Scientific publishing in Tanzania: a ‘safi sana’ journey

Published: Thursday 30th July 2015
Scientific publishing in Tanzania: a ‘safi sana’ journey
Tanzanian scientists are passionate about research despite lack of funding and encounters with predatory journals

Scientists “John” and “Michael” are working hard to become internationally recognized scholars, but they are struggling to compete with worldwide experts in their field. The researcher’s life is not easy for them.

Like when it comes to publishing in peer-reviewed journals: which are most suitable and widely read? What are the ethical standards for writing rules, and where can they find them? And what about those emails they receive promising quick publication of their work upon payment. Is this normal practice?

So many uncertainties and not enough help and expertise to move forward.

John and Michael are pseudonyms, but their situations are real and common for researchers in Tanzania.

These and other issues faced by members of the Tanzanian research community inspired Elsevier to volunteer its services to the TZAP: Strenthening Tanzanian Publishing project through a two-year volunteer program. “Publishers Without Borders,” as it has affectionately been dubbed, enables experienced colleagues to share their knowledge first-hand with Tanzanian scientists, librarians, research managers and publishers.

This spring, it was my turn to travel to Tanzania. My assignment was “digital publishing.” Our Tanzanian contacts at 13 universities were asked beforehand to suggest key elements for the trainings. This inventory clearly showed that most interest and questions were focused around business models, rights management, international collaboration and ethics. So we prepared our workshops with these themes in mind.

Read the full article about Charon’s experience in Tanzania here: