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Why are acceptance rates for Africa-based academics in top international journals falling, and what can be done to reverse that trend?

The Citing Africa Podcast series is made up of nine episodes which deal with a variety of knowledge production issues in African countries as well as providing practical advice for early-career researchers seeking for publishing their work in highly-ranked international journals.


Episode 1

Listen: Why acceptance rates are falling and what can we do about it? 

In this episode we discuss the lack of representation by Africa-based scholars in international journals by speaking to scholars Dr Ryan Briggs and Dr Sarah Cummings who have conducted quantitative studies to investigate this issue. We are also joined by Elizabeth Walker, Publisher at Routledge Taylor and Francis, one of the world's leading publishers of scholarly books and journals.

Read the transcript here

Episode 2

Listen: Consumption and valuation of knowledge in the global North and South 

This episode examines who gets cited as the leading authorities on reading lists in Development and African Studies in four African countries and the UK. We explore whether different ‘silos’ of knowledge are being created as well as examine the barriers to having more diverse and representative reading lists on Development Studies and African Studies courses across countries. Abidah Ferej, Marie-Noelle Nwokolo, Dr Simukai Chigudu and Dr Eyob Gebremariam contributed to this episode. 

Read the transcript here

Episode 3

Listen: Historical background to the history and challenges

In this episode, we travel back centuries to uncover the history of higher education on the Africa continent. We also examine some of the challenges that have faced tertiary education on the continent in the post-colonial period. Our contributors are Professor Leonard Wantchekon, Professor Thandika Mkandawire and Professor Akosua Adomako-Ampofo.

Transcript - (to come)

Episode 4

Listen: Is African Studies different from LatAm studies?

What can African Studies learn from Latin American Studies? This episode looks at the history of decolonisation within Latin American studies and examines efforts by organisations and scholars to improve North-South knowledge exchange and collaboration.

Transcript - (to come)

Episode 5

Listen: Showcasing North-South knowledge exchange and collaboration

In this episode we explore the North-South divide in African Studies, and the balancing act Africa-based scholars make to remain relevant internationally and on the continent. We will also discuss the work of some organisations in boosting knowledge exchange and collaborations not only internationally but cross-continent.

Episode 6

Listen: Identifying the right journal for your work

In this episode we provide practical advice for young academics embarking on the process of getting their first work published. We will share tips from leading journal editors and scholars on how to identify the most appropriate journal for your work, and examine the underlying incentives that shape academics’ choices about how they publish and present their work.

Contributors: Mjiba Frehiwot, Laura Mann, Tom Odhiambo, Tin Hinane El Kadi, Gabriel Botchwey, Kwasi Obiri-Danso, Caroline Kihato, Lindsay Whitfield, Nwando Achebe.

Episode 7

Listen: Dealing with rejection in academia

Criticism and rejection are part of the scholarly experience. Episode 7 gives practical advice on how to deal with feedback from editors and reviewers, as well as tips on how to improve your work. Senior scholars share stories of their own setbacks, inspiring younger researchers who work on Africa to engage with the taboo conversations around 'Revise and Resubmit' and 'Rejection'.

Contributors: Laura Mann, Nwando Achebe, Tinashe Nyamunda, Leonard Wantchekon, Tin Hinane El Kadi

Episode 8

Listen: The funding environment for African institutions

In this episode we assess the strengths and weaknesses of the current funding environment for social science research in Africa and for Africa-based scholars. Speaking to leading funders about their experiences, we ask where investment to higher education institutions comes from, where opportunities exist, and how knowledge infrastructure can be built.

Speakers: Divine Fuh, Cyril Obi and James Smith.

Episode 9

Listen: Increasing the representation of Africa-based authors in international journals

The final episode explores current efforts to increase the representation of Africa-based authors in international journals and what more can be done. We address the importance of publishing in these journals for career opportunities, and what declining acceptance rates for Africa-based academics means for scholarship from the continent.

Contributors: Ryan Briggs, Christine Feak, Henrike Florusbosch, Felix Mukwiza Ndahinda, Andy Nobes and Naomi Pendle.

Episode 10

Listen: An interview with Professor Thandika Mkandawire on African knowledge systems

Thandika Mkandawire talks to Laura Mann about the impact of structural adjustment on African knowledge and economics, the role of CODESRiA in strengthening the autonomy of Africa-based research, and the ideas that have shaped and guided his prestigious career.

Speakers: Thandika Mkandawire and Laura Mann