Open access institutional repositories in universities in East Africa

Published date12 November 2018
Date12 November 2018
AuthorMiriam Kakai,Maria G.N. Musoke,Constant Okello-Obura
Subject MatterLibrary & information science,Librarianship/library management,Library & information services
Open access institutional
repositories in universities
in East Africa
Miriam Kakai
Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda
Maria G.N. Musoke
Kyambogo University, Kampala, Uganda, and
Constant Okello-Obura
Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda
Purpose Given that repositorieswere proposed as one of the routes to open access(OA), this study sought
to establish the achievements universitiesin East Africa had attained in initiating institutional repositories
(IRs), thechallenges in providing OA and strategies for theway forward.
Design/methodology/approach Data were collected through literature searches, using the internet,
journal databasesand university websites in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda for information aboutOA and IRs
in East Africa. Some of the ndings were basedon the authors PhD The management and accessibility of
OA IRs in selecteduniversities in East Africa, which used face-to-face interviewswith six librarians and self-
administered questionnairesresponded to by 183 researchers at Kenyatta University, Muhimbili University
of Health andAllied Sciences and Makerere University.
Findings Universities in East Africa werestill in the intermediate stages of embracing OA, and only 40
libraries out of 145 universities had implementedIRs. However, most of the repositories had less than 1,000
items, with this challenge attributed to the absence of institutional and government/funder mandates that
affectedthe collection/provision of OA, in addition to the lack of awareness of IRs among researchers.
Originality/value The value in this researchwas establishing the extent of IR initiatives inuniversities
in East Africa and their contributionto OA, which is regarded as more visible and accessible to scholarsand
governmentpersonnel who could leverage the information for further developmentin the region.
Keywords Open access, Kenya, East Africa, Universities, Tanzania, Uganda,
Institutional repositories
Paper type Research paper
Open access is the free availability and unrestricted useof publications or scholarly
literature/information online (Suber, 2015). According to Shearer (2002/2003, p. 90), the
philosophy of open access grew out of the dissatisfactionwith the traditional pricing system
of scholarly publishing in the west,where universities and research institutions were forced
This researchwas partiallybased on KakaisPhD study, which was fully funded by Makerere University
Library SIDA project and also previously presented at the 2018 SCECSAL XXIII Conference in Uganda.
Kakai would like to thank Makerere University and SIDA (Swedish International Development
Cooperation Agency) for the support, and her supervisors/co-authors (Professor Maria G.N. Musoke and
Professor Constant Okello-Obura) for the guidance and encouragement to write this paper.
Universities in
East Africa
Received19 July 2018
Revised3 September 2018
Accepted3 September 2018
Informationand Learning Science
Vol.119 No. 11, 2018
pp. 667-681
© Emerald Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/ILS-07-2018-0066
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