Utilisation of open access institutional repositories in Zimbabwe’s public universities.
Tapfuma, Mass Masona.
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Despite the establishment of institutional repositories (IRS) in Zimbabwe’s public universities, content for these repositories remains untangible. The purpose of this study was to explore the utilisation of IRs in the universities. The Unified Theory of Acceptance and Usage of Technology (UTAUT) model was used to understand individuals behaviours’ towards acceptance of technologies. The pragmatist paradigm guided the study employing the mixed methods research (MMR) approach combining quantitative and qualitative approaches. Triangulation was used to obtain a deeper understanding of the research problem. Eight public universities were surveyed including all levels of academics, research directors, library directors and IR/faculty librarians. A census, stratified and systematic sampling techniques were adopted to constitute the sample of the study. A survey was carried out aided by questionnaires and interviews. Document analysis (policies and so forth) and bibliometric analysis were also employed including attending a Zimbabwe University Libraries Consortium (ZULC) workshop. The findings of the study revealed a high awareness of OA/IRs by the academic community but content deposits were very low despite the existence of research and OA/IR policies (in some of the universities) which mandated deposit of research funded by the universities. A national repository was also established by the Research Council of Zimbabwe to link all repositories in the country while ZULC was lobbying for the development of a national OA policy. The study concluded that Zimbabwe’s university libraries faced numerous challenges in marketing and promoting of repositories, therefore, the concept of IRs remains in the infancy stage. It was recommended that: the libraries should intensify OA/IR education efforts; incentivise scholars/academics and library staff; resolve IPR issues and strengthen deposit mandates. The study would contribute to practice in the establishment, running, management and promotion of repositories and policy makers will be informed and guided in the development and implementation of OA policies and regulatory frameworks leading to the establishment of the requisite infrastructure for OA/IR establishment in all academic institutions in the country, the national repository and the national content harvesting systems. Further research to probe the causes of low deposit rates and why scholars prefer depositing elsewhere is recommended.