Analysis and news

Supporting journal publishing in the developing world Journals face challenges in becoming known and respected in international research. Siân Harris describes JPPS, managed by African Journals Online and INASP

The wives of migrant workers who travel from Nepal to other countries for work are at increased risk of contracting HIV. Gaps in knowledge about autism among doctors in Sri Lanka can delay diagnosis in children. Farmers in Nepal need to adjust their planting cycles to adapt to climate change. Cattle roaming freely on Bangladesh streets increase health and environmental hazards. These are just a small snapshot of the

interesting and important recent research from countries in the Global South. Such research, conducted by people with in-depth knowledge of the local context, is vital for guiding policy and practice to address the challenges or opportunities identified. The research described here was all published in journals that were developed and run by scholars within the countries mentioned. However, despite these journals being open access, this research may not come to the attention of researchers working in the same fields in other parts of the world. There are many challenges for journal publishing in the Global South, including things like lack of funding or resources, unreliable internet or limitations in language skills. Many Global South journals are set

up, managed and edited by practising academics who are doing publishing tasks in their spare time. Beyond local challenges, there are also

inherent biases in the global publishing system. The Global South has for many years been underrepresented in journal metrics such as the impact factor – and, when metrics are based on citations, this problem becomes self-perpetuating and inequalities and biases persist. In response to this challenge, African Journals Online (AJOL) and INASP were approached by journal editors who wanted a way to demonstrate the quality of their journals, as well as guidance and support to operate to the same standards and processes as those published in the Global North.

26 Research Information August/September 2018

Cattle roam freely on Bangladesh streets, increasing health and environmental hazards

Journal Publishing Practices and Standards The result was Journal Publishing Practices and Standards (JPPS). JPPS offers detailed assessment criteria for the quality of publishing practices of Southern journals and is initially being used to assess the journals hosted on Journals Online (JOL) platforms in Africa, Asia and Central America. JPPS assessments give an important

guide to authors and readers navigating a complicated scholarly publishing landscape; JPPS badges provide reassurance of the credibility of Southern journals. Equally important, however, is improving equity in scholarly publishing, giving small, scholar-led journals in lower- and middle-income countries access to the same tools as the rest of the world – helping them to meet the same expectations too. The JPPS process assesses against 108 detailed criteria. These cover things like: publication of original research; a functioning editorial board; an active and

“Beyond local challenges, there are also inherent biases in the global publishing system”

accurate description of the peer-review process and quality-control processes, including journal plagiarism checks; availability of guidelines for authors and reviewers; and clearly displayed editorial and publishing policies. Journals assessed against the JPPS

criteria are given one of six levels: inactive title; new title; no stars; one star; two stars; and three stars. The JPPS badges for each journal are displayed on the JPPS website (, where the definitive list of assessed journals can be found, and also on the Journals Online websites. As such, they also form part of the Think. Check. Submit. checklist. The JPPS badges offer assurance to authors

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