OAA12 - Growing research by going open: The possibilities and problems for strengthening capacity.

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Jonathan Harle, Programmes Manager, Association of Commonwealth Universities

Jonathan Harle, Programmes Manager, Association of Commonwealth Universities

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  • The oldest inter-university network in the world - today 533 members, founded in 1913Majority from low and middle income countries - 109 in Africa, 240 in South Asia, 4 in the Caribbean. Beyond a single continent or regionEffectively representing developing countries’ HE before many ‘development’ strategies articulated. The balance in membership has titled ‘South’ since 1967 – more members in Asia than elsewhereEarly council meetings were in Lagos, Accra, Johannesburg & Grahamstown
  • THIS IS ME A lot of what follows comes from other people’s work – colleagues at INASP, British Academy, ASAUKsome of the thinking of Johann Mouton and NicoCloete etcespecially conversations with innumerable colleagues in African universities Plenty of people in the room today have much greater experience in this – but these are some of my reflections having been working on this for the last 6 years.
  • Capacity!
  • UKCDS – Research capacity strengthening group
  • WHAT IS RESEARCHCAPACITY?Some definitions of research capacity – SIDA, DFIDSome of the words and ideas that come out of discussions –Key pointsa) not a one off thing – it’s a processb) Long termc) Not just technical project – lots of other things come into capacity – like trust, power etc
  • LEVELS OF RESEARCH CAPACITYCommon / useful to see research capacity at 3 LEVELSINDIVIDUAL– training researchers, postgrads, scholarships, staff developmentORGANISATIONAL – research institutions and their component departments – where researchers work, where teams come together, where you find libraries and labs, and where future generations of students & researchers get trained – next generationOrganisations often organised into networks & consortiaENABLING ENVIRONMENT – national/regional/international policy & political stuff.
  • COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT RESOURCE ASSOCIATION developed a framework for capacity development at the organisational level – again this points to several layers or components – the resources & skills to do research are just part of this. They need a conceptual framework for how capacity is going to be developedThere are strategies, visions neededStructures neededThe culture of the organisation needs to be developed
  • CONTEXT
  • Figures from Hamilton Research suggest that sub-Saharan Africa was only using around 2.6% of its total bandwidth
  • Downloading articles
  • Compiled figures from Tettey & Cloete studies on & doctoratesAt country level, at university level, and public/privateShow that this dimension of ‘capacity’ varies a lot – high in Nairobi, Dar, Ghana, low at Makerere, Botswana, Eduardo MondlaneBetter in public than private in Kenya
  • Postgrad enrollments are also low – and PhD enrollments low amongst these. Most postgraduate enrollment is at masters level4% of Ghana’s enrollments were at postgraduate level. At the University of Ghana they dropped from 14% to 7% between 2002 and 2008. At Ibadan they rose from 18% to 35% (2001-2006), but Nigeria as a whole had just 7% postgrad enrollments in 2007.Overwhelmingly at master’s level. In 2007, 6% of University of Ghana’s postgrads were PhDs. Less than half a per cent of all enrollments.More figures from CloeteGrowth in number of doctorates produced over 6 year periodYear on year, growth has been low in many places – 6.7% at U of Ghana, 2.3% at Makerere, MINUS 17% at Nairobi. Better in some places – 23.3% at Dar, 31.3% at Botswana.UNEVEN CAPACITYVery low amongst women too – Dar: 27% of postgraduate enrollments in 2006/7 were female. At Ibadan in 2005/6 females accounted for 35%. COMPLETION RATES – HOW MANY GRADUATE?Completion rates low. 2007 – Botswana produced just four PhDs, the universities of Dar es Salaam and Ghana 20, Makerere 23 and Nairobi the highest of the five with 32 doctoral graduates
  • Open or shut? This isn’t the questionHow open will it be? How well can African researchers participate?
  • AVAILABILITY OF JOURNALS- Improved a lot – R4L, INASP’sPERii , EIFL --- the idea that journals aren’t available to African researchers doesn’t stand up. Not perfect, but pretty good.23,000 !
  • At a seminar in Nairobi a deputy vice chancellor for research complained how little access he and his colleagues had to journals, to which a senior librarian from the same institution responded that 34,000 titles were now available
  • The concern is whether OA – while aiming to enhance the positions of African researchers might actually shut them out somewhere elseAs producers / authors and as producers of their own journals. Able to read the world’s work, but still not able to publish their own – or not in the same placesHumanities & social sciences – very different to biomedical subjects
  • ECHOING MUCH OF WHAT LAURA SAID EARLIER ABOUT UNIVERSITY POLICY CONTEXTS
  • BUT MORE THAN JUST WHAT IS AVAILABLE – HOW MUCH GETS USED? HOW MUCH RESEARCH IS BEING DONE?In 2011 Tanzania had just over 6,400 full-text resources made just under 65,000 full-text downloads amongst the 93 institutions registered as part of PERii. This equates to an average of less than 700 downloads at each of these institutionsThese are difficult things to measure – but illustrates the deeper problem
  • Discovery skills – huge problem. Navigation in a digital world – OA or notmany were unaware of the titles of key journals in their field; many simply replied ‘journals in economics’ or ‘journals in history’.
  • IT FACILTIES – Academics have a computer eachStudents struggle – where the familiarity is developed
  • The experiences of some early career scholars – on completing their PhD and returning home to their universities
  • ‘De-institutionalisation’ JOHANN MOUTON – researchers are consultants, pursuing solo projects. Many things suffer, including postgrad supervisionAcademics are consultants – working for themselves, not as departments, the research cultures are broken
  • . Mamdani, for example, notes that when he took over the directorship of the university’s social science institute, MISR, one of his first actions was to establish a regular seminar at which he and colleagues would read and discuss key literatureJeater makes a similar observation in her work in Zimbabwe, highlighting cultures of learning which emphasise echoing arguments from canonical texts – and the positions of their lecturers – rather than engaging critically with the issues
  • So to conclude, there’s going to be a lot of work – turn on the taps is a start, but for what flows to be useful we need to work out how to support and develop cultures of researchAnd it’s not all about the funding. Not just money -- Imelda Bates reckons something like 60 % of things which needed to be improved could be done through internal policy, systems etc – not new funding needed

