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Programme strengthens research publishing in Tanzania

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A new programme aims to strengthen and improve the quality of academic publishing in Tanzania through training, skills development and capacity building.

The two-year programme involves the international volunteer organisation VSOINASP, an international-development charity that supports the research-communication process in the developing world; the Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH); and the Elsevier Foundation. The project, which launched this year, grew out of work by Brill employee Liesbeth Kanis during a VSO placement in the country from 2010.

One of the first steps in the programme, in June this year, was to create a consortium of academic publishers, the Consortium of Academic Publishers of Tanzania. In addition, the project aims to will equip staff at academic and university publishers to operate with consistent, professional standards and strengthen local umbrella organizations to serve as national representatives of scientific research and the publishing industry.

As part of the project, four Elsevier editors and publishers will spend time in the country over the next few months working with the local publishing community. They will work with colleagues from COSTECH to provide in-depth training sessions to Tanzanian researchers, editors and publishers in Dar es Salaam and surrounding universities.

'After years of supporting infrastructure building in libraries in developing countries and working to promote usage of free and low cost access programmes like Research4life, it’s very exciting to embed Elsevier publishers in Tanzania,' commented Ylann Schemm, program director of the Elsevier Foundation. 

Sue Corbett, executive director of INASP, commented: 'INASP has been working with librarians and the research community in Tanzania for a number of years, but when we were approached by Liesbeth Kanis to be a part of this wide-ranging project to strengthen academic publishing in Tanzania, we felt that this would definitely complement the work we have already been doing. This collaboration with VSO, COSTECH and now Elsevier means that we can work in a more systematic way. We are delighted that the consortium of publishers has been launched and we are now looking forward to the start of the training sessions in collaboration with African Journals Online (AJOL) and the Elsevier volunteers.'