Vol. 14 No. 1 (2023): Peer review: a process undergoing a required transformation

Scholarly publishing and peer review in the Global South: the role of the reviewer

Peter Lor
University of Pretoria

Published 2022-12-19


  • Peer Review;,
  • Scholarly Communication;,
  • Global South;,
  • Journals;,
  • Publishing.

How to Cite

Lor, Peter. 2022. “Scholarly Publishing and Peer Review in the Global South: The Role of the Reviewer”. JLIS.It 14 (1):10-29. https://doi.org/10.36253/jlis.it-512.


Peer review is an integral part of contemporary scholarly publishing, especially journal publishing. Work submitted by scholars from all parts of the world is subjected to it. This includes submissions by scholars from the Global South, who wish to publish in “international” journals or in local journals which follow the same model. These authors may not be native English speakers and may be unfamiliar with the conventions of Western scholarship. Many of them conduct research and write their manuscripts under challenging circumstances. They may find it difficult to comply with the requirements of the journals to which they submit their articles. Their manuscripts quite often pose challenges to the peer reviewers. The purpose of this article is to provide some background on scholarly publishing in the Global South and the challenges those colleagues face, and to outline what this may mean for the role of the reviewer.


Metrics Loading ...


  1. Abrahams, Luci, Mark Burke, Eve Gray, and Andrew Rens. 2008. Opening Access to Knowledge in Southern African Universities. Study Series. Johannesburg: SARUA Southern African Regional Universities Association.
  2. Amano, Tatsuya, Juan P. González-Varo, and William J. Sutherland. 2016. “Languages Are Still a Major Barrier to Global Science.” PLOS Biology 14 (12): e2000933. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.2000933. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.2000933
  3. Assefa, Shimelis, Abebe Rorissa, and Daniel Alemneh. 2021. “Digital Readiness Assessment of Countries in Africa: A Case Study Research.” Proceedings of the Association for Information Science and Technology 58 (1): 400–404. https://doi.org/10.1002/pra2.467. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/pra2.467
  4. AuthorAID. 2017. Training of Trainers Workshop: Toolkit. Oxford: INASP.
  5. Balehegn, Mulubrhan. 2017. “Increased Publication in Predatory Journals by Developing Countries’ Institutions: What It Entails? And What Can Be Done?” International Information & Library Review 49 (2): 97–100. https://doi.org/10.1080/10572317.2016.1278188. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/10572317.2016.1278188
  6. Benkler, Yochai. 2010. “The Idea of Access to Knowledge and the Information Commons: Long-Term Trends and Basic Elements.” In Access to Knowledge in the Age of Intellectual Property, edited by Gaëlle Krikorian and Amy Kapczynski, 217–35. New York: Zone Books. https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/sites/default/files/age-of-intellectual-property-20101110.pdf.
  7. Chan, Leslie, and Sely Costa. 2005. “Participation in the Global Knowledge Commons: Challenges and Opportunities for Research Dissemination in Developing Countries.” New Library World 106 (3/4): 141–63. https://doi.org/10.1108/03074800510587354. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1108/03074800510587354
  8. Chilisa, Bagele. 2005. “Educational Research within Postcolonial Africa: A Critique of HIV/AIDS Research in Botswana.” International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education 18 (6): 659–84. https://doi.org/10.1080/09518390500298170. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/09518390500298170
  9. Cumming, Sioux. 2021. “Stronger National Journal Publishing Increases Research Relevance.” INASP Blog (blog). September 16, 2021. https://blog.inasp.info/stronger-national-journal-publishing-increases-research-relevance/.
