Open access journal to raise region’s research visibility

After two years in the pipeline, the East African Journal of Science, Technology and Innovation (EAJSTI), a regional, peer-reviewed, open access journal, has taken its first concrete steps towards publishing its first edition.

The multidisciplinary quarterly journal owned by the six partner states of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan that form the East African Community (EAC), was launched at a high-level event held on 3 April in Kampala, Uganda. An official call for papers for the first edition was also made.

The journal is a product of a partnership between the East African Science and Technology Commission (EASTECO), the Inter-University Council for East Africa and the Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology of Tanzania.

It aims to raise the visibility of the region’s scientific research and researchers and provide a platform to disseminate such research and technological findings to other researchers, professionals and industry. It will publish papers in areas such as agriculture; food security and rural development; natural resources and environmental management; health and well-being science; infrastructure, energy and industrial development; and information communications and technology.

At the event presided over by David Obong, Uganda’s permanent secretary for the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, the journal’s editorial board, consisting of 20 members including three associate editors, was also officially inaugurated.

It has Professor George Gitau of the University of Nairobi’s faculty of veterinary medicine as editor-in-chief, Dr Sylvance Okoth of EASTECO as managing editor and has drawn 12 of its 20 members from universities.

“The treaty for the establishment of the East African Community identifies science, technology and innovation as key drivers of socio-economic development,” said the permanent secretary.

“Our region’s common market protocol encourages cooperation among partner states in research and development to facilitate socio-economic development and enhance regional integration through science, technology and innovation,” Obong added.

With the coming of the journal the EAC region was looking forward to the production of regular, reliable and high quality scientific papers that will enhance, advance and disseminate scientific, technological and innovative knowledge for the socio-economic development of the region, he said.

During the launch, the editor-in-chief invited scientists and graduate students to submit manuscripts based on original scientific research, in particular those that “demonstrated new scientific technologies and innovations”.

According to Gitau, the journal aims to support the development of evidence-based policies and provide an avenue for disseminating scientific research and technological findings to researchers, professionals and other stakeholders in the EAC region and beyond.

It hopes to increase the number and quality of scientific publications from the EAC partner states, advancing and opening up new frontiers for more research in science, technology and innovation, and improve visibility of the region’s scientific and technological research output, while giving international recognition to its researchers.

Gitau said within one week of being submitted, each journal paper will undergo a preliminary review by an editor who will decide the next course of action for the manuscript, including sending it out for review, returning it for revision or, in extreme cases, rejection without peer review for failing to meet basic criteria.

“This journal provides immediate open access to its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge,” he said.

The quarterly launch also marked the first meeting of the editorial board after its members were picked competitively last year and underwent orientation at a ceremony in Nairobi in January.

The journal is the culmination of a process that started in 2017, and is funded by the African Development Bank, with EASTECO as the official publisher.