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Access to journals


A number of schemes and programmes exist which make many academic journals from the major publishers free to researchers in African universities. In a number of fields manyof the top journals are likely to be available through these schemes. Your university library should be able to assist here. It is not possible to provide comprehensive listings of all schemes here but some information on major schemes is given below, in addition to links to further sources of advice.

How to find out which journals are available to you

Researchers in African universities and research institutes often report that they lack access to high quality academic journals. But recent research suggests that around 80 percent of the top-ranking journals are actually available in the current collections of many African university libraries.

A briefing paper published by the ACU Access to research in east and southern African universities provides a summary while the full Growing Knowledge report explores the issues in more depth is also available.

Researchers and students in African universities may also find the following guide useful. It has been prepared by the ACU and INASP and explains how to find the journals which you should have access to within your institution, as well as how to identify other resources for your work.

Accessing journals and other resources in African universities and research institutes: A brief guide for researchers (Upated January 2011)

The ACU has also prepared a guide to some of the major African studies journals and their current availability in Sub-Saharan Africa. 

Online availability of African studies journals in African universities (current issues, not back-files) (September 2011)

Subscriptions change annually, so this should only be taken as a snapshot of current availability. Your librarian should be able to help you further in making use of the access schemes listed for each title. For general guidance on access to journals in African universities see the first guide above.

Access initiatives 

PERii - Programme for the Enhancement of Research Information (INASP)

INASP's Programme for the Enhancement of Research Information (PERii) provides discounted access to developing country institutions through nation-wide licensing.  Your institution may already be registered. Contact your university librarian to find out.

  • A list of resources available in your country through PERii can be accessed from INASP's website.
  • You can also see a list of resources that your institution has registered for by clicking on your country and following the links.
  • You can also see a list of resources by publisher and who is eligible for these by country.
  • You can find out who your national contact person is from the list on INASP's site - see the drop down box in the top left of the homepage and select your country.

Research for Life

Three United Nations agencies, the WHO, FAO and UNEP together with a number of collaborating publishers run Research for Life, a series of schemes providing access to research information in health, agriculture and the environment and which allow free access to many journals. These are accessible below. Contact your librarian to find out how to make use of these.


Through central negotiation with publishers, EIFL negotiates highly discounted prices and fair terms of use to increase access to scholarly material which is essential for research and education.


JSTOR's archive is free to access at any not-for-profit research institution in Africa through the African Access Initiative. This also includes access to ALUKA, a digital archive including ranging from archival documents, periodicals, books, reports, manuscripts, and reference works, to three-dimensional models, maps, oral histories, plant specimens, photographs, and slides.

African Journals Online

African Journals OnLine (AJOL) hosts several hundred African-published peer-reviewed academic journals, including many in the humanities and social sciences.

African e-Journals Project

The African e-Journals Project is hosted by Michigan State University in the US, and offers two major resources:

  • A directory of journals about Africa wiht information on where to find tables of contents and abstracts, full text of articles online, and journal webpages..
  • A full-text archive of back issues of 11 scholarly journals published in Africa in the social sciences and humanities.

It also includes a further page of useful links to other sources and collections

African Journal Archive

The African Journal Archive is a retrospective digitisation project of full-text journal articles published in Africa. Journal articles hosted on the Archive extend back to the first issue (if available) and end with the last pre-current issue (determined by the publisher). The website currently comprises 700 issues and 150,000 pages of journal archives of academic, scholarly, institutional, museums, and professional research organizations in Africa. Online access to the archive is free of charge to Africa and the world.

Directory of Open Access Journals (DOOAJ)

DOOJ lists over 8,500 open access journals across disciplines. To be listed in the directory, journals must demonstrate quality control, either via peer review or editorial boards.

Directory of Open Access Books (DOOAB)

DOAAB lists open access books in all disciplines.

Other schemes and access initiatives - all disciplines