Scientific knowledge belongs to all mankind. Nevertheless, toward the end of the 20th century, a handful of big publishing houses achieved a concentrated media power that enabled them to monopolize the publication of research findings and to charge exorbitant prices for their journals, pushing even First World universities to the limits of their financial resources. For Third World scientists, this untenable situation is even more threatening. As well, in order to keep the gap between the First and Third Worlds from widening, it proved to be necessary, therefore, to search for alternative models of how scientific theories, methods and results can be disseminated and made accessible to a globalized scientific community.
This was one of the reasons for the development of the open-access publication model, which does not charge readers or their institutions for access to scientific publications and supports the rights of users to read, download, copy, distribute, print or link to the full texts of articles that are published under this model.
With 9745 journals from 145 countries currently listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), open-access has become a worldwide movement that – though not breaking the power of the big publishing companies – has revolutionized scientific publishing and contributed to the democratization of the scientific community.
Since its first appearance in 2002, conflict & communication online has been part of this movement. Due to generous start-up sponsorship by verlag irena regener berlin, during the first years of its publication we could even abstain from levying an article-processing charge (APC) on our authors. Now, as the journal is established on the market and has become a recognized source – particularly in the field of conflict and peace journalism – it needs to stand on its own feet in a financial regard as well. This doesn’t mean that conflict & communication online has become a profit-oriented enterprise, however, and the moderate APC that we will charge starting with this volume only suffices to cover the journal’s expenses.
The aims of conflict & communication online have always included not only to further discussion and exchange among researchers and practitioners of different nationalities and disciplines, but also to initiate societal discourses that reach beyond the scientific community. In order to provide a better forum for this, we have created a new op-ed page featuring essays in which researchers and practitioners can express their opinions on issues that are relevant for conflict and peace in various regions of the world. Although these essays are not scientific papers in the strict sense of the word, they undergo the same reviewing process that is applied for the quality control of all papers that are published in our journal.
As a first essay of this kind, we are publishing an article by Ani Kelechi Johnmary that provides valuable evaluative information about the Nigerian human-security scene. It is a reflective piece from a part of the world that is not widely explored in the Western media and might stimulate productive discussions on conflict and communication aspects of “development,” wealth and poverty, modernity, and globalization.
Whether our thus started op-ed page will become a regular feature of conflict & communication online will depend on its reception by authors and readers.
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