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Annual Report 2021

Overview of our activities and accomplishments in 2021

Published onJan 05, 2022
Annual Report 2021

About AfricArXiv

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.


A decentrally managed pan-African open Access platform that serves as a credible, reliable and viable multidisciplinary archive of research works from and about Africa. The contents of AfricArXiv are accessible and interoperable across platforms within and beyond the African continent, while they are owned, hosted and curated by the African scholarly institutions on the continent.


Establishing an independent and open research repository and interoperable source of contributions for and from researchers as well as innovators working on pan-African advancement with the goal to increase discoverability of African researchers’ output and for all scientists who work in an African context.

2021 by the Numbers

Our Strategic Priorities

Expanding our Open Access digital infrastructure

In 2021, we furthered our plans to expand our curation catalogs by adding Figshare and Qeios to our repository portfolio which previously consisted of ScienceOpen, PubPub, Zenodo, Centre for Open Science and Science Open.

Figshare is a repository where users can make all of their research outputs available in a citable, shareable and discoverable manner. AfricArXIv on Figshare:

Qeios is an integrated system of research production and quality check which assists researchers in producing knowledge, while increasing their visibility. AfricArXiv on Qeios:

Aside from expanding our repository infrastructure, we worked to ensure the interoperability of the digital scholarly infrastructure we create by investigating integrations with DataCite and CrossRef.

DataCite is an international not-for-profit organization that aims to improve data citation in order to:

• establish easier access to research data on the Internet

• increase acceptance of research data as legitimate, citable contributions to the scholarly record

• support data archiving that will permit results to be verified and re-purposed for future study.

Crossref is a not-for-profit membership organization that exists to make scholarly communications better by making research objects easy to find, cite, link, assess, and reuse. It is an official digital object identifier Registration Agency of the International DOI Foundation

Partnership Building and Network Growth

During the past year, AfricArXiv worked towards creating more opportunities of visibility for African research through initiating dialogue and establishing partnerships with various higher education institutions, funders and research related organizations based in different African countries. The essential elements of the partnerships formed were encompassed in a framework composed of constructs such as:

  • Data sharing

  • Collaborative teams

  • Interoperability of services provided

Training Centre in Communication (TCC Africa)

AfricArXiv and Training Centre in Communication (TCC Africa) got into a formal collaboration agreement with the objective of creating a long-term strategic and sustainable approach to building and managing an international scholarly community that will enrich the visibility of African research.

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

Furthering African language diversity

Translate Science Partnership

AfricArXiv joined Translate Science, an open volunteer group interested in improving the translation of scientific literature. The group has come together to support work on tools, services, and advocate for translating science. The group consists of members from the Open Science movement and Whose Knowledge. Through this partnership, AfricArXiv will contribute to fostering African language diversity in scholarly communication.

Decolonise Science Project

This is a collaborative initiative by AfricArXiv, ScienceLink, Masakhane and ST Communications which plans to translate 180 scientific papers from the AfricArXiv preprint server into 6 African languages: isiZulu and Northern Sotho from southern Africa; Hausa and Yoruba from West Africa; and Luganda and Amharic from East Africa. These languages are collectively spoken by around 98 million people. Earlier in August, AfricArXiv called for submissions from authors interested in having their papers considered for translation.

Masakhane is a grassroots organization whose mission is to strengthen and spur NLP research in African languages, for Africans, by Africans. Masakhane’s goal is for Africans to shape and own these technological advances towards human dignity, well-being, and equity, through inclusive community building, open participatory research, and multidisciplinarity.

Fostering Collaboration in advancing science communication

AfricArXiv collaborated with various industry partners to bring a series of webinars and capacity-building workshops to early career researchers across Africa.

Enhancing Visibility through the use of repositories webinar

AfricArXic was featured as a guest speaker in the webinar hosted by partner Training Centre in Communication (TCC Africa) in collaboration with Figshare, the University of Western Cape, and Africa Digital Research Repositories. The panel led discussions on:

  • Low visibility of its research output.

  • Open-access repositories have created a paradigm shift in enhancing African research output.

  • Where are these repositories and how can we take advantage of them?

  • How should African researchers make use of these repositories to increase their visibility?

Using Open Access resources & Preprints as a journal selection strategy workshop

This was a collaborative initiative between AfricArXiv and our partner Training Centre in Communication (TCC Africa) as the world celebrated the Open Access Week of 2021. The purpose of the workshop was to educate and inform faculty at Rongo University based in Kenya, about the practice of predatory publishing and how to mitigate and make informed decisions to avoid questionable journals and publishers.

