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Open Access Publishing

1.0 Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to provide direction for Science for Africa Foundation (SFA Foundation), those whom it funds and its sponsors, to ensure that all research and associated data are made freely available to others, and to ensure that research resulting from SFA Foundation funding is optimised for the benefit of those who produce it — not for its monetisation by the publisher — and for the greater advancement of science.

2.0 Definitions

Open Access (OA): Refers to free, unrestricted online access to research outputs such as journal articles and books. OA content is open to all immediately upon publication, with no access fees.

Research Data: The recorded factual material commonly accepted in the scientific community as necessary to validate research findings.

Research Findings: The principal output of a research project.

3.0 Policy Statement

3.1 General Statement

The intention of SFA Foundation is to ensure that the research it sponsors is made available for others to reproduce, extend, refute, confirm, etc., to ensure maximum impact of SFA Foundation’s investment.  Maximising the distribution of research data and research findings, by providing free, immediate online access, is the most effective way of ensuring that the research can be shared, read and built upon.

3.2 Budgetary Provisions

SFA Foundation supports open and unrestricted access to the published output of its funded innovations and research. To do so, SFA Foundation will provide grant holders with a budget allocation for Article Processing Charges (APCs) for publishing work Open Access with the following constraints:

  1. APCs not to exceed US$2,500 per full research article and each data deposition respectively;
  2. Publication must meet the standard of “Gold Open Access”, i.e., immediate access with zero embargo, authors retain all rights under a license that meets or exceeds the standard of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY), all data upon which research claims are made are also made fully available/searchable/minable and there is a robust archival function that assures persistent availability of the full research output;
  3. Publication must not be in a predatory journal or platform.  A journal or platform is considered non-predatory if it is listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) AND/OR is indexed in PubMed or other global indexes, AND/OR has a demonstrable record of rigorous peer review (before or after publication), transparent pricing and a reputable, confirmable editorial or advisory board of relevant experts.

SFA Foundation is opposed to the limitation of scientists and technologists to access recent research findings, as well as reference materials and databases, by requiring subscription for access.

3.3 Open Research Africa (ORA)

Open Research Africa (ORA), serviced by F1000, is the publishing platform sponsored by the SFA Foundation. It offers SFA Foundation-affiliated researchers the opportunity to publish their work immediately, with transparent peer review on a platform that is fully and immediately accessible and accepts varied research outputs. Those eligible for submission of work to ORA include any researcher or student who receives or has received funding from the SFA Foundation, SFA Foundation Fellows, SFA Foundation Affiliates, SFA Foundation professional staff or any researcher affiliated with an ORA partner organization. The APCs for these SFA Foundation-associated authors will be paid by SFA Foundation through the mechanisms in 6.3 below.

Further, authors associated with ORA “Gateway Partners” also qualify to publish on Open Research Africa under the terms established between the Partner organisation and F1000. SFA Foundation does not provide funds for or facilitate payment of the APCs of these authors.

Open Research Africa publishes submissions, after ethical and technical checks, prior to peer review. Once the research passes peer review, it is indexed on PubMed, Google Scholar, SCOPUS and all other major indexes. 

Outputs that are eligible for submission to ORA include traditional research articles, methods, datasets, case reports, null findings and/or any output that can be subjected to critical review by peers. 

4.0 Grant Holder Obligations

4.1 Research Data from SFA Foundation-funded Innovators and Researchers

  1. Open access to research data resulting from SFA Foundation funding must be available in an easy, accelerated, user-friendly format that is Internet-based;
  2. Data access arrangements should respect the legal rights and legitimate interests of all stakeholders. SFA Foundation acknowledges that access to, and use of, certain research data may be limited by various types of legal requirements;
  3. Institutional arrangements for the management of research data must be based on relevant professional standards and values embodied in the codes of conduct of the scientific communities involved;
  4. The value and utility of research data depends, to a large extent, on the quality of the data itself. SFA Foundation grantees should pay particular attention to ensuring compliance with explicit quality standards.

4.2 Research Findings from SFA Foundation-funded Innovators and Researchers

  1. Must maximise opportunities to make their results available for free through open access publishing;
  2. Must ensure that electronic copies of any research outputs that have been accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal or platform and are supported in whole or in part by the SFA Foundation are made available in perpetuity through relevant and suitable repositories immediately upon publication; this requirement applies to all grants regardless of award date;
  3. Must license research papers using the Creative Commons Attribution Licence (CC-BY) such that research outputs may be freely copied and available for re-use (for example, for text and data-mining purposes), provided that such uses are fully attributed; this applies in all cases where an APC is paid by the SFA Foundation. The requirement to publish under a CC-BY licence only applies to research articles.

Related policies: Policy on Undertaking and Acceptance of Grants

For any queries on this policy, please contact [email protected]