Status and Performance of Open Access Journals in Africa


  • Williams Nwagwu Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa Dakar, Senegal and University of South Africa
  • Salmon Makhubela University of South Africa



open access, Africa, publishing, knowledge production, Directory of Open


This article reports on an examination of the uptake and status of open access journals (OAJs) in Africa based on the listing of the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). The article addresses the questions of the pattern of distribution of OAJs in Africa and examines the distribution of the oldest closed access journals that have migrated to the open access (OA) platform; the distribution of the publishers; and the licensing regime and publication languages. We first downloaded all the content of the DOAJ into a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet and then into Statistical Package for the Social Sciences, after editing. For data on publishers, the list of publishers was pasted into the MS Excel spreadsheet and physically sorted. As at November 2014, the total volume of OAJs globally registered in the DOAJ was 10 152, including those born closed which have now migrated to the OA platform. Globally, Europe produced the largest number of journals, followed by Asia, North America, South America and Africa. South America produced the highest number of journals per country. Egypt had the highest number of journals through the activities of one organisation, Hindawi. A journal of African origin is the oldest closed access journal in the DOAJ database; while corporations dominate OAJ publishing. Generally, OA uptake in Africa is considerably low. We suggest that the DOAJ should be proactive in sensitising publishers and other stakeholders in Africa about their services and the benefits, and how to include their journals in the database.


Metrics Loading ...



How to Cite

Nwagwu, W. and Makhubela, S. (2017) “Status and Performance of Open Access Journals in Africa”, Mousaion: South African Journal of Information Studies, 35(1), pp. 1-27. doi: 10.25159/1262.



Received 2016-06-28
Accepted 2017-01-10
Published 2017-11-03