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Publishing in Developing Countries: Problems and Solutions . Introduction. Who am I? Focus of session Academic books Scholarly journals Africa. The international need for national content.

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  • Who am I?
  • Focus of session
    • Academic books
    • Scholarly journals
    • Africa
the international need for national content
The international need for national content
  • A national newspaper, the New Vision, picked up a study published in the Ugandan journal African Health Sciences showing that about half of chloroquine tablets and injections in Uganda are fake or substandard
    • Implications for Malaria research …
    • Implications for efficacy trials of chloroquine …
    • Implications for public health policies …
the need for a local publishing industry
The need for a “local” publishing industry
  • Communicate local/regional science
    • Local/regional scope/problems
    • Local/regional language
  • Develop local capacity in editorship, publishing and writing
  • Acquire and increase credibility
    • Promote research on local problems
    • Encourage the use of science in decision-making
brief history
Brief History
  • 1960s/70s high point for academic community
    • And consequently for academic publishing
  • High government investment in education at all levels
  • Followed by economic and social crash
world bank intervention
World Bank intervention
  • At a meeting with African vice-chancellors in Harare in 1986, the World Bank argued that higher education in African countries in Africa was a luxury: that most African countries were better off closing universities at home and training graduates overseas
  • That position was later modified but the Bank was still calling for universities in Africa to be trimmed and restructured to produce only those skills which the "market" demanded
east african common market
East African Common Market
  • Agreements between Kenya/Tanzania and Uganda to facilitate trade
  • Breakdown in 1970s
    • Difficulties in selling within the region
    • Rapidly rising cost of commodities
      • especially paper
      • Inflation
    • Departure of many of the multinational publishing companies
      • Harder to make sales inter-country – smaller markets
  • Multinationals still control the majority of publishing within the continent
  • Control c.60% educational publishing in South Africa
    • Maskew Miller merged with Longman and now part of Pearson Group reports that they publish approximately one out of every three textbooks in South Africa
  • Main players
    • Pearson (aka Longman)
    • Macmillan
    • OUP / CUP
  • Macmillan main (only?) publisher/book supplier in Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland
    • there is no (reported) local publishing
volume of book production
Volume of book production
  • Little data of publishing within the continent
  • Publishers Association (UK) provide market profiles for some countries – specifically for UK/international publishers to identify possible opportunities
    • Much publishing was/is controlled by government
1995 comparison the most recent year with comparative data
1995 comparison (the most recent year with comparative data)
  • Nigeria: pop.>120m, publication: 1,314 titles
    • 0.1095 per 1000 population
  • South Africa: pop >42m, publication: 5,418 titles
    • 0.129 per 1000 population
  • Norway: pop: 4.55m, publication: 7265 titles (excl. Textbooks)
    • 1.597 per 1000 population
  • Africa has 15% world's population, but produces c.2% total books
  • SA publishers c.80% Africa’s books (pers comm.)

