AWARENESS AND USE OF OPEN ACCESS INSTITUTIONAL DEPOSITORIES BY ACADEMICS IN FEDERAL UNIVERSITIES IN NORTH CENTRAL STATES OF NIGERIA

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AWARENESS AND USE OF OPEN ACCESS INSTITUTIONAL DEPOSITORIES BY ACADEMICS IN FEDERAL UNIVERSITIES IN NORTH CENTRAL STATES OF NIGERIA

ABSTRACT

This research was carried out to investigate the Awareness and Use of Open Access Institutional Repositories by Academics in Federal Universities in North Central States of Nigeria. The research questions raised among others include; what is the level of awareness of Open Access IR by academics in Federal Universities in North Central States of Nigeria? What are the sources of awareness of Open Access IR by academics in Federal Universities in North Central States of Nigeria? To what extent do academics use Open Access IR in Federal Universities in North Central States of Nigeria? What challenges do the academics faced with in accessing Open Access IR in Federal Universities in North Central States of Nigeria? The hypotheses formulated and tested for this study are:There is no significant difference in the extent of satisfaction with the contents of Open Access IR among academics in Federal Universities in the North Central States of Nigeria. There is no significant difference in the frequency of use of Open Access IR among academics in the Federal Universities in North Central States of Nigeria.

Survey research design was adopted for the study while structured and unstructured questionnaire was the instrument used for data collection. The population comprised academics in Federal universities in North central States of Nigeria. The findings from the study revealed that majority of the respondents indicated that they are aware of the existence of Open Access Institutional Repositories. The study also discovered that majority of academics in Federal Universities in North Central States of Nigeria indicated that the source of awareness of Open Access Institutional Repositories was through academics/colleagues etc. Concluding that awareness with the existence of Open Access Institutional Repositories by academics in the Federal Universities in North Central States of Nigeria is on the increase. They indicated that the Open Access Institutional Repositories is very important to the University community. This is because they accessed and disseminate scholarly works. It was recommended amongst others that the university management should provide necessary facilities and formulate policies that would encourage mandatory deposit and use of scholarly works in open access institutional repositories and other open access outlets so as to contribute to the existing body of knowledge not mere consumers.  

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1        Background to the Study

Advances in information and communication technology have brought extraordinary changes in many areas of our personal and workplace endeavors, some of which have challenged and even transformed established ways of thinking and communicating. The scholarly community has been far from immune to these changes, and in many respects has been at the forefront of accepting new technologies and their sometimes unpredictable consequences. The emergence of the Internet as the ubiquitous point of access to scholarly publishing has, in particular, hastened the inevitable rise of digital publishing that has simultaneously both entrenched and challenged the hegemony of commercial publishers in the scholarly publishing sphere. The Berlin Declaration (2003) defined Open Access (OA) as a new mode of scholarly communication through which the authors and right holders of scholarly work grants to all users a free, irrevocable, worldwide right of access to, and a permission to copy, use, distribute, transmit, and display the work publicly and to make and distribute derivative works, in any digital medium for any responsible purpose, subject to proper attribution of authorship. According to this definition, a complete version of the work and all supplemental materials, including a copy of the permission to use should be deposited in at least one online repository using suitable technical standards to enable open access, unrestricted distribution, and long-term archiving of such works. The new form of scholarly communication is achieved through two main channels: Open Access Journals (OAJs) for electronic referred journals and Self-archiving

Institutional Repository (Chan & Costa, 2005; Barley, 2006).

Open Access has since become the subject of common discussion among researchers, academics, librarians, university administrators, funding agencies, government officials, commercial publishers, and learned-society publishers. Prior to the advent of the Internet, publishers (especially commercial) and academic societies dominated scholarly communication and most researchers have to channel the publication of their research output mainly through authoritative publishers and academic societies. However, with the advent of ICTs, different models of information access and dissemination are being developed to provide access, manage costs, and manage an organization’s scholarly output, especially in academic institutions such as colleges, polytechnics and universities. The current evolving information access model is referred to as Open Access.

Institutional Repositories have been the forerunner of the Open Access movement. Lynch

(2003) points out that the “development of Institutional Repositories emerged as a new strategy that allows universities to apply serious, systematic leverage to accelerate changes taking place in scholarship and scholarly communication.” A frequently cited definition of Institutional Digital Repository (IDR) is that offered by Lynch (2003) a university-based institutional repository is a set of services that a university offers to the members of its community for the management and dissemination of digital materials created by the institution and its community members. Essentially,  an  Institutional  Repository  is  about  organizational commitment  to  the  stewardship  of  these  digital  materials,  including  long-term preservation where appropriate, as well as organization and access or distribution. The synergic relationship between publication of research output and universities influences the definition of Institutional Repositories. However,

Institutional Repositories need not be confined to universities.

