Day/Time: Wednesday, May 12, 12:00 PM to 1 PM

Moderator: Reggie Raju, University of Cape Town, South Africa


  • Jill Claassen, University of Cape Town – talk about rationale
  • Omo Oaiya, West and Central African Research and Education Network (WACREN) – Nigeria – challenges of hosting the platform
  • Caroline Ncube, University of Cape Town – researcher speaking on copyright negotiation
  • Anna Leonard – University of Namibia


University of Cape Town (UCT) Libraries, in rolling-out a library publishing service, adopted the underpinning philosophy of LIBSENSE (the Libraries Support for Embedding NRENs Services and e-Infrastructure). The LIBSENSE initiative brings together the research and education networks (RENs, that is, the information technology experts), the researchers and academic library communities to collaboratively build sustainable and relevant approaches for open access in Africa.

UCT Library, a late comer to the OA movement, began its publishing programme in 2016. The expertise gained over a short period gave the Library the confidence to expand its service and  developed the continental platform. The expansion of the service was in alignment with the Library’s commitment to advancing a social justice agenda. The IT experts developed the tenant model for the continental platform. This model supports participating institutions retain their individual identity. Having developed the infrastructure, the next step was to solicit content to populate the platform. Researchers were trained on editorial processes to conceptualise and create a journal, completing the circle.

This plenary session will be a conversation among relevant stakeholders who share their experiences with regard to the continental platform. UCT Libraries will share the rationale for the creation of the platform: the drivers behind the concept. Researchers have responded to the COVID pandemic by flocking in to publish their books, textbooks and journals. A researcher will share a significant break-through by publishing a book with a commercial publisher but negotiated with the publisher to have the book published on the platform via open access – this is a major breakthrough for South Africa’s copyright legislation. One of the early adopters of the platform was the University of Namibia, a university in a neighbouring country. There is a great deal of optimism to have this pan African platform hosted by one of the major NRENs (WACREN). The challenges associated with hosting this platform will be shared by the NREN.

The success of the growth of the continental platform is dependent on weaving the three golden threads into the service. This conversation will tease out the strong collaborative relation between these three critical stakeholders with the hoped domino effect of accelerating the research growth of the continent.