P129
Why is research from Africa invisible?

Convenors:
Stephanie Kitchen (International African Institute)
Jos Damen (African Studies Centre Leiden)
Discussant:
Lester Isaacs (Sales & Marketing Manager at NISC Publishers), Tom Odhiambo (Co-Editor of Eastern African Literary & Cultural Studies)
Format:
Panels
Location:
PG0VS
Start time:
29 June, 2017 at 9:00
Session slots:
1

Short abstract:

African higher education is changing, knowledge production increasing. African publishing is central to the future of African studies. What does this mean for research output, libraries and collaborations with the North? What interventions are there to address the low profile of African research?

Long abstract:

The African higher education landscape is changing: there are more universities and students. There is evidence of increased knowledge production including through non-traditional avenues. Funding is being diversified. Education is re-gaining priority. There are debates about the kinds of knowledge being prioritised. Infrastructure is improving, e-resources are coming. The post-independence universities are reconstructing themselves, though differently from in the 1960s/70s. African publishing is central to the future of African studies - what does this mean for research and education resources, for journals, books, libraries, repositories, archives, publishers, across Africa? For collaborations with institutions in the North? Perennial problems persist: market dominance by Northern publishers, book donation distorting local production, piracy, barriers to access. There remains a lack of resources for the infrastructure supporting knowledge production: IT, digital printing facilities and distribution. Academic libraries, journals and institutional publishers remain weak. And beyond - the influence of Impact Factors and Google Scholar; the future of peer review; the consultancy culture; brain drain; curtailment of academic freedom; the challenges of language; distortions in academic reward systems in both South and North privileging the North. Whilst fundamental solutions are plainly necessary, what examples of interventions are there to address the low profile of African research? Academic collaborations, training for publishers and librarians, prizes, locally-authored books, new regional journals, repositories and digitization, Open Access? 
This panel welcomes proposals on these topics from those active in research and practice in areas of knowledge production and dissemination in relation to Africa and African studies.