Kakai | An analysis of the factors affecting open access to research output in institutional repositories in selected universities in East Africa | Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication

Abstract:  INTRODUCTION Institutional repositories (IRs) present universities with an opportunity to provide global open access (OA) to their scholarship, however, this avenue was underutilised in two of the three universities in this study. This study aimed at proposing interventions to improve access to research output in IRs in universities in East Africa, and it adds to the depth of knowledge on IRs by pointing out the factors that limit OA in IRs, some of which include lack of government and funder support for OA and mediated content collection workflows that hardly involved seeking author permission to self-archive. METHODS A mixed methods approach, following a concurrent strategy was used to investigate the low level of OA in IRs. Data was collected from three purposively selected IRs in universities in East Africa, using self-administered questionnaires from 183 researchers and face-to-face interviews from six librarians. results The findings revealed that content was collected on a voluntary basis, with most of the research output deposited in the IR without the authors’ knowledge. The respondents in this study were, however, supportive of the activities of the IR, and would participate in providing research output in the IR as OA if required to do so. CONCLUSION The low level of OA in IRs in universities in East Africa could be increased by improving the IR workflow, collection development, and marketing processes. Self-archiving could be improved by increasing the researchers’ awareness and knowledge of OA and importance of IRs, while addressing their concerns about copyright infringement.

 

COMMENTS OF THE LIBRARY COPYRIGHT ALLIANCE REGARDING COPYRIGHT AMENDMENT BILL

“IIPA [International Intellectual Property Alliance] attacked subsection 12D7(a) as a threat to “academic freedom” because it gives the author of a scientific article that is the result of a research activity primarily funded by the government the right to make the article available on an open access basis. This is a truly Orwellian argument. How does preserving a scientist’s right to make her research publicly available undermine her academic freedom? The statute doesn’t obligate her to provide open access, although the Government certainly has the authority to do so as a condition of its providing the research funding. Indeed, the United States government conditions it research grants on making the resulting articles available on an open access basis. So do the EU and many other research funders around the world.

OA Policy Formulation, Adoption and Implementation Forum | EIFL

“EIFL Open Access Coordinator in Kenya, Dr George Gitau, Chief University Librarian at Kenyatta University, Iryna Kuchma, EIFL Open Access Programme Manager, and Rosemary Otando, Deputy University Librarian at the University of Nairobi, will facilitate the Open Access Policy Formulation, Adoption and Implementation Forum at Amref International University. 

The Forum will comprise two parts. First, there will be presentations and discussion of emerging trends in the open access movement, open access repositories, open access journal publishing and open access policy development. The facilitators will highlight how open access contributes to institutional and researcher visibility, and the importance of ORCID and Google Scholar indexing, copyright, licensing and plagiarism issues….”

CFP DHASA 2021 | Digital Humanities Association of Southern Africa | deadline: 22 August

“The Digital Humanities Association of Southern Africa (DHASA) is organizing its third conference with the theme “Digitally Human, Artificially Intelligent”. The field of Digital Humanities is currently still rather underdeveloped in Southern Africa. … By bringing together researchers working on Digital Humanities from Southern Africa or on Southern Africa, we hope to boost collaboration and research in this field….

The DHASA conference is an interdisciplinary platform for researchers working on all areas of Digital Humanities (including, but not limited to language, literature, visual art, performance and theatre studies, media studies, music, history, sociology, psychology, language technologies, library studies, philosophy, methodologies, software and computation, etc.). It aims to create the conditions for the emergence of a scientific Digital Humanities community of practice.

