The Local Journal, The African Researcher And The Article-Level Metric

Allan Mwesiga | PLoS | July 17, 2012

In the third post of a short series reflecting on last month’s Getting in the Access Loop webinar organised by the Humanitarian Centre, HIFA2015 and PLoS, Allan Mwesiga from the Pan African Medical Journal discusses the role of the local journal in the internet age.

As local journals struggle to build a competitive internet presence that will make them more accessible to their primary local audience, a drop in submissions as internationally competitive migration (a trend in which authors from developing countries submit manuscripts to international journals) starts to take hold is imminent.

A strong internet presence, a rapid increase in internet connectivity in Africa and a variety of incentives are making access to international journals increasingly easy for researchers from the developing world. At the same time, the “local”-“international” divide is being undermined by one of the very same factors, namely internet connectivity. It is becoming “less appropriate in an electronic world” to use this classification. The divide is, at present, still in force and is increasingly a blurry distinction; what exactly qualifies one journal as being local and another as international? Is it geographical or, perhaps, institutional?