The African Academy of Sciences, in partnership with F1000, is launching a publication platform, AAS Open Research, to enable AAS funded and affiliated researchers to publish immediately and without barriers. AAS Open Research will showcase African research on the global stage in an immediate and transparent way.
AAS Open Research will join a growing number of funder publication platforms, such as those operated on behalf of Wellcome and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and soon Ireland’s Health Research Board. The platforms are based on a model developed by F1000Research, which uses immediate publication and transparent post-publication peer review.
The platform will launch in early 2018, AAS- affiliated researcher and those funded through the funding and science agenda platform that the Academy created with the NEPAD Agency, the Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA) will be able to publish there.
Research from lower income economies is often perceived differently from that of high income countries*, which can influence whether an article is published or rejected by a journal. AAS Open Research addresses this issue, because AAS Fellows and AESA-funded researchers, rather than editors, decide when and what they wish to publish, creating a level playing field with research from the rest of the world.
Once published on AAS Open Research, all articles will undergo transparent peer review by experts from around the world. Peer review will be driven by authors themselves, within strict criteria. Peer review reports, together with names and affiliations of the reviewers, will be published alongside the articles. Authors have the option to revise the article in response to reviewer comments, publishing new versions at their discretion. With all articles, the underlying data and any associated software code will be freely available to anyone.
AAS Open Research will be especially beneficial to early career researchers, building capacity within the research community. The immediacy will help enable early career researchers to complete qualifications, so they can progress their careers. In addition, transparency throughout the publication process facilitates the ability of researchers to develop and sustain the skills needed to effectively share and discuss their research broadly.
Prof Nelson Torto, AAS Executive Director, said: “The benefits to researchers will be multi-faceted. The platform will be fully open access, allowing for increased visibility of research generated from the continent and to underlying datasets, which will transform research into a powerful resource for educating future generations of scientists, solving Africa’s pressing and common challenges; and facilitate delivery through AAS’s vision of driving scientific and technological development in Africa,” said AAS Executive.
Dr Dixon Chibanda, the Programme Director for the Zimbabwe-based African Mental Health Research Initiative (AMARI) funded through AESA, said: “This is a gamechanger for the AAS and the African research community. It will empower researchers to access existing research, build upon it to contribute to the development of the continent and to publish quickly for the benefit of their careers and to connect more easily with their peers across the continent.”
Dr Rebecca Lawrence, Managing Director of F1000, said: “I am very excited that we are partnering with the AAS to put African research on a level playing field with research from around the globe. This will enable the AAS and Africa to leapfrog what many other countries and funders are only now starting to recognise as a quicker, more efficient and more transparent way of publishing.”
More information AAS Open Research is available on the website: https://aasopenresearch.org
*Does a research article’s country of origin affect perception of its quality and relevance? A national trial of US public health researchers: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4710821/