Suggested topics include the following:…

Digital cultural studies, hacker culture, networked communities, digital divides, digital activism, open/libre networks and software, etc.;…

Critical infrastructure studies, critical software studies, media archaeology, eco-criticism, etc., as they intersect with the digital humanities;…

Important dates

Submission deadline: 22 August 2021…

Conference: 29 November 2021 – 3 December 2021…”

 

Open Science in Kenya: Where Are We? | Research Metrics and Analytics

“According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Open Science is the movement to make scientific research and data accessible to all. It has great potential for advancing science. At its core, it includes (but is not limited to) open access, open data, and open research. Some of the associated advantages are promoting collaboration, sharing and reproducibility in research, and preventing the reinvention of the wheel, thus saving resources. As research becomes more globalized and its output grows exponentially, especially in data, the need for open scientific research practices is more evident — the future of modern science. This has resulted in a concerted global interest in open science uptake. Even so, barriers still exist. The formal training curriculum in most, if not all, universities in Kenya does not equip students with the knowledge and tools to subsequently practice open science in their research. Therefore, to work openly and collaboratively, there is a need for awareness and training in the use of open science tools. These have been neglected, especially in most developing countries, and remain barriers to the cause. Moreover, there is scanty research on the state of affairs regarding the practice and/or adoption of open science. Thus, we developed, through the OpenScienceKE framework, a model to narrow the gap. A sensitize-train-hack-collaborate model was applied in Nairobi, the economic and administrative capital of Kenya. Using the model, we sensitized through seminars, trained on the use of tools through workshops, applied the skills learned in training through hackathons to collaboratively answer the question on the state of open science in Kenya. While the former parts of the model had 20–50 participants, the latter part mainly involved participants with a bioinformatics background, leveraging their advanced computational skills. This model resulted in an open resource that researchers can use to publish as open access cost-effectively. Moreover, we observed a growing interest in open science practices in Kenya through literature search and data mining and that lack of awareness and skills may still hinder the adoption and practice of open science. Furthermore, at the time of the analyses, we surprisingly found that out of the 20,069 papers downloaded from BioRXiv, only 18 had Kenyan authors, a majority of which are international (16) collaborations. This may suggest poor uptake of the use of preprints among Kenyan researchers. The findings in this study highlight the state of open science in Kenya and challenges facing its adoption and practice while bringing forth possible areas for primary consideration in the campaign toward open science. It also proposes a model (sensitize-train-hack-collaborate model) that may be adopted by researchers, funders and other proponents of open science to address some of the challenges faced in promoting its adoption in Kenya….”

 

Make your nomination for the 2021 UCT Open Textbook Award | UCT News

“The University of Cape Town (UCT) is calling for nominations for the 2021 UCT Open Textbook Award.

The award, which was launched in 2020, is an initiative of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (DVC): Teaching and Learning, Associate Professor Lis Lange, and aims to incentivise innovation in teaching and learning, recognise the efforts of open textbook authors and promote the creation and reuse of open educational resources….”

Global Trends in Open Access: Themes from Africa, Asia and Latin America – The Scholarly Kitchen %

“The opportunity for researchers to share their findings and draw on the research findings of others is vital for researchers, policymakers and wider society. But all too often, the way that this process works is decided by relatively small numbers of countries and people –- often those based in the global North, in “elite” institutions or in large, commercial publishers.

Important voices can be missed and, as a result, important learning about what people have found already works around the world is not reflected in academia, policy decisions, and practice. 

In a recent Scholarly Kitchen webinar, I was delighted to be joined by great speakers from three continents, who are all experts in open access with different perspectives. This post summarizes some of the key themes discussed by Arianna Becerril García, who is based in Mexico, Thomas Hervé Mboa Nkoudou, who is based in Cameroon, and Vrushali Dandawate, who is in India….”

Open education resources to shape post-pandemic world

“For the past two decades, the world has been building open knowledge on a massive scale, with open educational resources as a cornerstone. The 2001 launches of MIT OpenCourseWare and Creative Commons formed a solid foundation of this global open educational resource movement, which now supports many millions of learners from all walks of life.

Now, as we begin to grapple with the long-term impacts and changes in education brought on by the pandemic year, it’s crucial to assess how open educational resource (OER) tools and resources are reaching those who need and use them most. In this article, we’ll focus on students in Africa….

Beyond its role in sustaining education through the pandemic, OER like MIT OpenCourseWare has several qualities that will be essential in the rebuilding and progress to come, supporting efforts to increase equity and live more sustainably as framed by the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

• OER is inclusive, because it’s open for all to adapt for diverse needs and have all voices reflected.

