. While the latter option is comparable to traditional, subscription-based paper journals, open access journal publications follow an “open science” publishing model allowing scholarly communications and outputs to be publicly available online at no cost to the reader. However, for readers to enjoy open access, publication costs are shifted elsewhere, typically onto academic institutions and authors. SARS-CoV-2, and the resulting COVID-19 pandemic have highlighted the benefits of open science through accelerated research and unprecedented levels of collaboration and data sharing. South Africa is one of the leading open access countries on the African continent. This paper focuses on open access in the South African higher education research context with an emphasis on our Institution and our own experiences. It also addresses the financial implications of open access and provides possible solutions for reducing the cost of publication for researchers and their institutions. Privacy in open access and the role of the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) in medical research and secondary use of data in South Africa will also be discussed.


Frontiers | Open science and Big Data in South Africa

“With the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) project and the new Multi-Purpose Reactor (MPR) soon coming on-line, South Africa and other collaborating countries in Africa will need to make the management, analysis, publication, and curation of “Big Scientific Data” a priority. In addition, the recent draft Open Science policy from the South African Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) requires both Open Access to scholarly publications and research outputs, and an Open Data policy that facilitates equal opportunity of access to research data. The policy also endorses the deposit, discovery and dissemination of data and metadata in a manner consistent with the FAIR principles – making data Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Re-usable (FAIR). The challenge to achieve Open Science in Africa starts with open access for research publications and the provision of persistent links to the supporting data. With the deluge of research data expected from the new experimental facilities in South Africa, the problem of how to make such data FAIR takes center stage. One promising approach to make such scientific datasets more “Findable” and “Interoperable” is to rely on the Dataset representation of the Schema.org vocabulary which has been endorsed by all the major search engines. The approach adds some semantic markup to Web pages and makes scientific datasets more “Findable” by search engines. This paper does not address all aspects of the Open Science agenda but instead is focused on the management and analysis challenges of the “Big Scientific Data” that will be produced by the SKA project. The paper summarizes the role of the SKA Regional Centers (SRCs) and then discusses the goal of ensuring reproducibility for the SKA data products. Experiments at the new MPR neutron source will also have to conform to the DSI’s Open Science policy. The Open Science and FAIR data practices used at the ISIS Neutron source at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in the UK are then briefly described. The paper concludes with some remarks about the important role of interdisciplinary teams of research software engineers, data engineers and research librarians in research data management.”

Call for proposals – Open Repositories 2023

Repositories unlocked for discovery and interoperability

The web was designed as an information space with the goal that it should be useful not only for human-human communication, but also to allow communication facilitated by machines. The OR2023 conference will focus on the practices of the international repositories community to develop and implement the standards, frameworks, architectures, and methodologies for open repositories to serve as knowledge representation databases for the structured web of data.

Invitation to participate
OR2023 will provide an opportunity to explore and reflect on the ways repositories enable discoverability and interoperability of information and data within the structured web of data. How can we better utilize repositories for machine interoperability? How can we develop the capacity of institutions to implement sustainable open repositories to improve data equity worldwide?…”

Wits University partners with ChronosHub to implement an automated APC management system | STM Publishing News

“Over the last decade, Wits has more than tripled the number of research outputs published annually, with the share of Open Access (OA) publications increasing even faster. Today, about 50% of Wits’ more than 3,000 research articles are gold or hybrid OA, which require complex processes for handling payments of Article Processing Charges (APCs). 

Through the ChronosHub platform, Wits will automate much of the otherwise manual work required to manage the APC invoices. Data collection is facilitated through many integrations with publisher systems combined with AI-technology for scanning invoices. This gives Wits an overview of all APC funding requests across all publishers on a single approval dashboard directly highlighting which approval criteria that are met or not for each invoice. Upon approval, ChronosHub also pays the publishers directly instead of the authors going through a complicated reimbursement process….”

Open Repositories 2023 –

“It is with pleasure that we invite you to the 18th Open Repositories Conference (OR 2023). The conference will be held from 12-15 June 2023 at the Lord Charles Hotel, Somerset West, close to Stellenbosch, South Africa.

The theme for the conference will be Repositories unlocked for machine and humankind.

More information on the theme and the Call for Papers will be made available in forthcoming announcements….”

