News & Media

Unisa Press Dialogue: Making scholarly publishing more accessible

On Monday 25 November 2019, Unisa Press hosted a dialogue on topics relating to transformation in higher education, free/funded education, R&D institutional capacity building, and ODeL in the era of 4IR. Held in the Miriam Makeba Hall on the Muckleneuk Campus, the dialogue marked the beginning of the Working Paper Series which was launched on the Unisa Press website last month.

Front, from left: Prof Moeketsi Letseka (UNESCO Chair on Open Distance Learning), Dr Ruth Aluko (Researcher and learning support designer, University of Pretoria), Prof Narend Baijnath (Chief Executive Officer of the Council on Higher Education and former Unisa Pro-Vice-Chancellor), Prof Simeon Maile (Research Professor, Tshwane University of Technology) and Prof Yusef Waghid (Department of Education Policy Studies, Faculty of Education, Stellenbosch University).
Back, from left: Dr Meiya Nthoesane (Acting Director: Unisa Press), Dr Somadoda Fikeni (Director of Special Projects and Advisor to the Vice-Chancellor of Unisa), Dr Marcia Socikwa (Vice-Principal: Operations and Facilities) and Prof Thenjiwe Meyiwa (Vice-Principal: Research, Postgraduate Studies, Innovation and Commercialisation)

The programme director, Dr Somadoda Fikeni, introduced the esteemed guests and speakers, beginning with Dr Marcia Socikwa, who, on behalf of the Vice-Chancellor, welcomed all those present. The Vice-Principal: Research, Postgraduate Studies, Innovation and Commercialisation, Prof Thenjiwe Meyiwa, introduced the Working Paper Series and Policy Brief platforms, describing them as significant and an enormous step for both Unisa Press and Unisa as a whole in the expansion of channels for the dissemination of research material.

Prof Meyiwa described these open access platforms as a great opportunity for the Press and for all academics to conduct further research in areas such as current affairs, social issues and best practices. She highlighted the value of the Working Paper Series for academics who have not gone through, or who do not want to go through the rigid approval processes that are necessary for other publications, explaining that the Working Paper Series will support the free flow of ideas and the expansion of discourse, as these platforms are a free resource not subject to gatekeeping and long peer review processes.

The keynote lecture was given by Prof Yusef Waghid, described by Dr Fikeni as an iconic giant in academia and publications. Joining him in the panel discussion were eminent scholars Prof Moeketsi Letseka, the UNESCO Chair on Open Distance Learning; Dr Ruth Aluko, researcher and learning support designer from the University of Pretoria; the former Unisa Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer of the Council on Higher Education, Prof Narend Baijnath; and Prof Simeon Maile, Research Professor at the Tshwane University of Technology.

The panel made a valuable contribution to the pertinent topics that featured in this discourse and, if we are to judge by this first dialogue, Unisa Press takes its recently adopted motto, "Lighting the scholarly publishing way", very much to heart.

Publish date: 2019/12/13