• OER is resilient, always there when you need it, free to use in classrooms and carry with you through any future disruptions.

• OER is iterative, a collective work in progress that admits the latest insights into what’s working, and what’s not working, as knowledge is created and applied.

• OER is scalable, enabling hyper-local knowledge and lived experiences to be shared and built into a global pool of knowledge….”

African Minds – African Minds is an open access, not-for-profit publisher of scholarly books.

“African Minds is a not-for-profit, open access publisher based in Cape Town, South Africa. We publish predominantly in the social sciences and our authors are typically African academics and thinkers, as well as international academics who have a close affinity with the continent. We offer a new publishing channel to authors frustrated by a lack of support from traditional book publishers as well as with publishing’s anachronistic and lengthy approach to making knowledge available. African Minds is therefore not a traditional, commercial publisher. Our emphasis is less on the commercial viability of our publications than on fostering access, openness and debate in the pursuit of growing and deepening the African knowledge base.”

Democratizing Higher Education in Zambia Through Open Access Data · TCC Africa webcasts

“What steps has the Ministry taken in democratizing higher education through open access (partnerships, access to infrastructure and data)

What are the challenges that have arisen and also what opportunities has the Ministry taken advantage of in using open access and open science in democratizing higher education in Zambia

What does the future hold for the Zambia academic community with open access? …”

Africa and Latin America agree to closer collaboration around open science – africaconnect3

“Today, LA Referencia, RedCLARA and the three African regional research and education networks – ASREN, WACREN and UbuntuNet Alliance – signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to formalize their relationship as the two continents seek to ramp up their open science activities. The aim of the collaboration is to advance open science policies, services and infrastructure that reflect the unique needs and conditions of each continent within a framework of international cooperation….

The MoU provides a framework for ongoing information sharing between the African Research & Education Networks (RENs), through the LIBSENSE Initiative and LA Referencia / RedCLARA, and the potential adoption of the LA Referencia open source discovery software in Africa. The collaboration is being fostered by COAR, the Confederation of Open Access Repositories, and with support from the pan-European GÉANT network, OpenAIRE and the EU co-funded AfricaConnect3 project….”

Africa and Latin America agree to closer collaboration around open science – africaconnect3

“Today, LA Referencia, RedCLARA and the three African regional research and education networks – ASREN, WACREN and UbuntuNet Alliance – signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to formalize their relationship as the two continents seek to ramp up their open science activities. The aim of the collaboration is to advance open science policies, services and infrastructure that reflect the unique needs and conditions of each continent within a framework of international cooperation….

The MoU provides a framework for ongoing information sharing between the African Research & Education Networks (RENs), through the LIBSENSE Initiative and LA Referencia / RedCLARA, and the potential adoption of the LA Referencia open source discovery software in Africa. The collaboration is being fostered by COAR, the Confederation of Open Access Repositories, and with support from the pan-European GÉANT network, OpenAIRE and the EU co-funded AfricaConnect3 project….”

LIBSENSE National Open Science Roadmaps debuts at WACREN 2021 | WACREN

“The LIBSENSE  initiative, which was launched in 2017, has been building a community of practice for open science and progressing the adoption of open science services and infrastructures in Africa. The initiative is led by WACREN – West and Central African Research and Education Network – in partnership with a number of other organizations. The aim of LIBSENSE is to advance open science in Africa through strengthening and expanding services at the institutional, national and regional level.

LIBSENSE recognizes that open science in Africa, with respect for diversity and sustainable development, can be best realized through localized, yet interoperable, infrastructures – rather than being outsourced to private industry or external organizations. Not only will these services be able to more directly respond to the needs of African research communities, they also contribute to building local capacity and knowledge around open science.

The UNESCO Open Science Partnership has put open science on the agenda of national governments. Leveraging this strategic opportunity, LIBSENSE has begun to work with several African countries that are committed to advance open science policies, infrastructures and services to develop African National Open Science Roadmaps that can then be adapted to other African countries. The initial countries LIBSENSE is working with are Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Nigeria, Somalia, Tanzania, and Uganda….”