A Fair Pricing Model for Open Access

“A pay-per-article publishing model raises issues of regional and global equity. In Europe, the implied price per article in transformative agreements varies from one country to another, based on no rationale other than historical subscription spending. Globally, APCs for individual open-access articles are identical for customers from Norway to India, irrespective of their income levels.

This is a peculiar and possibly unique global pricing model. The local prices of products and services with a global reach—think of medication, soft drinks or cinema tickets—typically vary with local purchasing power. They cost what the market can bear. Even old-fashioned subscriptions take local purchasing power into account, leading to differentiated prices for the same service.

It is unclear why APCs and transformative agreements are not priced as a function of what local markets can bear. The consequence, however, is stark: for the most part, researchers and institutions based in lower- and middle-income countries simply cannot afford either of these pay-per-article models. While some of these countries have negotiated cost-neutral transformative agreements, it is not clear whether these are equitable in terms of local purchasing power.

In much of the world, the money is not there to pay APCs geared to the richest nations—especially as APCs have consistently risen faster than inflation. Countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development spend an average of 2.2 per cent of gross domestic product on R&D. For the United States, the figure is 3.5 per cent. In Latin America and the Caribbean, in contrast, the average is 0.7 per cent, while South Africa’s figure of 0.75 per cent is well above the continent’s average of just 0.4 per cent….”

2022 Open Distance and e-Learning Virtual Conference

“One of the most exciting aspects of research on open distance and e-learning (ODeL) is that there is still so much to be discovered. Despite an exponential increase in research on ODeL worldwide and in South Africa over the past decade, researchers are still not only scratching the surface of the possibilities that beckon in this vital field, but are also grappling with the complexities of ensuring effective teaching and supporting student success and retention. There is vast scope for inquiring minds to set a research agenda in ODeL and generate findings that can help shape people’s futures for the better….”


U.S., EU, India, S.Africa reach compromise on COVID vaccine IP waiver text | Reuters

“The United States, European Union, India and South Africa have reached a consensus on key elements of a long-sought intellectual property waiver for COVID-19 vaccines, according to a proposed text reviewed by Reuters.

Sources familiar with the talks described the text as a tentative agreement among the four World Trade Organization members that still needs formal approvals from the parties before it can be considered official. Any agreement must be accepted by the WTO’s 164 member countries in order to be adopted….

The document authorizes use of “patented subject matter required for the production and supply of COVID-19 vaccines without the consent of the right holder to the extent necessary to address the COVID-19 pandemic”.

It said IP rights would also be waived for ingredients and processes necessary for COVID-19 vaccine manufacture, a move aimed at granting critical know-how to many countries lacking expertise, especially for advanced mRNA-type vaccines….”

Simplicity, flexibility, equity – IFLA submits comments on South Africa’s Copyright Amendment Bill – IFLA

“IFLA has responded to a call for comments on the South African Copyright Amendment Bill, highlighting the need to reject proposals that will have a chilling effect on the work of libraries, and deepen divisions in terms of access to education, knowledge and culture.”

Virtual Stakeholder Workshop to consult on the draft South African Open Science Policy – 22.02.22 – YouTube

“The successful development of the South African Open Science Policy is contingent on broad-based consultations and inputs from stakeholders across the entire National System of Innovation. The Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), in partnership with the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) and Universities South Africa (USAf), is hosting the online Stakeholder Workshop to facilitate this broad-based consultation….”

South Africa’s draft open science policy promises shake-up – Research Professional News

“All publicly-funded research conducted in South Africa will have to be published in open access journals under a draft national open science policy released this week.

The draft was published on 15 February by the Academy of Science of South Africa, ahead of a workshop to discuss it on 22 February. It was drawn up under the leadership of Ahmed Bawa, the chief executive of Universities South Africa….

The draft policy suggests the establishment of a “national forum” to promote best practice in open science. Researchers will also be offered as-yet unspecified incentives to encourage them to publish in open-access journals….

The policy recommends that a national agency be established to curate publicly-funded research data. Also on the cards is a “federated open science infrastructure” which will make it easier for everyone to access research outputs….

Virtual Stakeholder Workshop to Consult on the Draft South African Open Science Policy

“The  development of the South African Open Science Policy is contingent on broad-based consultations and inputs from stakeholders across the entire NSI.To facilitate this broad-based consultation, the DSI, Universities South Africa and ASSAf, invites you to an online stakeholder workshop.”