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Towards Sustainable Open Access Book Publishing in the African Context: Workshop Programme, Slides & Resources

A three day workshop hosted by the University of Cape Town exploring how to build a more sustainable future for Open Access book publishing in the African continent

Published onJan 30, 2024
Towards Sustainable Open Access Book Publishing in the African Context: Workshop Programme, Slides & Resources

University of Cape Town Library
7, 8, 9 February 2024

Partners: Open Book Collective, Association of African Universities, African Platform for Open Scholarship (formerly Continental Platform), Lancaster University, Thoth, OAPEN/DOAB

This 3-day workshop explored challenges that inhibit a sustainable open access book publishing ecosystem with the remit of developing interventions that contribute and/or accelerate the growth of African scholarship. The event was designed to respond to barriers and needs related to Open Access book publishers and initiatives across the African continent. It provided a space for skills development, sharing experiences, expertise, and for learning about new developments in the support and funding of Open Access book publishing. Participants shared ideas for next steps towards the realization of an equitable and sustainable OA landscape for books across in an African context.


Attendees can add their feedback on the event via our short survey.

Day 1 (Wednesday, February 7)

9:00 Welcome: University of Cape Town

Ms. Ujala Satgoor, Executive Director UCT Libraries

9:15 The Association of African Universities and Open Research

Prof. Olusola Bandele Oyewole, Association of African Universities

Plenary talk (20 mins) followed by questions


10:00 Break

10:30 Promise and peril for Open Access in a global context and the role of Open Book Futures

Joe Deville, Lancaster University/Open Book Collective

Plenary talk (20 mins) followed by questions

Presentation slides

11:00 Open session: Capacity building in Open Access publishing

All delegates introduce themselves and their institutions and provide one concrete suggestion for how they can support capacity building in book publishing within their networks/contexts (2 minutes max)

12:30 Lunch

13:30 Introducing OA publishing initiatives

African Sun Media: Nirode Bramdaw
University of Johannesburg Press: Wikus Van Zyl
Directory of Open Access Books: Niels Stern
Thoth: Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei
punctum books: Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei

Introductions (10 mins per speaker) to a range of OA publishers and infrastructure providers, followed by questions

Presentation slides

15:00 Break

15:30 Breakout session: Getting concrete in OA book publishing

Delegates divide into three groups, and choose to discuss one of three themes, then return to the group to report on the outcomes of discussions

  • Repositories, metadata & distribution
    Chairs: Niels Stern & Mary-Felix Maina (DOAB/OAPEN), Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei (punctum books/Thoth)

  • Publishing OA books: Funding, practicalities, strategies
    Chairs: Nirode Bramdaw (African Sun Media), Jill Claassen (UCT Library), Joe Deville (Lancaster University/Open Book Collective)

  • Network building and advocacy (including to researchers, managers & politicians)
    Chairs: Jordy Findanis (OAPEN/DOAB), Judith Fathallah (Lancaster University/Coventry University/Open Book Collective)

17:00 Close

Day 2 (Thursday, February 8) 

9:30 Building resources for OA publishing: Introducing the OAPEN OA Books Toolkit and the OBC Toolkit for Small and Scholar-led Publishers

Niels Stern, DOAB/OAPEN
Joe Deville, Lancaster University/Open Book Collective

Presentations (15 mins per speaker) followed by collective discussion and ideas sharing on what further resources still need to be developed to better support African OA book publishing

Presentation slides

10:45 Break

11:15 OA Publishing and the Production Process

Francois van Schalkwyk, African Minds
Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei, punctum books

Two scholar-led OA publishers provide introductions (15 mins per speaker) to the production processes used by their OA presses, including exploring the challenges they experience as scholar-led OA presses, and what responses they have developed. Followed by questions and collective discussion. Chair: Judith Fathallah

Presentation slides

12:30 Lunch

13:30 Breakout Session: Sharing and dispelling OA myths amongst scholars, librarians and senior management and understanding their concerns

Delegates divide into groups to share the concerns they have or have encountered from authors, fellow librarians and senior management within their institutions about publishing OA in an African context, what strategies colleagus have used to address these concerns, and what resources would help them address myths and scepticism about OA in future. Delegates then come back together and report back to the group what they discussed and what resources need to be developed. Chair: Joe Deville

15:00 Break

15:30 Lightning talks: Getting published in an OA context

Judith Fathallah (author), Lancaster University/Coventry University
Joe Deville (author & publisher), Mattering Press
Jill Claassen (publisher), UCT Press
Paul Munej (author), University of Dar es Salaam

Rapid talks (5 mins per speaker) from authors and publishers on the challenges of proposing and/or assessing book publication projects in an OA context. Followed by questions and collective discussion. Chair: Mary-Felix Maina 

Presentation slides

17:00 Close. 

Day 3 (Friday, February 9) 

9:00 Copyright practices and challenges

Lena Nyahodza, University of Cape Town
Niels Stern, OAPEN/DOAB

Presentations (10 mins per speaker) on copyright challenges, including in an African context and for Open Access books as compared to other scholarly outputs, followed by collective discussion


10:00 Break. 

10.10 Working towards a more open culture within universities: Working with libraries, building OA policies

Blessing Chiparausha, Bindura University of Science Education & Zimbabwe University Libraries Consortium
Josiline Chigwada, Chinhoyi University of Technology,
Luyolo Matabeni, Harare Polytechnic

In three presentations (10 mins per speaker), delegates share their experiences of internal advocacy and/or establishing OA policies within their institutions, including reflecting on the challenges they’ve come up against and ideas for how these barriers may be overcome. Followed by collective discussion.  


11:15 Closing reflections on the future of African OA Book Publishing

Josiline Chigwada, Chinhoyi University of Technology
Jill Claassen, University of Cape Town Library
Prof. Olusola Bandele Oyewole, Association of African Universities
Reggie Raju, University of Cape Town Library
Mweneni Shahungu, National Commission of Research Science and Technology, Namibia

The speakers offer brief reflections their main takeaways from the past three days

12.45 Next steps

Collective discussion about next steps.

13.00 End

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