GLOBAL AFRICA was launched in 2021. AFRICA approaches its centenary. We discuss the futures of such key journals and the challenges they face: the intense resources needed in environments of scarcity; contending with ‘Western’ standards; loss of essential publishing skills; and unequal Open Access.
The journal GLOBAL AFRICA was launched in Saint-Louis, Senegal, in 2021. By 2023 it will have published three issues. It is intended as an international, interdisciplinary journal, and part of a wider effort to promote African research. AFRICA, journal of the International African Institute, is approaching its centenary. Here we will discuss the futures of such key journals in African social sciences and humanities. The challenges facing GLOBAL AFRICA and others operating from francophone Africa are multi-dimensional: first, there is no publication without research; second, the intense resources and time required to accompany younger scholars through the process to high quality publication in environments of scarcity; third, the impossibility of trying to emulate ‘Western’ standards, whether or not these are desirable, and relatedly: what does it mean to be a blind peer reviewer? Fourth, academic journals everywhere are contending with the challenges of unequal Open Access, language(s) of publication, and funder requirements for publication of research data. Then there are practical questions: how to manage a journal where such essential skills as copy editing, proofreading and typesetting have largely disappeared, hence have to be outsourced to Western countries? How can appropriate training be revitalised in the African continent? What structures of support are required in terms of editorial boards and institutional buy-in? It is intended that this panel will provide the basis of a Special Issue of GLOBAL AFRICA. Contributions are invited on related topics including but not limited to journal citation indexes, African university presses, and academic book publishing.