Since the 1990s, global academic publishing has been transformed by digitisation, consolidation and the rise of the internet. The data produced by commercially owned citation indexes increasingly defines legitimate academic knowledge. Publication in prestigious ‘high impact’ journals can be traded for academic promotions, tenure and job-security. African researchers and publishers labour in the shadows of a global knowledge system dominated by ‘Northern’ journals and global publishing conglomerates.
In this seminar we introduce our new book, Who Counts? Ghanaian Academic Publishing and Global Science. In it we seek to go beyond the numbers. Co-authored with Paulina Tindana, Samuel Tinto Chatio, Natasha Robinson and Patricia Kingori, it tells the story of how the Ghanaian academy is being transformed by this bibliometric economy. It offers a richly detailed account of the voices and perspectives of Ghanaian academics and African journal publishers. How, where and when are Ghana’s researchers disseminating their work, and what do these experiences reveal about an unequal global science system? Is there pressure to publish in ‘reputable’ international journals? What role do supervisors, collaborators and mentors play, and how do academics manage in conditions of scarcity?
Putting the insights of more than 40 Ghanaian academics into dialogue with journal editors and publishers from across the continent, the book highlights survival tactics, creative responses, and the emergence of new regional research ecosystems. We argue for an Africa-centred analysis of the Anglophone academic publishing system, using the example of Ghanaian scholars and their relationship to global science.