Impact of open research: challenges and opportunities in the ‘scientific periphery’

Guest editor(s)
Lai Ma, Nelius Boshoff,
Submissions open 1st October 2022


Professor Nelius Boshoff, Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa 

Dr Lai Ma, School of Information and Communication Studies, University College Dublin, Ireland 


Call for abstracts 

In recent years, the open research agenda has generated more venues for open access publishing. The number of articles published in journals listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) has doubled between 2016-2020, while revenues from article-processing charges (APCs) have tripled (Crawford, 2021). Many universities have entered transformative agreements with publishers to pay for both subscription and publishing fees (see ESAC Transformative Agreement Registry). However, these developments are not necessarily good news for researchers in countries that are not part of the so-called ‘scientific core’ because their research contributions cannot be published due to lack of funding support for APCs or, if published, either hidden behind a paywall or appearing in low-quality open access journals. As a result, voices from the scientific periphery can be further marginalised.  


There are also concerns about epistemic diversity when universities in the scientific periphery strive to balance between international competitiveness and the promotion of local knowledges, languages and research topics. This is complicated by the indexing practices of, and metrics provided by the mainstream publication databases (Scopus and Web of Science) that set the criteria of quality and impact. Meanwhile, journals in the scientific periphery can be (mis)labelled as ‘predatory’ (Mills et al., 2021) and the potential of open research repositories in the periphery has also not yet been fully optimised (Boshoff & Ngwenya, 2022). Beigel (2021) argues that knowledge produced in the ‘centers of excellence’ has been conceived as autonomous/universalist, while the outsiders are dependent/parochial. Peripheral researchers’ contributions to co-produced knowledge published in mainstream databases may be limited to specific roles (Boshoff, 2009). Mbembe (2016) contends that a Eurocentric canon attributes truth only to the Western way of knowledge production and, as such, disregards other epistemic traditions. How do we achieve the sustainable development goals (SDGs) when local knowledges and topics are marginalised?  


In this special issue, we invite contributions to address the impact of the open research agenda on research and scholarship in the scientific periphery and we especially welcome contributions from authors in the periphery. The contributions can address topics including, but not limited to, epistemic injustice, epistemic diversity, multilingualism, decolonisation, knowledge practices, publication practices, research infrastructure and scholarly communication. The open research agenda can also be more widely interpreted, beyond open access, to address issues related to open research data and open peer review.  


Please submit an abstract (approx. 500 words) with the subject line ‘OIR Impact of Open Research’ to [email protected] by September 15, 2022. 


Authors of selected abstracts will be invited to submit an article by March 31, 2023. The articles will undergo double-blind peer review as per journal policy. The authors guidelines are available here: 


Emerald’s Open Research Policy includes APC waiver for authors based in countries classified by the World Bank low- and medium-income. For more information, please visit:  

Authors can also make their research immediately and openly available upon official publication via the green open access route.  



Boshoff, N. (2009). Neo-colonialism and research collaboration in Central Africa. Scientometrics, 81(2), pp. 413-434. 


Boshoff, N. & Ngwenya, S. (2022). Agricultural research in Zimbabwe: An author-level bibliometric analysis of publication outlets and research collaboration. Science, Technology and Society. OnlineFirst version. 


Beigel, F. (2021). A multi-scale perspective for assessing publishing circuits in non-hegemonic countries. Tapuya: Latin American Science, Technology and Society, 4(1).  


Crawford, W. (2021). Gold Open Access 2015–2020. Articles in Journals. Cites & Insights Books. 


ESAC Transformative Agreement Registry -  


Mills, D. et al. (2021). “Fake” Journals and the Fragility of Authenticity: Citation Indexes, “Predatory” Publishing, and the African Research Ecosystem. Journal of African Cultural Studies, 33(3), pp. 276–296.