African Journals Online (AJOL) is a not-for-profit organisation based in South Africa founded in May 1998 with the aim to promote online access to African-published peer-reviewed research. It was initially conceived and developed as a pilot project by the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publication (INASP), a Non Profit Organisation based in Oxford, UK. In August 2000, AJOL relaunched featuring 50 English language African published journals in agricultural sciences, science and technology, health and social sciences. In the following years, many titles from South Africa and Francophone Africa were added, and the database was redesigned and improved.
At the time of our visit, AJOL hosted 551 journals, of which 291 are full-text available (Open Access), and indexed millions of articles (with abstract when available) authored by scholars from 35 African countries.
The Board overseeing AJOL is made of researchers, scholarly publishers and academic librarians. Apart from its founding collaboration with the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publication (INASP), African Journals Online is also supported by international organizations such as the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), the Ford Foundation, World Wide Science Alliance (WWS Alliance), Hirani, Research for Health programme and the Coherence in Information for Agricultural Research for Development (CIARD) initiative.
Journals considered for integration to African Journals Online are selected according to the criteria outlined below:
- “The journal must be scholarly in content, and contain original research (in addition to other content)
- The content is peer-reviewed and quality controlled
- The journal has an established publishing track record
- The journal has an actively functioning Editorial Board (institutional affiliations and contact details required)
- The journal has a registered ISSN and eISSN
- The journal will provide all content for inclusion on AJOL (tables of contents, abstracts, and full text) in electronic format and in a timely manner. Partner journals are responsible for ensuring their content on AJOL is up to date.
- The journal guarantees all requisite permissions are granted to allow AJOL to operate an article download service
- The journal is published within the African continent (i.e. management of publishing strategy, business development and production operation are all run from an African country).”
In addition, African Journals Online makes available guidelines for different professionals (researchers, librarians and authors) to best use the platform (see below) and links to numerous additional resources.
The website is available in English only.