  10. Dados, Nour, and Raewyn Connell. 2012. “The Global South.” Contexts 11 (1): 12–13. https://doi.org/10.1177/1536504212436479. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1536504212436479
  11. Das, Anup Kumar. 2015. Scholarly Communication. Open Access for Researchers, Module 1. Paris: UNESCO. http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0023/002319/231938e.pdf.
  12. Di Bitetti, Mario S., and Julián A. Ferreras. 2017. “Publish (in English) or Perish: The Effect on Citation Rate of Using Languages Other than English in Scientific Publications.” Ambio 46 (1): 121–27. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13280-016-0820-7. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s13280-016-0820-7
  13. Flowerdew, John. 2001. “Attitudes of Journal Editors to Nonnative Speaker Contributions.” Tesol Quarterly 35 (1): 121–50. https://doi.org/10.2307/3587862. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/3587862
  14. Gibbs, W W. 1995. “Lost Science in the Third World.” Scientific American 273 (2): 92–99. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/scientificamerican0895-92
  15. Graaff, Johann. 2003. Poverty and Development. Introductions to Sociology. Cape Town: Oxford University Press Southern Africa.
  16. Guerrini, Mauro. 2021. “Sua Maestà il revisore: alcune considerazioni sul processo di peer-review all’interno della LIS [His/Her Majesty the reviewer: some considerations on the peer-review process in LIS].” AIB studi 61 (3): 585–92. https://doi.org/10.2426/aibstudi-13328.
  17. Gusenbauer, Michael. 2019. “Google Scholar to Overshadow Them All? Comparing the Sizes of 12 Academic Search Engines and Bibliographic Databases.” Scientometrics 118 (1): 177–214. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-018-2958-5. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-018-2958-5
  18. Gwynn, Sara. 2008. “INASP’s Programme for the Enhancement of Research Information (PERI).” Focus on International Library and Information Work 39 (2): 44–55.
  19. Harris, Matthew, James Macinko, Geronimo Jimenez, and Pricila Mullachery. 2017. “Measuring the Bias against Low-Income Country Research: An Implicit Association Test.” Globalization and Health 13 (1): 80. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12992-017-0304-y. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12992-017-0304-y
  20. Harris, Sian. 2015. “From Animals to Earthquakes: Communicating South Asia’s Research.” Research Information. November 2015. http://www.researchinformation.info/features/feature.php?feature_id=534.
  21. Harris, Sian. 2018a. “Assessing and Supporting Journal Publishing Practices in the Global South.” Blog. INASP Blog. August 1, 2018. http://blog.inasp.info/assessing-supporting-journal-publishing-practices-global-south/.
  22. Harris, Sian. 2018b. “To Address Geographical Diversity in Peer Review We Need to Include Southern Voices Better.” INASP Blog. September 18, 2018. https://blog.inasp.info/address-geographical-diversity-peer-review-include-southern-voices/.
  23. Haverkort, Bertus. 2007. “Dialogues within and between Different Sciences: Issues and Strategies from Endogenous Perspective.” In Moving Worldviews: Reshaping Sciences, Policies and Practices for Endogenous Sustainable Development, edited by Bertus Haverkort and Coen Reijntjes, 345–62. Compass Series on Worldviews and Science. Leusden, Netherlands: ETC/Compass. http://www.bibalex.org/Search4Dev/files/416884/362466.pdf.
  24. Huttner-Koros, Adam. 2015. “Why Science’s Universal Language Is a Problem for Research.” The Atlantic. August 21, 2015. https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2015/08/english-universal-language-science-research/400919/.
  25. INASP. n.d. “Journal Publishing Practices and Standards.” Accessed October 13, 2017. http://www.inasp.info/en/work/journals-online/journal-publishing-practices-and-standards/?utm_source=INASP&utm_campaign=ddc0f2fa60-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_09_28&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c0e747b098-ddc0f2fa60-242906445.
