African Journals OnLine (AJOL) is a South African non-profit organisation dedicated to improving the online visibility of and access to the published scholarly research of African-based academics. It is headquartered in Grahamstown. By using the internet as a gateway, AJOL aims to enhance conditions for African learning to be translated into African development.
|African Journals OnLine|
|Producer||African Journals OnLine (South Africa)|
|History||1998 to present|
|Cost||open access and subscription|
|Record depth||Index, abstract & full-text|
Of the 50 countries throughout the world classified as Least Developed Countries (LDCs) by the United Nations, 33 are in Africa. There is widespread awareness of the importance of education in addressing poverty in the long term, usually with an emphasis on primary and secondary education. A concurrent focus on higher education in the continent is also needed for African countries to sustainably develop their capacity and economies and lift the region out of underdevelopment.
Primarily due to difficulties accessing them, African research papers have been under-utilised, under-valued and under-cited in the international and African research arenas. To date, the main information resources, published journals and journal articles available to and used by researchers, librarians and students in Africa are the same as those used in Europe and America. This is because information from the developed world is usually more readily available than that of developing countries. However, it does not adequately reflect the research output of Africa and is not always relevant or appropriate for higher education in Africa. Although access to global information resources is essential; equally important and essential is access to the local research output from the continent.
Despite the wide range of capacity and resources within and between African countries, a legitimate generalization is that strengthening research and research-publishing are crucial priorities for improving higher education in Africa. At the same time as information sources from the developed world are currently made available for free to Africa (such as HINARI, AGORA, OARE, JSTOR African Access Initiative, and Aluka), there needs to be a corresponding focus on the online availability of information from Africa if increased local capacity in research and dissemination is to be attained. To this end, in a high-tech, information hungry and rapidly globalising world, higher education in Africa needs technological tools to share and build on its own research output with neighbouring countries and the rest of the world.
Scholarly journals remain a vital and entrenched means of academic communication. In the information age, providing electronic access to journals is becoming the norm if that research is to reach the international audience who need to be aware of it. Many worthy peer-reviewed scholarly journals publishing from Africa lack the means to host their content online in isolation. Others do have sufficient resources but cannot attain the online visibility necessary to increase awareness of the valuable research contained within. There is a need to support the ongoing functioning and sustainability of journals publishing research from Africa.
The mission of AJOL is to support African research and counter the "North-South" and "West-East" inequality of information flow by facilitating awareness of and access to research published in Africa. Information from developed countries is not necessarily as relevant or appropriate for Africa as that from within the continent. AJOL provides an online system for the aggregation of African-published scholarly journals and offers global access to and visibility of the research output of the continent. As such, AJOL’s primary beneficiaries are scholarly, peer-reviewed, African-published journals, and secondary (also direct) beneficiaries are African and international members of the scholarly community needing to access African-published research.
AJOL hosts African-published, peer-reviewed scholarly journals for free – and includes both open access and subscription-based journals. The meta-data of all participating journals is open access on the AJOL website. AJOL also provides an article download service for researchers to access full text of individual articles.
AJOL hosts over 350 peer-reviewed journals from 27 African countries covering a variety of disciplines including health, education, agriculture, science and technology, the environment, and arts and culture. The number of participating journals and researchers using the service is growing continuously. AJOL hopes to eventually include all quality, peer-reviewed journals on the continent.
The AJOL website receives over 100,000 visits per month from over 190 countries around the world.
The AJOL project was initiated in 1998 by the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP), a charitable organisation based in Oxford, in the United Kingdom. After a positive evaluation of the pilot in early 2000, AJOL was re-launched and expanded. Through INASP, AJOL formed a partnership with the Public Knowledge Project (PKP) relating to the open source software that underpins AJOL’s online services. Following the proven need for the AJOL model in developing countries, INASP is currently establishing similar fledgling "JOL"s in Bangladesh, Vietnam and Nepal.
AJOL is currently supported by the Ford Foundation and through INASP's Programme for the Enhancement of Research Information, by the Royal Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (RDMFA), Sida, the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad).
African Journals Online participates in the WorldWideScience global science gateway.
Some of the journals hosted by AJOL are:
AJOL also hosts the archives of several discontinued journals:
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