<source, UNESCO Inst for Statistics>

predominance of textbooks
Predominance of textbooks
  • c.95% all books are school textbooks
  • However, market not saturated
    • Tanzania The M-of-E reports book:student ratios 1:4 - 1:7
      • reality is estimated to be lower
      • Many government-subsidised books are diverted to bookshops were the well-to-do buy them
university presses
University presses
  • Created to solve the problems of student textbook publishing
    • Local knowledge/research – appropriate for students
    • Affordable publication
  • Presses
    • Dar es Salaam (1979)
    • Nairobi University Press (1984)
      • Published 40 titles by 2000
    • Makerere University Press (1979)
      • Published 12 titles by 2000
    • Addis Ababa University Press (1967)
university presses14
University presses
  • Weak
  • Poorly funded
  • Expected to make profit
  • Frequently rely on authors to pay for publication
  • Rapid turn-round of (inexperienced, unskilled) staff
    • Addis Ababa, managed by senior faculty member on 3-5yr tenure, relies on volunteers, with permanent staff of 1, plus various admin
  • c.2000 indigenous languages in Africa
    • Some have no written form
    • Kiswahili has >80million speakers (E Africa), written manuscripts since 1000 AD
      • But it is frequently seen as a “market language” – government, culture and education remain in the European tongues
  • Most education is in the language of the coloniser
    • French, Spanish, French
    • Variable fluency in these languages
  • Very small markets or publication in native languages
publishing networks
Publishing networks
  • APNET: African Publishers Network
    • Formed in 1992
    • Provided training for publishers
    • Now, sadly, pretty much inactive
  • Zimbabwe International book fair
    • Annual since 1983, but reduced to provincial event, and now to be replaced by annual event in Cape Town (South Africa) in partnership with Frankfurt
university publishing education
University publishing education
  • Three university courses
    • Moi University (Kenya) (within the school of Information Sciences, and includes librarianship,, archives, records management and publishing)
    • KNUST (Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology), Kumasi, Ghana
    • University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
book publishing solutions
Book publishing solutions
  • Co-publication
    • e.g. James Currey
  • Out-of-Africa distribution
    • African Books Collective
    • African Books Centre
  • Technology
    • POD
Breakout ……
  • What are the benefits and pitfalls of these three solutions
  • What other solutions are there for book publishing in Africa?
african journals indexing
African journals - Indexing …
  • The Library of Congress Nairobi office catalogues c.300 serial publications (mostly scholarly)
  • Index to South African Periodicals includes 680 titles (250 recognised by the Academy of Science of South Africa)
journal titles
Journal titles …
  • Oldest titles include
    • South African Medical Journal, 1884
    • South African Law Journal 1884
    • East African Medical Journal, 1923
  • Most titles launched in 1970s/1980s
  • Large incidence of volume1-issue1 syndrome
journal publishing problems
Journal publishing problems
  • Lack of publishers
    • Most journals are self-published
    • Editors frequently required to manage all publishing processes
    • Little awareness of publishing developments
  • Poor financial sustainability
    • Most owned by association/university, but little financial support
    • Lack of promotion, sales, financial systems
more journal publishing problems
More journal publishing problems
  • Poor editorial content
    • Authors unskilled in writing or publishing
      • Unethical behaviour
      • Low submission rates
    • Difficult peer reviewing (few peers, lack of knowledge about reviewing methodology, corruption, cultural issues)
  • Lack of online publishing
    • Majority of journals in print only
    • Majority of readers want/need print
supporting national publishing
Supporting national publishing
  • Small number of programmes
    • More programmes devoted to getting “Western” information into developing countries
supporting national publishing28
Supporting National publishing
  • Increasing emphasis to include content in health indexes –
    • Medline keen to include African Journals, actively encouraging submission
      • However technical problems due to need for XML submission
    • Re-launch of African Index Medicus (supported by World Health Organization – WHO)
    • Regional indexes, such as the Index Medicus for the Eastern Mediterranean region (WHO)
journal partnerships
Journal partnerships
  • Partnerships –
    • Africa Health Journals Partnership Project
      • funded by the US National Institutes of Health, Fogarty Institute
      • Twinned high-impact African journals to high profile Northern journals (e.g. African Health Science to the BMJ)
      • Provides some financial support for equipment, and digitisation
      • Provides some support for training and study tours
    • ALPSP partnership programme
      • ALPSP Membership for publishers in LDCs paid by existing northern members
publishing skills
Publishing skills
  • Training workshops
    • Editorial
      • Few supported by HINARI, WHO and the Partnership project
    • Publishing skills
      • INASP supported 17 workshops since 2000
  • Study tours
    • Usually short, 2-week visits
  • Oxford Brookes
    • Scholarships for developing country students
online publishing
Online publishing
  • Support for online publishing
    • Websites to host journals – e.g.
      • Bioline -
      • African Journals OnLine -
    • Software
      • Open Journals System (http//
      • Submission/reviewing/tracking/publishing system
      • Open source software for downloading/using
    • Software/online services
      • Index Copernicus (
      • Submission/reviewing/tracking/publishing system
      • Website to host/manage journals
in country support for scholarly publishing
In-country support for scholarly publishing
  • Many national research associations and governments take no direct action on scholarly publishing
    • ASSAf have published a paper on the publishing strategy to be endorsed by the SA Government
    • Association of African Universities (AAU) supported a programme called DATAD (Database of theses and Dissertations), to capture grey literature from 11 organisations in 10 countries, to create an online database
sources of information
Sources of information
  • INASP (International Network for the Availability of Scientific Information)
  • APNET -
  • African Scholarly Publishing Essays (2007) Edited by A Mlambo, published by African Books Collective -
  • The Book Chain in Africa (2002) Compiled and edited by Roger Stringer, published by INASP -
  • Notice about the Africa Health Journals Partnership Project -
  • Third World Academy of Science -
  • SciDevNet - - science journalism
sources of information34
Sources of information
  • UNESCO Institute for Statistics -
  • Report on a Strategic Approach to Research Publishing in South Africa published by the Academy of Science of South Africa -
  • Oforei-Adjei, D. et al. (2006) Have Online International Medical Journals Made Local Journals Obsolete PLoS Medicine 3 (8)
  • Smart, P., Pearce, C., & Tonukari, J. (2004) E-publishing in Developing Economies. Canadian Journal of Communication [Online], 29(3).
  • Nwagwu, W. (2005) Deficits in the visibility of African scientists: implications for developing information and communication technology (ICT) capacity. World Review of Science, Technology and Sustainable Development Vol. 2, No.3/4.
  • Priestley, C. (2000) Book and Publishing Assistance Programs: A review and Inventory. Revised Edition. Bellagio Studies in Publishing, no. 11.