AJOL's Journal Publishing Practices and Standards system: boosting journal quality

Why is journal quality a concern for Southern journals?

Journals in the developing world face challenges in gaining recoognition and respect in the international research landscape. Since 1998, the Journals Online project has established a network of local journal platforms to help Southern journals increase their online presence and global visibility. Furthermore, concerns are often raised about the perceived quality and transparency of publication processes for Southern journals. This, in turn, leads many to believe that the research published in these journals is not credible.

What is the JPPS framework?

The Journal Publishing Practices and Standards (JPPS) framework is an effort to increase the respect Southern journals garner in the global academic arena. The JPPS framework was established and is managed by African Journals Online (AJOL) and INASP.

The JPPS framework provides detailed assessment criteria for the quality of publishing practices and protocols of Southern journals and is being used to assess the journals hosted on JOL platforms. At AJOL, all new journals are assessed and existing partner journals are assessed annually. 

How does the JPPS framework work and what is it for?

Journals assessed against the JPPS criteria are given one of six ratings:

  • Inactive title
  • New title
  • No stars
  • One star
  • Two stars
  • Three stars

JPPS levels serve a dual purpose. For readers, they provide assurance that the journals meet an internationally recognized set of criteria at a particular level. For journal editors, the detailed feedback from the JPPS assessment helps them identify ways to improve their publishing practices and standards with a view to achieving a higher level at the next assessment.

Assessments of all AJOL partner journals were carried out in 2018 and went live on the AJOL website in 2019. As of late 2022, AJOL is engaged in re-assessing all existing partner journals to ensure continued quality and growth. AJOL also underwent a full site upgrade in 2023.

Detailed criteria used by the JPPS framework are available in English, French and Spanish.

Why does journal quality matter to authors?

By publishing in an African journal, authors contribute meaningfully to the continent's research output. By working towards improving the quality and credibility of African journals, AJOL hopes to boost the visibility of African research voices. AJOL hosts over 700 African journals in a wealth of fields, making it the continent's largest platform of scholarly journals — with over two million downloads per month, research published in journals hosted on AJOL reaches a wide audience! Our JPPS system classifies journals and assists them in adopting publishing best practices, and this, in turn, helps authors decide where to publish.