Transcript

  • 1. Growing research by going open?Possibilities and problems for strengtheningcapacity in African universitiesJonathan Harle, Programmes Manager (Research Capacity)Open Access Africa 2012University of Cape Town, 4-5 November
  • 2. The ACUThe first international inter-university network in the world - 1913538 members. We launch our centenary celebrations this week inJamaica.114 in Africa, 271 in Asia, 4 in the Caribbean.Membership has titled „South‟ since 1967
  • 3. “ A country‟s ability to produce, debate and knowledge and use research knowledge and products skills relevant to their needs, such as new ” technologies (SIDA) behaviours and attitudes building trust capacity to a processreproduce capacity beyond a single grant or project context- involves shifts in long-term, complex specific, dynamic power provokes changes in systems influenced by cultural and the wider environment values and political “ processes enhancing the abilities of individuals, organisations and systems beyond a technical and to undertake and disseminate high value-neutral transfer of quality research efficiently and ” skills effectively(DFID)
  • 4. Enabling environment The rules of the game, incentives, political context, national, regional & international policy OrganisationalCapacity of departments and units within universities & research institutes – to Consfund and sustain themselves, to do research, to train and develop, to engage with wider society consortia & networks Individual Developing individual researchers & professional staff –training, scholarships, fellowships, mentoring – to do and manage research, to publish, to communicate, to engage, to influence
  • 5. Context & conceptual framework Skills Culture Vision Strategy ) Structure Material resourcesKaplan 1999 - Community Development Resource Association, South Africa (from Datta, Shaxson, Pellini2012„Capacity, complexity and consulting: Lessons from managing capacity development projects‟ODIhttp://www.odi.org.uk/sites/odi.org.uk/files/odi-assets/publications-opinion-files/7601.pdf)
  • 6. Different organisations, different Many initiatives mandates, different emphases Learning by doing ChangingNo single attitudes, behaviours, apmodel, mechanism or proachesapproach Research environments not purely technical or rational, and definitely not linearCan‟t just be an add on –must be explicit andprioritised
  • 7. Obligatory Steve Songmap
  • 8. But whatgets to theuser? c. 40 kb/s (Alan Jackson, Aptiva te)This is seriously hindering their work
  • 9. Download speedsDecember 2011, journal article from UK-based publisher: 55seconds at the University of Nairobi2-4 minutes at two campuses of the University of Malawi inLilongwe…but even with several attempts a user in Uganda (outside ofKampala) was unable to download the article at all.
  • 10. The academic core
  • 11. Doctoral deficits Doctorates amongst academic staff80% 71%70%60% 50%50% 47% 39%40% 32% 28%30% 20% 19% 21%20% 15% 12%10%0% Figures from Tettey (2010) and Cloete et al (2011)
  • 12. PhD production Doctoral growth 2001-2007 Number of PhDs produced40.0% 2007 35 3230.0% 30 25 2320.0% 20 20 2010.0% 15 0.0% 10 U Ghana U Dar es U Nairobi Makerere Botswana Salaam 5 4-10.0% 0 U Ghana U Dar es U Nairobi Makerere Botswana Salaam-20.0% Figures from Cloete et al (2011)
  • 13. Full-text journals & information resources: PERii: 23,000 AGORA: 1,900 OARE: 2,990 HINARI: 8,000
  • 14. Availability has improvedsignificantly... 27% 117 journals 73% 323 journals2011: average availability of the top 440 ISIranked journals (top 20 journals, 22 subjects)in11 universities –Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Mozambique,Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zim appreciate the ISI isn’t a good measurebabwe. of ‘top’ titles…
  • 15. AAverage availabilityacross all subjects90.0%80.0%70.0%60.0%50.0%40.0%30.0%20.0%10.0% 0.0% U Malawi U Nairobi Nat. U U Dar es Makerere U Zambia U U Addis U Eduardo Nat. U U Ghana R4L PERii Combined Rwanda Salaam U Zimbabwe Ababa Mondlane Lesotho
  • 16. ‘Unavailable titles’ actually available Malawi 71% 128 of 180 Nairobi 69% 73 of 106 28% Rwanda 83% 53 of 64 Dar 70% 16 of 23 72% Actually available = 270 titles
