Africa’s challenges in the OA movement: risks and possibilities

Purpose The purpose of this paper is to assess the status of the open access (OA) movement on the African continent, and if there is any financial or moral exploitation by dominant “foreign” world powers. OA provided the African intellectual community with a tool to prove its academic prowess and an opportunity to display cultural and intellectual independence. OA publishing is prone to abuse, and some in Africa have sought to exploit the OA boom to profit from non-academic activity rather than use this tool to glorify Africa’s image and diversity on the global intellectual stage. These issues are explored in detail in the paper. Design/methodology/approach The authors broadly assessed literature that is related to the growth and challenges associated with OA, including the rise of OA mega journals, in Africa. Findings African OA journals and publishers have to compete with established non-African OA entities. Some are considered “predatory”, but this Jeffrey Beall-based classification may be erroneous. Publishing values that African OA publishers and journals aspire to should not equal those published by non-African publishing entities. Africa should seek solutions to the challenges on that continent via Africa-based OA platforms. The budding African OA movement is applauded, but it must be held as accountable as any other OA journal or publisher. Originality/value African scholars need to reassess the “published in Africa” OA image.
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