Universities will soon be required to submit their academic journals to the Commission for University Education(CUE) before they are published in the respective journal sites.CUE said it is currently working on a standardised policy on journal accreditation, which all universities will use for their publications.Speaking during a CUE staff sensitisation workshop on scholarly publishing and dissemination of scientific information, Prof. Jackson Too, the Head of Research Department at CUE,said the commission has already met representatives from 42 universities to discuss how to standardise the policy on journal accreditation.Prof. Too addedthat the Commission has developed criteriathat will be used to evaluate journals received from universities to ensurethattheyare credible.
“Majority of the academic journals published in Kenya are not subjected to rigor that a refereed journal should go through. Journals must have arobustpeer review process that guarantees quality.Wewant to do this with a lot of caution. Our work as the regulator is to ensure that universities have adhered to laid down procedures, without interfering with their independence,” Prof Too said.
He added that CUE has benchmarked with South Africa and is ready for the task.
Prof. Grace Njoroge, Deputy Commission Secretary (Accreditation)addresses CUE staff during the sensitisation workshop. The training was organised by CUE’s Head of Library and Information Sciences, DrBeatrice Odera-Kwach and facilitated by Dr. Paul Gichohi from Kenya Methodist University
In her opening remarks, theDeputy Commission Secretary (Accreditation),Prof. Grace Njoroge,saidCUE has reviewed standards in research for universities asstipulated in the Universities Act to guide in the use of copyright laws and plagiarism.“We as CUE should set standards for research. Research is not complete until you tell the world what you have found out”, said Prof. Njoroge who spoke on behalf of the Commission Secretary/ CEO Prof. Mwenda Ntarangwi.
Prof. Jackson Tooaddresses staff during a CUE sensitisationworkshop on scholarly publishing and dissemination of Scientificinformation held at the Commission offices inGigiri from 4th to 5th November 2019.
Prof. Njoroge also asked the staff to adhere to ethical rules when it comes to publishing, which includeobserving copyright laws and how to utilise e-contents without infringing on the authors/publishers’rights.
The two-daysensitisation trainingfor CUE staffwas organised by CUE’s Head of Library and Information Services,Dr. Beatrice Odera-Kwach.
With regardto accrediting universityjournals, Dr. Odera-Kwach saidthat the Commission will determine, in consultation with the universities, which lists of accredited journals and indices are approved in terms of the policy being developed by CUE.
The training was facilitated by Dr. Paul Gichohi, a University Librarian at Kenya Methodist University. He presented the following areasto the staff:Integrityissues in scholarly publishing; Riseof predatory publishing and its implications,Characteristics of predatory publishers; Criteria for determining predatory publishers; Overcoming predatory publishers; Overcoming predatory publishers; Principles of transparency and best practices in scholarly publishing;Code of conduct for journal publishers;Poor journal standards and practices;Plagiarism and plagiarism software;Upholding ethics and honesty in research and publishing;Intellectual property rights;Access, selection, retrieval, use and dissemination of Information; andWriting for publication including publication structure and process.
He noted with concernthe rise inacademic dishonesty in higherlearning institutions.For instance, some academics falsify research data in their publications to get promotionsor in the research findings to receive funding. The trend, he said,was worrying at the Masters and doctorallevels.
Dr. Gichohi called on CUE and other related agenciesto be at the forefront in stoppingpredatory journals whose main purpose is financial gain rather than the quality of research
“We need to have a structured guide on scientific publishing practices. We also need to establish our own local journals that are governed by an accrediting body. This could be CUE,” he said.