EAC launch regional science journal to promote research, innovation

By Jeff Andrew Lule

This is the first journal of its kind in the region.

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RESEARCH

As part of the strategies towards promoting research in science, technology and innovation, the East African Science and Technology Commission (EASTECO) has launched a region journal to enhance the publication of various findings.

The East African Journal of Science, Technology and Innovation (EAJSTI) is aimed at attracting science researchers, academia and science students, to publish original research relevant to the East African Community (EAC) region, with basic applied research.

This is the first journal of its kind in the region.

It is funded by six EAC states to boost research for the development of the region.

The EASTECO, executive sectary, Gertrude Ngabirano said they target new knowledge which can be used to address issues affecting the region.

Speaking at the inauguration of the editorial board of the journal, at Imperial Royale Hotel in Kampala yesterday, Ngabirano said the region is rich in knowledge but is never publicized for dissemination.

“We have very good research but the challenge has been publishing our information in high impact journals which are not even located here. They are never read by our students and researchers. After publishing them; we still have to pay subscription fee for access and not easy to get,” she added.

She explained the new journal will open up for publication of such content. “Publishing is no big deal until someone reads and reacts to your content, cites it and uses it to make a product. So we want this new knowledge generated to be disseminated to all stakeholders, policy makers and private sector to take it up. It will also help come up with evidence based policies,” she added.

Ngabirano said it will also help other researchers to access research which has already been done, to avoid duplication.

“We shall also help with capacity building in scientific writing for PhD students for publication to help them improve to communicate science. We realized this has been a problem in the region,” she added.

She said all works should be focused on practical solutions to the various problems facing the region, stressing that much of previous research produced was also irrelevant to regional issues.

“This time we want our people to publish evidence based research towards problem solving to influence the private sectors and policy makers. It will help to bring researchers and the private sector together to share the knowledge for implementation,” she noted.

Ngabirano said they have also established an Intellectual Property (IP) policy for the region to safeguard all works.

The EASTECO chairman board of governors, Badru Ntege said this is aimed at promoting local content.

“There has been a gap between research output and the private sector. But through the innovations forum they will be able to meet to commercialize the applicable works,” he noted.

He said they want to create a platform where innovations can be driven out of the university walls to cause impact.

“Without science and technology; there is no development,” Ntege said.

The Editor in Chief of the journal, also Professor of Epidemiology and Medicine at University of Nairobi, George Gitau said his work is to coordinate all the papers which will submitted to be reviewed by the editorial board to ensure quality.

The deputy executive secretary Inter-University Council for East Africa, Prof. Mike Kiria said this is part of the initiative of Africa’s Centre’s Excellence funded by the World Bank focusing on the field of mathematics, engineering and technology and ICT.

He noted that the program also offers 60 scholarships for women at Masters level, in the field of science and 30 from different countries have already kicked off their studies.

Kuria said the journal is another platform to encourage more women in science to come out and showcase what they have.  

While launching the call to submit papers to the journal, the permanent secretary, to the office of the president responsible for EAC affairs, republic of Burundi, Ambassador Jean Rigi said the move is good for technological advancement through evidence based research.