African Perspectives on Peer Review

AfricArXiv, TCC Africa, Eider Africa, and PREreview joined forces to bring together academics from across Africa, engaged in African-related research for a round table discussion on peer review which is very important in the scientific process. The concept of peer review has been long used as an indicator of quality in manuscripts, journals, and other scholarly articles and the organizers felt that it was important to bring in different perspectives of the process from African scholars.

Cite as: Owango, J., Munene, A., Ngugi, J., Havemann, J., Obanda, J., & Saderi, D. (2021). Best Practices and Innovative Approaches to Peer Review [incl. workshop recordings]. AfricArXiv.

Meeting highest quality standards and research integrity

AfricArXiv is always working to ensure best practices in the submission process to maintain research integrity. One of the ways we invested towards this is by recruiting a manager that oversees that all the standards of our quality requirements are met during during submission moderation. We have also encouraged and helped open peer review sessions with our partner organizations Open (Peer) Reviewers in Africa Program with PREreview and eLIFE

Mr. Nicholas Outa is a Doctoral candidate in the field of Fisheries and Aquaculture at Maseno University, Kenya. He obtained a Master’s of Science degree (MSc) in Limnology and Wetland Management from UNESCO-IHE, Netherlands, BOKU University, Austria and Egerton University, Kenya. He also holds a BSc. Applied Aquatic Science from Egerton University, Kenya.

Mr. Outa has published more than 25 scientific articles in peer-reviewed journals. Currently, he is a trainer in Scientific Writing and Communication at the Training Centre in Communication (TCC-Africa) and a mentor for early career researchers at the various universities and colleges where he lectures.

Sustainability of our services

In order to ensure AfricArXiv’s sustainability, we explored various financial strategies including partnering with funders and investors across Africa and around the world. We are in consultative meetings with IOI (Invest in Open Infrastructure),, an initiative dedicated to improving funding and resourcing for open technologies and systems supporting research and scholarship. We have developed service proposals to the various scholarly stakeholders and target audiences (research institutions, academic libraries, publishers) and are initiating strategic meetings towards partnerships for the provision of scholarly infrastructure on special terms for African users.


Press Releases:

  • 2021-05-06 Launch of Translate Science

  • 2021-10-22 New Dawn for African Researchers as TCC Africa and AfricArXiv Announce Formal Collaboration

Press Coverage:

  • 2021-08-18 African languages to get more bespoke scientific terms, Nature (en)

  • 2021-08-23 Guest Post — Best Practices and Innovative Approaches to Peer Review in Africa


Owango, J., & Obanda, J. (2021). Supporting Rongo University in Accessing Open Access Resources & Preprints as a journal selection strategy. AfricArXiv.

Owango, J., Munene, A., Ngugi, J., Havemann, J., Obanda, J., & Saderi, D. (2021). Best Practices and Innovative Approaches to Peer Review [incl. workshop recordings]. AfricArXiv.

Havemann, J., Hahnel, M., Snyders, M., Kitchen, S., & Owango, J. (2021). Enhancing African Research Visibility Through Use of Repositories [Webinar]. AfricArXiv.

Owango, J., Munene, A., Ngugi, J., Havemann, J., Obanda, J., & Saderi, D. (2021). A Round Table Discussion on African Perspectives on Peer Review. AfricArXiv.

Owango, J., Havemann, J., Osida, M., Obanda, J., & Weda, H. (2021). TCC Africa and AfricArXiv Announce Formal Collaboration. AfricArXiv.



A special thanks to our contributors

We are grateful to our contributors for their dedicated support and generosity at every level and for enabling AfricArXiv to continue growing as much as it has.

A special thanks to our AfricArXiv team

Luke Okelo

Justin Segbedji Ahinon

Olabode Omotoso

Ohia Chinenyenwa

Nada Fath

Fayza Mahmoud

Osman Aldirdiri

Mahmoud M Ibrahim

Dr. Sara El-Gebali

Umar Ahmad

Johanssen Obanda

Michael Cary

Niklas Zimmer

Obasegun Ayodele

Jo Havemann

Nicholas Outa

Aloysious Tumusiime

Kevina Zeni

Hisham Arafat

Carine Nguemeni

Financial Overview




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Member Contributions

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Online Course Programs

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Technical Services

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Human Resources

Executive Team and Moderators

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Tech Team

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Support Team

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Total HR Expenses

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Technical Services

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Professional Services

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Partnership Programs

Total Operational Expenses

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