Social justice driving open access publishing: an African perspective

Authors : Reggie Raju, Auliya Badrudeen

The OA movement is generally considered to have been founded for the truly philanthropic purpose of promoting equity and inclusivity in access to scholarship. For Africans, this meant the opening of the research ecosystem to marginalized research communities who could then freely make use of shared research to aid in the socio-economic development and emancipation of the continent.

However, this philanthropic purpose has been deviated from, leading instead to the disenfranchisement of the African research community. Through systemic inequalities embedded in the scholarly ecosystem, the publishing landscape has been northernised, with research from the global north sitting at the very top of the knowledge hierarchy to the exclusion of Africa and other parts of the global south.

For this reason, progressive open access practices and policies need to be adopted, with an emphasis on social justice as an impetus, to enhance the sharing and recognition of African scholarship, while also bridging the ‘research-exchange’ divide that exists between the global south and north.

Furthermore, advocates of open access must collaborate to create equal opportunities for African voices to participate in the scholarly landscape through the creation and dissemination of global south research. Thusly, the continental platform was developed by the University of Cape Town.

This platform was developed around the concept of a tenant model to act as a contributor to social justice-driven open access advocacy, and as a disruptor of the unjust knowledge hierarchies that exist.

URL : Social justice driving open access publishing: an African perspective