Scientific publishing: The need for high quality African journals, By Dr. Cheikh SOKHNA*

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After the adage « Publish or Perish », the evaluation of scientific research through publication has become one of the foundations of the validation of scientific work. Although controversial, this « measure » of the quality of researchers conditions the public budgets allocated to them in developed countries.
In a context of international competition, the publication of a scientific article makes it possible to identify, measure and characterise the output of a researcher or an institution. Scientific evaluation, which is intended to be simple and objective, uses publication counts (output measurement) or citation counts (impact measurement). Statistical results from citation data allow comparisons.
Scientific communication is essential to enable researchers to disseminate their research results and to allow work in progress to progress. It is most often done in the form of published articles, books or conference papers.

Scientific discoveries have stimulated economic expansion, created new trades and professions and enabled men and women to find occupations suited to their abilities as well as their tastes (better health, monitoring our health, producing medicines to cure diseases and relieve aches and pains, providing clean water for our basic needs, good food, infrastructure, living environment, transport, etc.).
At first sight, it seems that technical progress allows people to be happier. It allows a better control of nature, more productivity and quality, and a diversity of human productions.

However, the African continent produces a very small share of the world’s scientific publications (only 3.2% according to data from search engines such as Web of Science or Google Scholar). Senegalese research remains poorly funded, while transformations are taking place in Africa that could influence the world as a whole.

Publishing is above all about making one’s work visible and disseminating new knowledge. Publishing also means being visible in the international scientific community. It also allows you to develop your employability, evolve throughout your career, or obtain funding for your research. Hence the need for good African journals such as the Global Arica Journal.

 

*Dr Cheikh Sokhna is a researcher at IRD, Director of URMITE in Senegal and Head of IRD’s Population and Health Observatories in Senegal. He is a malaria specialist and also studies the epidemiology of emerging pathogens responsible for febrile diseases in West Africa.