Growing knowledge: Access to research in eastern and southern African universities
The Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) Papers. Policy and Research Unit. 06/2011.
Researchers in Sub-Saharan Africa commonly highlight poor journal access as a serious hindrance to their academic work. But thanks to partnerships between librarians, publishers and a number of access initiatives, academics and students in east and southern Africa – and across the wider continent – have an impressive range of high-quality peer-reviewed material available. While availability and electronic access is improving dramatically in many universities, actual usage amongst staff and students does not appear to be keeping pace. The study explores a series of interrelated issues which help to explain why availability has not yet translated into high levels of access and use in some cases: technology and connectivity, the discovery of academic resources, library leadership and staff development, and relationships within the university. It offers a series of recommendations for librarians, ICT staff, university managers and external support and funding organisations, suggesting practical ways in which they can help to strengthen research and teaching by encouraging greater use of available online resources.
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