  26. Kumar, Prakash, Projit Bihari Mukharji, and Amit Prasad. 2018. “Decolonizing Science in Asia.” Verge: Studies in Global Asias 4 (1): 24–43. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5749/vergstudglobasia.4.1.0024
  27. Laakso, Mikael, and Bo-Christer Björk. 2012. “Anatomy of Open Access Publishing: A Study of Longitudinal Development and Internal Structure.” BMC Medicine 10 (1): 124. https://doi.org/10.1186/1741-7015-10-124. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/1741-7015-10-124
  28. Larivière, Vincent, Stefanie Haustein, and Philippe Mongeon. 2015. “The Oligopoly of Academic Publishers in the Digital Era.” PLOS ONE 10 (6). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0127502. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0127502
  29. Le Roux, Elizabeth. 2010. “The ‘politics’ and Practice of Peer Review in South Africa.” In Scholarly Publishing in Africa. Opportunities and Impediments, edited by Solani Ngobeni, 315–25. Pretoria: Africa Institute of South Africa.
  30. Lor, Peter Johan. 2019. International and Comparative Librarianship: Concepts and Methods for Global Studies. Global Studies in Libraries and Information 4. Berlin; Boston: De Gruyter/Saur.
  31. Lund, Brady D., Ting Wang, Amrollah Shamsi, Jamilu Abdullahi, Esther Abosede Awojobi, Dhruba Jyoti Borgohain, Gema Bueno de la Fuente, et al. 2021. “Barriers to Scholarly Publishing among Library and Information Science Researchers: International Perspectives.” Information Development, October, 02666669211052522. https://doi.org/10.1177/02666669211052522. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/02666669211052522
  32. Márquez, Melissa C., and Ana Maria Porras. 2020. “Science Communication in Multiple Languages Is Critical to Its Effectiveness.” Frontiers in Communication 5. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fcomm.2020.00031. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3389/fcomm.2020.00031
  33. Matunhu, J. 2011. “A Critique of Modernization and Dependency Theories in Africa: Critical Assessment.” African Journal of History and Culture 3 (5): 65–72.
  34. Mazloumian, Amin, Dirk Helbing, Sergi Lozano, Robert P Light, and Katy Börner. 2013. “Global Multi-Level Analysis of the ‘Scientific Food Web.’” Scientific Reports 3 (Article 1167): n.p. https://doi.org/10.1038/srep01167. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/srep01167
  35. McElroy, Kelly, and Laurie M. Bridges. 2018. “Multilingual Access: Language Hegemony and the Need for Discoverability in Multiple Languages.” College & Research Libraries News 79 (11). https://doi.org/10.5860/crln.79.11.617. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5860/crln.79.11.617
  36. Meneghini, Rogerio. 2012. “Emerging Journals: The Benefits of and Challenges for Publishing Scientific Journals in and by Emerging Countries.” EMBO Reports 13 (2): 106–8. https://doi.org/10.1038/embor.2011.252. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/embor.2011.252
  37. Meneghini, Rogerio, Abel L Packer, and Lilian Nassi-Calò. 2008. “Articles by Latin American Authors in Prestigious Journals Have Fewer Citations.” PloS One 3 (11): e3804. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0003804. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0003804
  38. Millar, David. 2007. “Reconstructing Epistemologies of African Sciences.” In Moving Worldviews: Reshaping Sciences, Policies and Practices for Endogenous Sustainable Development, edited by Bertus Haverkort and Coen Reijntjes, 136–41. Compass Series on Worldviews and Science. Leusden, Netherlands: ETC/Compass. http://www.bibalex.org/Search4Dev/files/416884/362466.pdf.
  39. MoChridhe, Race. 2019. “Linguistic Equity as Open Access: Internationalizing the Language of Scholarly Communication.” The Journal of Academic Librarianship, February. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acalib.2019.02.006. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acalib.2019.02.006
