GRANT COMPETITION: April 2013
Africa Small Research Grant Competition:
The Review of African Political Economy (ROAPE) is pleased to announce the establishment of a small research grants competition for African scholars/activists based in Africa and pursuing a political economy agenda. This is a call for applications.
ROAPE is a refereed journal committed to encouraging high quality research and fostering excellence in the understanding of African political economy, and is listed in the Thomson Reuters Social Sciences Citation Index. Published quarterly by Taylor & Francis for the ROAPE international collective, it has since 1974 provided radical analysis of trends, issues and social processes in Africa, adopting a broadly materialist interpretation of change. It has paid particular attention to the political economy of inequality, exploitation and oppression and struggles against them, whether driven by global forces or local ones such as class, race, community and gender. It sustains a critical analysis of the nature of power and the state in Africa in the context of capitalist globalisation. For more details about the journal and examples of published articles please go to www.roape.org.
The small grant competition is based on the premise that the shortage of funding for critical research is one of the problems faced by Africa-based scholars/activists wishing to carry forward a political economy agenda. In response to this, ROAPE is offering up to four small research grants (each up to £3000). The process of selection of proposals, as well as their expected format, is outlined below.
Qualifications of applicants:
Applicants should be nationals of an African country and residents in an African country. African scholars who are based outside Africa will not be considered.
Documents for the application:
Applicants are expected to submit:
1. A brief CV (2 pages maximum);
2. An outline of their research proposals in no more than 1200 words in total. This will consist of:
a. A title.
b. An abstract of no more than 150 words.
c. The research problem and the key research questions to be addressed.
d. The methodology to be adopted in the proposed study.
e. A budget of how the grant would be used. This may include costs incurred for travel, accommodation, subsistence, equipment (for example a voice recorder), research permits, research assistance, and/or photocopying and printing. The grant can also be used as remuneration for time spent writing up the findings of previously completed research (If this is the case it should be reflected in the application).
Recipients of the grants are expected to submit a one-page final report two months after the end of the research period. Successful candidates are also expected to submit for consideration to ROAPE an article based on the research funded by the small grant. The article will be peer-reviewed according to the standard procedure followed by the journal.
The process of selection of applications:
ROAPE will establish a selection panel drawn from its Editorial Working Group.
Payment of the small research grant:
Grants can be held for up to 1 year and will be paid in two tranches. Upon acceptance of a research proposal, ROAPE will disburse half of the grant to successful candidates to contribute towards research expenses. The remaining half will be paid to authors following the submission of an article to ROAPE on the research funded by this small grant. (Please note that if the applicant feels that there are specific reasons why a larger percentage of the grant should be given up front they must make a special request in their application).
1. Deadline for applications: 31 July 2013.
2. Selection of successful proposals and notification to its authors: 30 September 2013.
3. Payment of first tranche of grant (50%).
4. Short Report: by 30 November 2014.
5. Submission of paper to ROAPE and payment of the second tranche of the small grant: no later than 30 September 2015.
How to apply:
Applications and enquiries should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org and titled 'Africa Small Research Grant Competition'.
NEW EDITION: March 2013
The latest edition of ROAPE is now available on the Taylor and Francis website. VOL 40, ISSUE 135
, titled "Neither war nor peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC): profiting and coping amid violence and disorder", edited by Miles Larmer, Ann Laudati and John F. Clark, appears a decade after a landmark double issue of the journal, which is available free from the ROAPE ARCHIVE
POSITION STATEMENT: February 2013
Yes to egalitarian ‘open access’, no to ‘pay to publish’: A ROAPE position statement on Open Access
Recent policy changes, by research funding agencies and government, have forced journals such as ROAPE to reconsider the ways in which their readers access their content and researchers publish their work. A system of ‘Gold Open Access’, in which authors or their institutions pay for immediate online publication, is being foisted upon us. In a rapidly changing context, as funders, publishers, authors and journals debate how to respond, this statement sets out the principles that ROAPE’s Editorial Working Group wishes to see reflected in this new environment.
Technological changes have in recent years permanently revolutionised the ways in which readers access journals. Electronic distribution means the readership of journals has multiplied enormously. For a journal such as ROAPE, which sees its role as political as well as academic, the widening of its audience is welcome. Our African readership, within and outside universities, is strongly supportive of genuine ‘Open Access’.
It is recognised that such a system profoundly challenges the commercial basis of current publishing models and the financial basis on which most journals, including ROAPE, currently depend. A period of consultation and transition will therefore be necessary to establish a workable model of genuine Open Access. So-called ‘Green’ OA in which free access is ensured through self-archiving or in public repositaries must at the same time enable journals to maintain the practices that are their raison d’etre: assembling material according to collectively agreed goals (in our case a radical analysis of African society and political economy), together with anonymised peer review exclusively on the basis of intellectual excellence. Any resultant system must be based on these criteria, not on the self-interested defence of current journal or publisher income bases. Consultation must involve the active participation of non-western researchers and stakeholders, whose concerns have hitherto been ignored.
The potential gains of OA are fatally undermined by the ‘pay to publish’ principle that underlies ‘gold’ models of Open Access, recommended by the Finch Report in 2012 and endorsed by the UK government and its research councils. Gold models, whilst claiming to achieve open access to academic research, serve in practice to entrench academic inequality between and within nations; squander research funding on new publishing fees; and prop up an archaic and ultimately unsustainable model of academic publishing.
The disastrous potential effects of gold OA have been identified by its many critics. Firstly, some of the Creative Commons licences associated with gold OA threaten the ownership by intellectuals of their ideas and work. Secondly, gold models establish inequalities of access to journals, for both researchers and readers. Authors whose institutions are able to pay (a tiny minority of research-intensive western-based universities) will enable some academics in their employ to make their work freely available to all readers, whilst those who cannot pay will have their work imprisoned behind paywalls for lengthy periods, rendering it inherently second-class. Readers, the supposed beneficiaries of OA, will be denied open access to research which is not paid for in this way. Thirdly, gold OA threatens to take the power over whether, where and how to publish away from academics and places it in the hands of university bureaucrats and research funders.
For ROAPE and other African studies journals, a primary concern is to ensure accessibility for both readers and researchers on the continent. Whilst we welcome efforts by publishers to introduce ‘fee waivers’ for non-western researchers, the very need for such a scheme demonstrates that gold-based OA will increase existing inequalities between resource-poor African researchers and their western counterparts, divisions which we are committed to overcome. We will reject any form of OA which does not ensure equal access to all researchers, wherever they are based.
ROAPE has therefore determined that, for the time being, it will not support gold or other OA initiatives currently being launched by its publisher Taylor & Francis and other academic publishers. ROAPE will join other Africanist journals, the African Studies Association of the UK and other allied organisations to promote egalitarian access for both readers and researchers, and to reject the iniquitous gold model of OA, which threatens to commodify intellectual activity and to sow divisions between African and western researchers engaged in the common goal of understanding and critically analysing society and political economy.