The first OSSREA publication was the proceedings of the Eastern Africa Social Science Consultative Group Workshop on the problems and prospects of semi-arid areas. The workshop was held in Nazareth, Ethiopia, from 9-13 April 1980. This proceedings, which came out in November 1980, is historically important for a number of reasons. It is the first proceedings of OSSREA. The 1980 proceedings is also historically important because it focuses on a subject which has been preoccupying OSSREA's conferences and projects over and over again, regardless of whether they were organized under such topics as environment, pastoralism, or rural development. Furthermore, it was the conference that brought together the papers in this proceedings which also gave birth to OSSREA, for apart from the deliberation on the issues raised by the papers, one import agenda of the conference was the establishment of OSSREA to succeed the Consultative Group.
One other area of focus of OSSREA's conference proceedings is the teaching and research of various disciplines in the social sciences. To date, three volumes have been published in the area of teaching and research in sociology and anthropology, economics, and political science. Furthermore, four of OSSREA’s congresses, too, have resulted in the publication of books on the crisis of African development strategies, challenges of rural poverty, issues in African political and economic transformation (2 vols.), and globalisation and Africa. Other themes of OSSREA books are pastoralism, environment, gender, and research methods in the social sciences. In 2001, OSSREA produced three volumes of a training manual on research methods in the social sciences. This work, unlike the first exploratory book produced by OSSREA in 1986 following its 1983 workshop on this topic, was commissioned by Organisation for use by trainees who take part each year in the short course offered by OSSREA’s Research Methodology Institute. The work is still at a trial stage and is expected to be further refined in a couple of years using feedback received from trainees and instructors, after which it will be made available for use by other research and academic institutions in the region and elsewhere.
A good number of the OSSREA books were published by OSSREA either independently or in association with international publishers such as Macmillan, Pluto, International Books, and Kluwer.