Published on July 16, 2009
Fostering open access publishing in Tanzanian public universities: policy makers’ perspectives. Dulle, FW and Minishi-Majanja, MK Sokoine National Agricultural Library Department of Information Science University of Agriculture University of South Africa P.O.Box 3022, P.O. Box 392, Pretoria 0003 Morogoro – Tanzania Republic of South Africa E-mail: email@example.com E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Introduction • Scholarly communication: – reflects various processes through which scholars exchange information with each other in the course of knowledge creation. – 3 main distinct aspects (Thorin 2003): • conducting research; developing ideas; communicating informally • preparing, shaping, and formal research results • formal product (print or electronic). – Role of ICTs: dramatic change in research practices such as • Collaboration • Methodology including data collection and analysis • Communication of research results e.g. Open access and self- archiving
Introduction • Open Access: – new mode of scholarly communication through which the author(s) and right holder(s) of scholarly work grant(s) to all users a free, irrevocable, worldwide right of access to, and a license to copy, use, distribute, transmit, and display the work publicly in any digital medium for any responsible purpose, subject to proper attribution of authorship (The Berlin Declaration (2003). – OA Journals (OAJs) “Gold Road” • Peer reviewed • ‘free’ – Self-archiving “Green Road” • Personal websites • OA archives e.g. Institutional repositories – Resources: ROAR; DOAR; DOAJ
Aim and objectives of the study • Problem: Despite the promising potential of open access to improve scholarly communication in developing countries, the new mode of publishing is not yet wide spread in such countries when compared to developed countries • Aim: This is part of the ongoing PhD study whose aim is to analyse the status of open access scholarly communication in Tanzanian public universities. • Objectives: the main study seeks to: – investigate the general awareness and open access usage; – find out factors that facilitate researchers’ adoption of open access; – determine factors that hinder researchers’ adoption of open access; – find out researchers’ perspectives on open access; – suggest strategies to resolve the hindrances to open access adoption. NB: The main focus of the paper is to isolate the awareness and perspectives of policy makers about open access within the public universities
Methodology • Survey approach – Questionnaires – semi structured interviews • Target population – 6 Tanzanian public universities: Ardhi University (ARU); Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS); Mzumbe University (MU), Open University of Tanzania (OUT); Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA); University of Dar es salaam (UDSM). – The interview targeted 67 university policy makers in the selected universities • Response rate – From the 67 targeted interviewees who were eligible for the study, 63 (94%) of them were available and participated in the interview.
Table 1: Distribution of interviewees Institution Gender Total Male Female ARU 9 1 10 MUHAS 8 3 11 MU 7 3 10 OUT 4 2 6 SUA 9 2 11 UDSM 9 6 15 Total 46 17 63
Findings-1 • Open access awareness: – Among 63 interviewees, 57 (90.5%) reported that they were aware about open access. – 79.4% of the interviewees claimed to know open access journals but few had heard about other open access initiatives or terms. – 33% learnt from their colleagues, 25.4% learnt by following internet debate while 19% were informed through publishers’ promotion. • Open access uptake level by respective universities: – open access publishing has not yet been discussed at strategic or business meetings (68.3% of 63 interviewees – open access has been raised but not yet taken up (23.8%) – universities intend to institute an institutional repository (7.9%).
Findings-2 – Importance of Institutional repositories in dissemination of research findings • dissemination of research output at institutions was a problem (94.4%) • institutional repositories an important strategy to improve dissemination of research output (96.8%).
Findings -3 • most appropriate unit within their universities they thought should manage the institutional repository – university library – 61.9% – university-wide research coordination unit – 19% – Computer/ICT unit – 12.7% – faculty/institute/directorate – 3.2%
Findings -4 • most preferred content for institutional repositories – Conference papers – 87.3% – Peer reviewed journal articles – 85.7% – Theses/dissertations – 79.4% – Teaching materials – 65.1% – Articles awaiting peer review for journal – 28.6% – Non peer reviewed journal articles – 27%
Findings -4 • Prospects for open access endorsement by policy makers – majority of the respondents would either support or likely to support most of the interventions for fostering of open access at their respective institutions – majority of the interviewees were very positive about open access as reflected from their general comments
Implications of the study findings with respect to agricultural sector – The Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA), the only agricultural university in the country represents other agricultural research institutions – observations from this study may be applicable to other agricultural research institutions operating under similar environment – Benefits from the establishment of institutional repositories for example could make research results readily accessible to all agricultural stakeholders including policy makers, researchers, extension workers, farmers and the rest of beneficiaries for the improvement of the agricultural sector productivity. – For research results to be useful to all stakeholders, repackaging is important in order to meet different needs of the user community before depositing in the institutional repositories.
Conclusion and recommendations • Conclusion: Apart from the fact that there are many benefits for harnessing open access mode of communicating scholarly output, including establishment of institutional repositories, the attitudes and perceptions of Tanzanian public universities’ policy makers are positive, making it justifiable for public universities and other research institutions in Tanzania to consider it seriously for investing in such ventures • Recommendation: – Tanzanian university should establish institutional repositories as a way to improve dissemination of research output emanating from such institutions. – Policy makers’ positive perspectives about open access should be used by open access advocates to make their campaigns with much confidence as they are unlikely to meet much resistance from such stakeholders.
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