Cite as:

Angela Okune, Sulaiman Adebowale, Eve Gray, Angela Mumo, and Ruth Oniang'o, "Perspectives on Open Access in Africa," Research Data Share, (10 April 2020),


This essay offers perspectives on the politics of Open Access publishing, paying particular attention to the potential effects a mandate like Plan S could have on the sociotechnical publishing systems on the continent. The essay includes a recorded discussion with scholars, activists and local publishers from the continent thinking together about how such policies might impact them and their colleagues’ everyday work.

This data is a supplement to a forthcoming thought piece for a special issue of Development and Change.


A 1 hour 15 minute discussion was held on March 31, 2020 with four scholar practitioners working on/in Open Access in diverse contexts on the African continent. The audio recording and transcript of the discussion are made available below for re-analysis and reuse under a CC BY-SA 4.0 license. The discussion guide which was prepared in advance and biographies of participants are also included below.


Initial analysis of the discussion and other materials were guided by a few analytic questions. An analytic is a question designed to elicit various viewpoints about the artifact. Clicking on the hyperlinked questions below will take you to responses by various contributors. You are invited to add your thoughts by registering here. Upon approval, you can add your own annotations using instructions provided here.

How is Open Access (in Africa) characterized?

What does Open Access promise?

What changes are perceived to be necessary to improve Open Access (in Africa)?

How is the research/publishing environment characterized?


An annotation is a user's response to an analytic question. A sample of some of the current annotations are included below.


Additional resources including previous interviews conducted on Open Access and publishing on the continent are available through the links below.