A network of scientific journals and greater access to scientific information is the outcome of recent webinars organized in Angola.
The initiative was hosted by the Óscar Ribas University in Luanda, Angola in cooperation with UNESCO, the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Technology and Innovation in Angola, and Redalyc/AmeliCa of the Autonomous University of the State of Mexico to discuss the role of Open Access to enhance the research process and promote interdisciplinary research. The five-part webinar series, held between 29 July and 26 August 2020, considered how to create, manage and index scientific journals with an emphasis on Open Access.
The webinars were organized as a critical response to “the need to take measures to enhance scientific output in Angola” as recommended in the UNESCO Science Report (2015). Between 2010-2019, approximately 30 articles from Angola have been published in international Open Access Journals.
During the webinars, available platforms to host online repositories were identified and analysed; existing journal production workflows were reviewed; criteria were established for the accreditation for national scientific journals. The webinars assessed capacity building needs in Open Access so that the Angolan representatives of scientific journals and technical-scientific book publishers can play an active role in publishing openly licensed research.
The webinars also set the stage to initiate yet another long-term cooperation between UNESCO, the Angolan National Commission for UNESCO and the Government of Angola to develop a national policy for Open Access. Highlighting the significance of the webinar series Mr Eurico Wongo Gungula, the Rector of Óscar Ribas University noted “Angola is looking forward to work with UNESCO and other partners to advance its activities on Open Access, which will help democratize scientific knowledge and increase the visibility of Angola’s scientific scholarship”.
Speaking at the closing ceremony, the Minister of Higher Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr. Maria do Rosário Bragança Sambo, underscored the popularity of the webinars adding that “this seminar had an overwhelming global interest”. With 696 registrants from 24 countries, on an average 302 participants participated each webinar. It is also relevant to note that there was a remarkable participation of experts from the Angolan diaspora.
The objectives of the webinars - to assess capacity; review existing journal production; to establish criteria for the accreditation of national scientific journals – “were fully achieved and expectations were exceeded”, said Minister Maria do Rosário Bragança Sambo.
The Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Technology and Innovation in close collaboration with the Óscar Ribas University and other institutions and organizations in Angola, will continue to work with international partners such as UNESCO, REDALYC/AMELICA to create an Angolan Network of Scientific Journals. The minister highlighted that “the network will be responsible for parameterizing and evaluating journals, which will be useful for the advancement of academics involved in higher education and scientific research. Further, it will be interconnected with the international databases to leverage the possibility of global visibility of Angolan researchers.”
Stressing the need for enhanced south-south collaboration, the Executive Director of Redalyc/Amelica, Mr. Eduardo Aguado Lopez pointed to the “need to think of Open Access from the Global South perspective”. He further asserted the readiness of Redalyc/AmeliCA to support UNESCO and Angola’s planned initiative to increase scientific outputs in Angola and in the adoption of good practices related to scientific publications, scientific research and editorial processes of scientific journals.
UNESCO promotes Open Access with emphasis on scientific information (journal articles, conference papers and datasets of various kinds) emanating from publicly funded research. UNESCO, in cooperation with several partners, works to improve awareness about the benefits of Open Access among policy makers, researchers and knowledge managers. Open Access to scientific research benefits researchers, innovators, teachers, students, media professionals and the general public. It promotes global knowledge flow for the benefit of scientific discovery, innovation and socio-economic development.