The Third Chapter team had a call recently with our partner Knowledge Unlatched during which we were discussing the work of the Open Research Library (ORL), which is planned to include all Open Access book content worldwide on one platform for user-friendly discovery, offering a seamless experience navigating more than 20,000 Open Access books.
One topic that came up in our conversation was the perennial issue of obstacles faced by scholars in the Global South when it comes to publishing their work—echoes by many conversations with Third Chapter’s African Scholars Advisory Board. So it’s encouraging to see titles on the ORL list that highlight the African story told by Africans. For instance, there are several volumes from the Cape Town-based publisher AOSIS, with books on the ORL list having a focus on ethics, religious studies and education, for example titles such as Theology at the University of Pretoria – 100 years and Self-Directed Learning for the 21st Century: Implications for Higher Education.
African Minds, another publisher represented on the ORL list, publishes predominantly in the social sciences and its authors are typically African academics or those with a close affinity with the continent. The University in Africa and Democratic Citizenship and Emerging Solutions for Musical Arts Education in Africa are two examples of African Minds title available via the ORL list.
Among the many lessons driven home by the events of the past year is the intrinsic interconnectedness of our world. No country can—or should—live in isolation from the rest of the planet. But the Global North tends to dominate the global conversation. Initiatives such as the Open Research Library will be a valuable tool in assisting voices from the South to be heard.