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Best Practices and Innovative Approaches to Peer Review [incl. workshop recordings]

AfricArXiv, Eider Africa, TCC Africa, and PREreview have joined forces to bring together scientists from across Africa and scientists engaged in African-related research for a series of 3 virtual discussions and collaborative peer review.

Published onApr 29, 2021
Best Practices and Innovative Approaches to Peer Review [incl. workshop recordings]

Join dynamic discussions around current issues and barriers in scholarly peer review, as well as hands-on sessions in which everyone will collaborate to provide constructive feedback to a recent preprint.

In the first event, we introduced this partnership and what motivated us to organize this series. Throughout the series, together we worked on providing constructive feedback to three preprints that have been recently published by African-based research groups or touch on African-relevant content. We will also have the opportunity to reflect on barriers to participation in peer review rooted in colonialism, white supremacy culture, patriarchal systems which dominate scholarship today.

The events will was facilitated by our team and hosted on Zoom conference. Live caption via will be available.

We have facilitated translations into the following languages:

  • Arabic // French // English

    • Johanssen Obanda & Nabil Ksibi

  • Kenyan Sign Language:

    • N’kadziri Idd & Wangari Ngugi

For more information about the event please go to

Part I: April 29, 2021

Collaborative notes (licensed under CC-BY 4.0):

Preprint that was discussed (please cite as):

Mwangi, K., Mainye, B., Ouso, D., Kevin, E., Muraya, A., Kamonde, C., … Kibet, C. K. (2021, February 18). Open Science in Kenya: Where are we?.


Part I. Workshop held on April 29, 2021 on the preprint by Mwangi et al., 2021 “Open Science in Kenya: Where are we?" posted on AfricArXiv:

>> on Youtube:

Part II: May 14, 2021

Collaborative notes (licensed under CC-BY 4.0):

Preprint that was discussed (please cite as)

Azouaghe, S., Adetula, A., Forscher, P. S., Basnight-Brown, D., Ouherrou, N., Charyate, A., & IJzerman, H. (2020). Psychology and open science in Africa: Why is it needed and how can we implement it? (French original)

English Translation:

Arabic Translation:


Part II. Workshop held on May 14, 2021 on the preprint by Azouaghe, S., Adetula, A., Forscher, P. S., Basnight-Brown, D., Ouherrou, N., Charyate, A., & IJzerman, H. (2020). Psychology and open science in Africa: Why is it needed and how can we implement it?

>> on Youtube:

Part III: May 27, 2021

Collaborative notes (licensed under CC-BY 4.0):

Preprint that was discussed (please cite as)

Athreya, S., & Ackermann, R. R. (2018, August 18). Colonialism and narratives of human origins in Asia and Africa.

French Translation: 

Arabic Translation: 

Part III. Workshop held on May 27, 2021 on the preprint by Athreya, S., & Ackermann, R. R. (2018, August 18). Colonialism and narratives of human origins in Asia and Africa.

>> on Youtube:

Background to this event series

Target audience: Postgraduates, Early Career Researchers, Mid–Senior level
🔶African scientists and scholars based on the African continent
🔶African scientists and scholars currently based at a host institute outside Africa
🔶Non-African scientists and scholars who conduct research on African territory
🔶Non-African scientists and scholars who conduct research relevant to African affairs

This three-part series aimed at achieving the following three main goals:
• 👐 Foster an open and inclusive approach to peer review on research manuscripts (preprints and post-prints) that centers kindness, constructive feedback, and promotes collaboration.
• 🌟 Highlight preprints authored by African scholars or covering African-relevant content and provide an opportunity for the authors to receive constructive feedback from the events’ participants.
• 💭 Create a safe space for reflection around issues of scholarly knowledge decolonization, biased academic environments, open scholarship tools and practices, and other topics that are relevant and may emerge during these dynamic group discussions.

For details, go to

About the organizers

AfricArXiv is a community-led digital archive for African research, working towards building an African-owned open scholarly repository; a knowledge commons of African scholarly works to catalyze the African Renaissance. We partner with established scholarly repository services to provide a platform for African scientists of any discipline to present their research findings and connect with other researchers on the African continent and globally. Find out more about AfricArXiv at

Eider Africa is an organisation that conducts research, co-designs and implements collaboratively, offline and online research mentorship programs for scholars in Africa. We train mentors to start their mentorship programs. We believe in peer to peer learning, learning research by practice, caring for the whole researcher and lifelong learning. We have grown a vibrant community of researchers in our research journal clubs and work with university lecturers to develop transformative inclusive research training. Our website:

The Training Centre in Communication (TCC Africa) is the first African-based training centre to teach effective communication skills to scientists. TCC Africa is an award winning Trust, established as a non-profit entity in 2006 and is registered in Kenya. TCC Africa provides capacity support in improving researchers output and visibility through training in scholarly and science communication. Find out more about TCC Africa at

PREreview is an open project fiscally sponsored by the non-profit organization Code for Science and Society. Our mission is to bring more equity and transparency to the scholarly peer review process. We design and develop open source infrastructure to enable constructive feedback to preprints, we run peer review mentoring and training programs, and we partner with like-minded organizations to organize events providing opportunities for researchers to create meaningful collaborations and connections defeating cultural and geographical barriers. Learn more about PREreview at

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A Version of this Pub
A Reply to this Pub
Open Science in Kenya: Where are we?

