Challenges for Establishment of Institutional Repositories: The Case of Zimbabwe's University Libraries

Challenges for Establishment of Institutional Repositories: The Case of Zimbabwe's University Libraries

Mass Masona Tapfuma (University of Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa) and Ruth G. Hoskins (University of Kwa-Zulu-Natal, South Africa)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-5018-2.ch008
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Concern has been raised over low research output from universities in Southern Africa and its poor visibility on the global sphere. However, public universities in Zimbabwe adopted open access (OA) institutional repositories (IR) to increase publication output, access, visibility, and reach to a wide audience. This chapter reports on a study that explored the challenges faced by academics and librarians in Zimbabwe's public universities in contributing to and managing the IRs. A mixed methods approach was adopted with eight participating universities where directors of research, library directors, faculty/IR librarians, and academics were purposely selected. The study identified several impediments to the success of the IRs and these include academics' fears and misconceptions regarding OA and IRs, libraries experienced difficulties convincing university managers about OA exacerbated by an absence of enabling conditions to promote IR development. The chapter recommends that OA education needs to be intensified OA/IR and the universities' policies should recognise publication in OA platforms and enforce deposit mandates.
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Zimbabwe has a total of 18 universities with public universities in Zimbabwe constituting 66% (12). Given this number of universities one would expect the country to have a competitive edge in research output on the continent and in the Southern African region. On the contrary, studies (Kotecha, Wilson-Strydom & Fongwa, 2012) have shown that there is very little research going on in Zimbabwe by Kotecha & Perold, (2010); (Kotecha & Perold, 2010) due to lack of funding. The authors also allude that the little available research from Southern Africa is hardly visible in comparison to western Europe. Table 1 below provides a summary of research outputs from the Southern African as provided by the Web of Science (2019).

Table 1.
Research output of Southern African Countries
South Africa325,456

Source: Web of Science (2019)

Key Terms in this Chapter

Institutional Repository: An institutionally defined database for collecting storing, preserving and disseminating research out of an institution.

Public University: A public university is “a university that is predominantly funded by public means through a national or subnational government, as opposed to private universities” (Wikipedia, 2014).

Open Access (OA): The term open access refers “free availability on the public Internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the Internet itself” (Budapest Open Access Initiative [BOAI]).

Research: A systematic way of collecting, analysing, and interpreting data to increase understanding of a phenomenon about which interest is aroused.

Scholarly Communication: A system through which research and other scholarly writings are created, evaluated for quality, disseminated to the scholarly community and preserved for future use” (Baporika, 2017, p. 75).

Scholar: Is an who is either an academic or one involved in investigative or knowledge-based activities either as a learner, researcher, or teacher ( Ocholla 2011 , p. 2).

Scholarly Publishing: Distribution research output of universities and research institutions, such as books, journal articles, conferences papers, technical reports, data sets.

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