On August 28th, 2017 Dr PJT de Villiers, MD of AOSIS, was the keynote speaker at the 2nd International Conference of the Society for Medicinal Plants and Economic Development (SOMPED)
. He addressed delegates on the publication and peer review of scholarly books in South Africa, saying that recognition of the importance of scholarly books has increased since the ASSAf Scholarly Books Report in 2009. Since then the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) has increased the subsidy unit value of scholarly books, and placed greater importance on quality and peer review.
He added that in 2015 the National Research Foundation issued an open access mandate for all of the research that it funds: “Open access offers many benefits to scholars and universities, such as increased citation and improved impact of research. AOSIS introduced an open access option for the publication of scholarly books, with emphasis on quality and peer review and retention of copyright by the author.”
He outlined further facts about open access publication of scholarly books: “Peer review is conducted in two stages by an independent panel, and books are published in open access on an international platform. Publication costs are covered by funding, supported by the DHET subsidy income. Hardcopy books sales are no longer required, which removes the business imperative to select books based merely on ‘popularity’, allowing one to rather focus on quality and substance. ”
“The publication of research in scholarly books presents a new opportunity for scholars and universities to disseminate their research, improve impact and strengthen the funding stream for research.”
To learn more about AOSIS Scholarly Books, please visit www.books.aosis.co.za.Since the beginning of 2017 AOSIS has also published the journal of the Society for Medicinal Plants and Economic Development: the Journal of Medicinal Plants For Economic Development (JOMPED), which to date has published six articles.