  • 17. Diverging or converging?(CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) http://www.flickr.com/photos/joethorn/
  • 18. For universities Possibilities… • Fewer subscriptions– for more content • More straightforwardto manage -fewer paywalls, IP ranges and passwords • Greater visibility of their own research – institutional & disciplinary repositories • Showing what universities do & contributions to development • Help to build case for investment • New ways of tracking, measuring and understanding reach & impact – altmetrics • CC-BY = re-use = potential to improve teaching materials
  • 19. For universities Challenges… • University leaders don’t yet fully appreciate what open means • Wary of digital and online publishing – belief that not high quality, that ‘free’ material is inferior • Open / online articles not accepted in promotions – policy change, confidence building • Online infrastructure – need to really invest in ICT facilities, bandwidth, local networks, manage bandwidth
  • 20. As readers Possibilities… • Much more available – drawing on the latest research to design, undertake & publish own work • Less cut off from international peers – greater potential for collaboration • Quality research with up to date references more likely to get through peer review • Able to update teaching materials (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) http://www.flickr.com/photos/chrisjl/
  • 21. As readers Challenges… • In a mixed world, some is open, some isn’t. Confusion • Searching, discovering, navigating – still a huge challenge whether open or not • Confidence in the system – judging quality, understanding peer review (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) http://www.flickr.com/photos/chrisjl/
  • 22. As authors Possibilities… • Currently many struggle to publish • Many reasons, but partly unfamiliarity with journals – OA would address this • More opportunity to be published • Greater visibility for their work – within and outside Africa • In journals & in repositories (CC BY 2.0) http://www.flickr.com/photos/anonymouscollective/
  • 23. As authors Challenges… • What‟s a reputable journal? Understanding quality in an OA world. Need support here. • Online? Free? Open access? International? Local? Reviewed? • People will „take‟ their work – the internet‟s not a safe place. Especially with data. • Can‟t afford to publish – many authors think it costs to publish as it is • „Online journals‟ don‟t count for promotion • What about African journals? (CC BY 2.0) http://www.flickr.com/photos/anonymouscollective/
  • 24. (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) http://www.flickr.com/photos/graceinhim/
  • 25. Tanzania 200771,000 downloads from PERiiAround 50,000 students and 2,100academics So that’s just over 1 download per student/academic, per year
  • 26. University of Nairobi, 200920 students shared access to each computerAt Chancellor College, University of Malawi it was 30
  • 27. “ negative attitudes towards research ” “ environment unwelcoming“ intellectual ” meltdown ” “ intellectually lost ”
  • 28. stay connected – with peers,nationally, regionally,internationallyget publisheddefine a research agendaseed funding to get startedlearn how to supervisesupportive institutionalcontextmentoring and support fromexperienced researchers
  • 29. “ Most of our social scientists are not institution based... they are there for hire ” Quoted in Danny Wight‟s article of the same title, Social Science & Medicine, 2008; 66:110-6.
  • 30. 800 academics from 12 southern African countries62% engaged in consultancy work (CREST survey)
  • 31. “ Consultants presume that research is all about finding answers to problems defined by a client. They think of research as finding answers, not as formulating a problem ” Mahmoud Mamdani, The Importance of Research in a University‟, keynote at Makerere University Research Conference, 9 April 2011
  • 32. “ The lack of knowledge production is not a simple lack of capacity and resources, but a complex set of capacities and contradictory rewards within a resource-scarce situation ” Cloete et al, 2011, Universities and Economic Development in Africa