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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

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

  1. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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‟ODI
  6. 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. 7. Obligatory Steve Songmap
  8. 8. But whatgets to theuser? c. 40 kb/s (Alan Jackson, Aptiva te)This is seriously hindering their work
  9. 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. 10. The academic core
  11. 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. 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. 13. Full-text journals & information resources: PERii: 23,000 AGORA: 1,900 OARE: 2,990 HINARI: 8,000
  14. 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. 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. 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. 17. Diverging or converging?(CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
  18. 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. 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. 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)
  21. 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)
  22. 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)
  23. 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)
  24. 24. (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
  25. 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. 26. University of Nairobi, 200920 students shared access to each computerAt Chancellor College, University of Malawi it was 30
  27. 27. “ negative attitudes towards research ” “ environment unwelcoming“ intellectual ” meltdown ” “ intellectually lost ”
  28. 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. 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. 30. 800 academics from 12 southern African countries62% engaged in consultancy work (CREST survey)
  31. 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. 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