Enhancing the quality of African climate change science by investing in peer review capacity

Globally, climate change will bring “harder rains in a hotter climate” (Berg, et al., 2013). For African farmers, it will bring more erratic rainfall, more frequent and severe droughts in dry lands and savanna areas, and shifts in weather patterns that will alter the timing and length of cropping seasons (Niang, et al., 2014). Building resilience, enhancing climate change preparedness, and mainstreaming climate sensitivity need to become integral components of all agricultural and sustainable development planning in Africa (Hassan, 2010). Science must play a greater role in guarding against expected food shortages in Africa; many calls to that effect have been made in international discussions, including those hosted by United Nations bodies (Pearson, 2004; Poliakoff, 2011). Put simply, African scientists need to act quickly to re-do much of the existing, as well as new science about crops and livestock, the environment, and livelihoods for changed climate scenarios. Science based solutions are only considered credible by intended users if these are properly peer reviewed for the scientific merit.

So far, most of the peer reviewed climate change science about and for Africa has been undertaken by research programs funded and led by affluent countries; the resulting papers have generally been published in acclaimed journals located in developed countries. Thousands of journals address climate-related issues relevant to Africa, developed countries. Thousands of journals address climate-related issues relevant to Africa, but far too few such publications are actually located in the countries being discussed. Even African scientists tend to publish their peer reviewed science in the journals located in or managed by developed countries. Of the 450 online African journals, more than two-thirds originate from two countries: Nigeria and South Africa (Figure 1). Only nine other countries in the continent publish more than five open-access journals. This typifies the ecosystem of climaterelated peer reviewed scientific expertise within Africa.

Read the full brief below and share your comments.
https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/623065-Muhammed_Enhancing%20the%20quality%20of%20African%20climate%20change%20science.pdf

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