Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa
Conseil pour le développement de la recherche en sciences sociales en Afrique
Conselho para o Desenvolvimento da Pesquisa em Ciências Sociais em África
مجلس تنمية البحوث الإجتماعية في أفريقيا

The African Citation Index

Number of visits: 4462

Announcing the African Citation Index

The Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) wishes to inform the African Social Science community and its partners that the initial framework of the African Citation Index (ACI) has been delivered. The Index is presently undergoing testing while data build-up is on-going and subscription to access the index will soon be open to institutions and individuals.

The Rationale for the Index

A citation index is a digital library infrastructure required for much deeper understanding of the nature and extent of scholarly information production, dissemination and use. Hitherto there have existed bibliographies and other reference sources. While these resources remain very useful in meeting the information needs of people, they do not contain Meta-information and their derivatives which are relevant for understanding the characteristics of users, patterns of use and characteristics of the publications.

“Electronic indexation of publications increases their demand due to ICT-based advantages. Stimulating greater demand for African research is perhaps the single most important strategy for raising the profile of science in Africa and increasing its competitiveness and the flow of information out of the continent.”

Africa has been very poorly represented in western citation indexes; these indexes are also inaccessible due mainly to dominant fundamentalist methodologies of knowledge valuation which attribute poor quality and low value to research reports emanating from developing regions. This situation has been condemned by numerous leading scholars in Africa and underscores the need for a local citation index of African scholarly literature.

“Despite its vast natural and human resources… this continent gets the rawest deal …represented in the production and consumption of knowledge. So why the raw deal for Africa despite the consumption of knowledge produced by its sons and daughters? (wa Thiongo 2005)”

Why do we need the Citation Index?

Africa needs the citation index:
• to provide information on research already performed in order to support ongoing research;
• to provide information on the evolution of scientific knowledge and on the pursuit of science as a human activity;
• to provide information that will be required to manage scholarly activities, and;
• to provide an authoritative curated list of journals in Africa that meet high quality criteria set for the Index.

“Practically, existing pool of information is usually expected to inform present research. Current knowledge of existing research in a field helps eliminate duplication, thus enabling researchers to expand the boundaries of science.”

In addition to the above, the citation index will enable Africa to:
• monitor the use and users, sources and characteristics of African scientific publications;
• establish the visibility and productivity of scientists, disciplines, institutions and countries based on high quality local content;
• know the core competencies and paradigmatic shifts in knowledge production in Africa;
• understand the pattern of knowledge exchange and balance of intellectual influence in Africa and internationally;
• map scholarly areas and fields to provide information about relevance and spread of research endeavours, as well as
• study of the evolution of research/science.

African Citation Index – Location and Operational Mechanism

(i) African Citation Index shall be located in the Council for the Development of Social Research in Africa (CODESRIA) in Dakar Senegal.
(ii) Data creation and entry shall be initially centralised in Dakar until the project matures when data creation will then be decentralised in select locations in Africa.

Access to the Index

Access to the resources in the index shall be based on annual subscription.

Languages of the index

The resources shall be indexed in two languages namely: English and French. Extension to Arabic and Portuguese will be considered in the course of time.

Data Depth of African Citation Index

Five years retrospective data from select journals shall be inputted initially and after successful demonstration, the rest of the identified select journals data will be inputted.

Criteria for journal inclusion/selection

i. The journal must be of African continent origin
ii. The journal must have a board of editors of experts in the field/disciplinary area of the journal
iii. The journal must be peer reviewed and research oriented
iv. Coverage – all disciplines
v. The journals must have an ISSN
vi. The overall scientific quality of the journal should be high and it must conform to international conventions
vii. The documents or journal must have a minimum of one issue per year.

Disciplinary coverage of the Index

The index will cover the following:
• Science Citation Index (ASCI)
• Social Science Citation Index (ASSCI)
• Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AAHI)
• Conferences Citation Index (ACCI)
• Book Citation, and, (ABCI)
• Data Citation Index (ADCI)

Types of Documents to be indexed

African Citation Index will index the following types of documents:
• Research articles
• Review articles
• Short communication
• Editorials
• Research notes
• Case studies
• Research methods
• Opinion papers
• Observations (R&D)
• Special articles
• Conference papers
• Patents


The Index will soon be available for free public access (for testing purposes only).

Application for Admission of Serials/Journals

To apply for the inclusion of a journal into the index, please visit: (to be active soon) and complete the journal admission form. For further enquiry please contact Dr Williams E. Nwagwu,

You may consult these Resources

Nwagwu, WE (2006). Cybernating the academe: Centralized scholarly ranking and visibility of scholars in the developing world Journal of Information Science, 36 (2) 2010, pp. 228–241.

Nwagwu, WE. (2006). Organising and Monitoring Research Production and Performance in Africa: Towards an African Citation Index. Electronic Publishing in Africa in the Digital Era. Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Electronic Publishing and Dissemination, Leiden, Holland, CODESRIA, 91 - 109pp.

Nwagwu, W.E. (2008). Online Journals and Visibility of Science in Africa: A Role for African Social Science Citation Index. Putting African Journals Online: Opportunities, Implications and Limits. Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Electronic Publishing and Dissemination, Dakar: CODESRIA, pp 1-14.

The World Bank (2014). Improving the Quality and Quantity of Scientific Research in Africa. Sep. 30th, 2014.

wa Thiongo N. (2005). Europhone or African Memory: The challenge of the pan-Africanist Intellectual in the Era of Globalization. In Mkandawire T (Ed). African Intellectuals. Rethinking Politics, Language, gender and Development. Dakar: CODESRIA.

October 31 2016