Open Access and share your knowledge! Publishing in African Studies

Report on the online workshop on 2nd November 2022
By Anne Schumann Douosson and Linda Martin

African Studies covers various disciplines, each of which  has its own publishing culture. Academics are united by the regional frame of their research, which is geared towards researchcollaboration across continental borders.
In a half-day workshop, jointly organised by the African Studies Library and, on 2nd November 2022, scholars and infrastructure providers came together to exchange on open access publishing.

The event offered participants the opportunity for exchange and networking. A short question about the expectations of the workshop revealed key interests of the participants: more structured information on how and where open access publishing is possible.

No licence does not mean that your work is protected from misuse

In a short presentation in the first session of the workshop, Prof. Dr. Paul Klimpel explained the possibilities of secondary publication rights (Green Open Access) available under German copyright law. Some important take-aways:

  • Obtaining information on publication strategies in an early phase of the research process is important;
  • It it vital to check publishing contracts before signing them;
  • Openness should be part of a researcher’s self-understanding: Choose a Creative Commons license, ideally CC BY;
  • For publications in the European Union: authors can refer to the copyright law of their country if it is part of the EU.

In addition, the participants shared information and links to the CARE and FAIR principles as well as tools that allow for secure data sharing (eg. DMLawTool).

Different ways of publishing

In the second part of the workshop, Dr Tim Glawion (Africa Spectrum), Dr Francois van Schalkwyk (African Minds), Dr Sebastian Nordhoff (LangSciPress) and Dr Jo Havemann and Nicholas Outa (AfricArXiv) presented the services of their publishing houses as well as the AfricArXiv repository. The publishers meet challenges such as establishing a reputation and financing by strengthening cooperation or crowdfunding. The latter is also necessary for publishing in the diamond open access model. Regardless of whether it is a journal article or monograph, the quality is assured by a peer-review process. Furthermore all of the providers guarantee persistent access to the publication / research findings. In an “ask the expert session”, the participants were able to find out more about services and submission processes of Africa Spectrum, African Minds, LangSciPress and AfricArXiv.

The documentation of this workshop can be found on the website of The workshop series will be concluded with an event on 21st November 2022, addressing scholars and authors publishing in the social sciences and humanities. If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact linda.martin(at)

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