The Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (Codesria), has just developed an African Index of Citations to counterbalance negative and unjustified classifications that traditional institutions often grant research in Africa.
“There is a significant deficit in the research reports and evaluation papers on Africa. This is due to the absence of a regional index from which the production of African research and intelligence could be evaluated, “says Dr. Ebrima Sall, Executive Secretary of the Codesria.
The Index is available to institutions, decision-makers, regional and international organizations, researchers, students and partners interested in gaining a more realistic understanding and knowledge of the field of research in African countries. It is as a tool to deal adequately with African issues on the basis of the realities of African knowledge.
Codesria is convening a Stakeholder Forum to: contribute to Codesria’s perspectives by placing African knowledge at the centre of African development, providing an index assessing and measuring science; exchange ideas on deployment, marketing, content, quality and scope of the Index, etc. establish partnerships to position the African Citation Index as the authoritative flagship in science assessment in Africa; and contribute to an implementation plan that will make the Index a priority reference tool for African and international actors in the assessment of African knowledge.
The idea that Africa as a continent entitled to produce its own intellectuals for its own purposes, build research assessment and indices capable of judging the vitality of its own knowledge production, has always been challenged in the global intellectual marketplaces. The constraints of the indexing practices of the West, namely of geographical, linguistic, thematic, scientific and time variables, often put African researchers at the bottom of the global research results.
The critical intelligence data on research, researchers and disciplines in Africa have always depended on the neoliberal indexes in the West. The debates shaping the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda recognise that quality of education, innovation and strong institutions are essential for building and sustaining the human society. Within this context, Codesria development of an African Citations Index could be considered a milestone in the empowerment and strengthening of African research.