  40. Ngobeni, Solani. 2010. Scholarly Publishing in Africa. Opportunities and Impediments. Pretoria: Africa Institute of South Africa.
  41. Nobes, Andy. 2021. “Developing AuthorAID towards a Community-Led Model.” INASP Blog. December 14, 2021. https://blog.inasp.info/developing-authoraid-towards-a-community-led-model/.
  42. Okamoto, Kazumi. 2015. “What Is Hegemonic Science? Power in Scientific Activities in Social Sciences in International Contexts.” In Theories and Strsategies against Hegemonic Social Sciences, edited by Michael Kuhn and Shujiro Yazawa, 55–73. Stuttgart: ibidem-Verlag. https://core.ac.uk/display/230558208?utm_source=pdf&utm_medium=banner&utm_campaign=pdf-decoration-v1.
  43. Omekwu, Charles. 2003. “Current Issues in Accessing Documents Published in Developing Countries.” Interlending & Document Supply 31 (2): 130–37. https://doi.org/10.1108/02641610310477206. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1108/02641610310477206
  44. Packer, Abel L. 2010. “The SciELO Open Access: A Gold Way from the South.” Canadian Journal of Higher Education 39 (3): 111–26. https://doi.org/10.47678/cjhe.v39i3.479. DOI: https://doi.org/10.47678/cjhe.v39i3.479
  45. Piwowar, Heather, Jason Priem, Vincent Larivière, Juan Pablo Alperin, Lisa Matthias, Bree Norlander, Ashley Farley, Jevin West, and Stefanie Haustein. 2017. “The State of OA: A Large-Scale Analysis of the Prevalence and Impact of Open Access Articles.” e3119v1. PeerJ Inc. https://doi.org/10.7287/peerj.preprints.3119v1. DOI: https://doi.org/10.7287/peerj.preprints.3119v1
  46. Reyes, Giovanni E. 2001. “Four Main Theories of Development: Modernization, Dependency, Word-System [Sic], and Globalization.” Nomadas: Revista Critica de Ciencias Sociales y Juridicas 4 (Julio-Diciembra): 109–24.
  47. Risnes, Steinar. 2018. “Need for a Change in Scientific Publishing.” Nordic Perspectives on Open Science 0 (1): 13–29. https://doi.org/10.7557/11.4509. DOI: https://doi.org/10.7557/11.4509
  48. Rowland, Fytton. 2002. “The Peer-Review Process.” Learned Publishing 15 (4): 247–58. https://doi.org/10.1087/095315102760319206. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1087/095315102760319206
  49. Shipley, Gerhard P., and Deborah H. Williams. 2019. “Limitations of the Western Scientific Worldview for the Study of Metaphysically Inclusive Peoples.” Open Journal of Philosophy 9 (3): 295–317. https://doi.org/10.4236/ojpp.2019.93020. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4236/ojpp.2019.93020
  50. Skopec, Mark, Hamdi Issa, Julie Reed, and Matthew Harris. 2020. “The Role of Geographic Bias in Knowledge Diffusion: A Systematic Review and Narrative Synthesis.” Research Integrity and Peer Review 5 (1): 2. https://doi.org/10.1186/s41073-019-0088-0. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s41073-019-0088-0
  51. Smart, Pippa. 2005. “African Journals OnLine (AJOL).” Serials Review 31 (4): 261–65. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.serrev.2005.09.007. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/00987913.2005.10765000
  52. South Commission. 1990. The Challenge to the South: The Report of the South Commission. Oxford: Oxford University Press. https://www.southcentre.int/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/The-Challenge-to-the-South_HRes_EN.pdf.
  53. Taskin, Zehra, Güleda Dogan, Emanuel Kulczycki, and Alesia Ann Zuccala. 2020. “Science Needs to Inform the Public. That Can’t Be Done Solely in English.” LSE Covid-19 (blog). June 18, 2020. https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/covid19/2020/06/18/long-read-science-needs-to-inform-the-public-that-cant-be-done-solely-in-english/.
  54. Till, Brian M., Niclas Rudolfson, Saurabh Saluja, Jesudian Gnanaraj, Lubna Samad, David Ljungman, and Mark Shrime. 2019. “Who Is Pirating Medical Literature? A Bibliometric Review of 28 Million Sci-Hub Downloads.” The Lancet Global Health 7 (1): e30–31. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(18)30388-7. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(18)30388-7