According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Open Science is the movement to make scientific research and data accessible to all. It has great potential for advancing science. At its core, it includes (but is not limited to) open access, open data, and open research. Some of the associated advantages are promoting collaboration, sharing, and reproducibility in research, and preventing the reinvention of the wheel, thus saving resources. As research becomes more globalized and its output grows exponentially, especially in data, the need for open scientific research practices is more evident — the future of modern science. This has resulted in a concerted global interest in open science uptake. Even so, barriers still exist. The formal training curriculum in most, if not all, universities in Kenya does not equip students with the knowledge and tools to subsequently practice open science in their research. Therefore, to work openly and collaboratively, there is a need for awareness and training in the use of open science tools. These have been neglected, especially in most developing countries, and remain barriers to the cause. Moreover, there is scanty research on the state of affairs regarding the practice and/or adoption of open science. Thus, we developed, through the OpenScienceKE framework, a model to narrow the gap. A sensitize-train-hack-collaborate model was applied in Nairobi, the economic and administrative capital of Kenya. Using the model, we sensitized through seminars, trained on the use of tools through workshops, applied the skills learned in training through hackathons to collaboratively answer the question on the state of open science in Kenya. While the former parts of the model had 20 - 50 participants, the latter part mainly involved participants with a bioinformatics background, leveraging their advanced computational skills. This model resulted in an open resource that researchers can use to publish as open access cost-effectively. Moreover, we observed a growing interest in open science practices in Kenya through literature search and data mining, and that lack of awareness and skills may still hinder the adoption and practice of open science. Furthermore, at the time of the analyses, we surprisingly found that out of the 20,069 papers downloaded from BioRXiv, only 18 had Kenyan authors, a majority of which are international (16) collaborations. This may suggest poor uptake of the use of preprints among Kenyan researchers. The findings in this study highlight the state of open science in Kenya and the challenges facing its adoption and practice while bringing forth possible areas for primary consideration in the campaign towards open science. It also proposes a model (sensitize-train-hack-collaborate model) that may be adopted by researchers, funders, and other proponents of open science to address some of the challenges faced in promoting its adoption in Kenya.

A Reply to this Pub
Psychology and open science in Africa: Why is it needed and how can we implement it?

The quality of scientific research is assessed not only by its positive impact on socio-economic development and human well-being, but also by its contribution to the development of valid and reliable scientific knowledge. Thus, researchers regardless of their scientific discipline, are supposed to adopt research practices based on transparency and rigor. However, the history of science and the scientific literature teach us that a part of scientific results is not systematically reproducible (Ioannidis, 2005). This is what is commonly known as the "replication crisis" which concerns the natural sciences as well as the social sciences, of which psychology is no exception.Firstly, we aim to address some aspects of the replication crisis and Questionable Research Practices (QRPs). Secondly, we discuss how we can involve more labs in Africa to take part in the global research process, especially the Psychological Science Accelerator (PSA). For these goals, we will develop a tutorial for the labs in Africa, by highlighting the open science practices. In addition, we emphasize that it is substantial to identify African labs needs and factors that hinder their participating in the PSA, and the support needed from the Western world. Finally, we discuss how to make psychological science more participatory and inclusive.

A Reply to this Pub
Colonialism and narratives of human origins in Asia and Africa

In their seminal works on postcolonialism, Edward Saïd (in Orientalism) and V.Y. Mudimbe (in The Idea of Africa) proposed that Asia and Africa, respectively, were constructs created around the notion of their otherness. Both regions were viewed as infantile, primitive, and homogenous entities that fell outside the domain of civilized (i.e. Western) humanity. These constructs shaped scientific perceptions of both continents over the course of several centuries and have continued to be operative over the last 100 years following the discovery of fossil human ancestors, particularly within the narratives of recent human origins. Here we reflect on these narratives, both in the early days of the discoveries and more recently, in the context of the othered identities of the continents more broadly. We argue that a colonialist socio-political framework has shaped the science of human origins since its inception, and that this has negatively affected the quality of this endeavour. Existing phylogenies cannot be divorced from those ideologies—even today. Indeed, while the details of human origins (e.g. when, where, who) have changed radically over time, the narrative that emerged always left one group in control, and marginalised non-Western lands and their peoples, leaving the ordering of superior and inferior more or less unchanged through the history of the discipline. More informed models of human evolution cannot be constructed until the community of voices constructing them is reworked to be more inclusive of many worldviews.

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