The aim of IR is to increase visibility, preservation and storage of all types of institutional output, including unpublished literature, support for learning and teaching, standardization of institutional records, ability to keep track of and analyze research performance, breaking down of publishers‟ cost and permission barriers, help universities to share their knowledge and expertise (Christian, 2008) . Essentially, IR collects and provides free access to the research output of a given institution. The main function of IR is to provide improved access to the full text of research articles and improve retrieval of relevant research (Christian, 2008). In Nigeria, the idea of Institutional Repositories (IRs) is a current theme in tertiary institutions that have seen it as a necessity for making available their institutional resources, thereby increasing their visibility and better performance in the ongoing web ranking of world universities in particular. In the last three years, Nigerian Universities have, more or less, competed among themselves to have higher ranking in the web metrics ranking of world universities. This has been a healthy competition because more and more of the institutions have been devising creative means of increasing their digital contents in the public domain, resulting in more Nigerian content on the Internet, and, particularly, more openness and share-ability of institutional resources (Akintunde & Anjo, 2012).

University libraries have an increasingly important role to play in supporting Open Access publishing and dissemination of research outputs. In particular, many libraries are playing a leading role in establishing and managing institutional repositories (IRs). Christian (2008) noted that for centuries, institutional libraries and scholarly publishing were the conventional model adopted in disseminating and preserving knowledge in academic and

research institutions.

In the 21st Century, universities libraries in Nigeria have embarked on integration of technology in their operations. This serves as a mechanism for improvement and development, especially, in a situation where attention is drawn to the academic contents and ways of digitizing and preserving them for future use. Libraries have long played an essential role in containing, preserving, and sharing of information. Many information technologies have been created over the years; to cater for the entire library operations, particularly information storage and retrieval. University libraries are fully involved in this development as they are the heart of the University, being that they house the intellectual resources of the institutions. The effort to digitize the intellectual property of the institution is what is known as digitization (Eke, 2011).

 

Awareness is a pre-requisite to subsequent usage of open access publications unless an individual uses it unknowingly. According to Dinev (2005), “awareness raises consciousness and knowledge about a certain technology and its personal and social benefits”. This view was supported by their study which established awareness as the central determinant of user attitude and behaviour towards technology. In the open access environment, awareness has also been acknowledged as an important factor determining usage of this mode of scholarly communication (Warlick, & Voughan, 2006; Fullard, 2007).

1.2       Statement of the Problem

Institutional Repository is a platform for knowledge sharing and development. Shearer

(2003) stated that deposition of critical mass content could lead to significant usage of Institutional Repository. She further argue that the success of IR should be determine by it use, and one measures for the usefulness of Institutional Repositories was contribution of content by the researchers in the university community. It is now obvious to the academic and scholarly community that the traditional model of scholarly communication via subscription-based journals serves to hinder rather than expand access to research output. In the light of emerging trends in digital scholarly communication, Institutional Repositories play an important role in the preservation and dissemination of institutional research outputs which in turn becomes a constituent part of a global research output (Ng‟etich, 2004).

Nigeria has over 152 accredited Universities, Federal, State and Private NUC (2017). Nigeria has more universities than any country in Sub-Saharan Africa. These universities function as focal point for academic research in Nigeria. Egwunyenga (2008) has attributed this to the fact that research is made compulsory for both lecturers and students either by job description or by prescribed academic program of study. Academic institutions have been grappling with how to communicate to scholars the digital intellectual output they produce including journal articles, conference papers, reports, theses & dissertation, teaching materials, artwork, research notes, and research data. Thus after so much painstaking commitment of efforts and resources in undertaking researches, the outcome are not widely disseminated. The consequence of this is that these research findings die at the institutional level as those who need to apply the knowledge are unable to access them, there will be low citation because other people cannot build on their work and it prevent sharing of knowledge, idea and experiences. (Johnson, Helen, Omolara & Emilian 2017).

Open Access initiative has come to stay with its abundant benefits and opportunities to many stakeholders in the university community. Yet, lecturers that are supposed to be great users of the initiative medium and products are still unaware of the many benefits and opportunities that the medium and products are capable of offering them. Little is known about the extent to which Nigerian lecturers use the medium and its products to enhance their academic status and visibility as well as web metric counts of their universities. Previous studies have persistently reported low submission of scholarly works by academic staff members who are the major authors of scholarly works (Ware, 2004); (Nicholas, Rowlands, Watkinson, Brown, & Jamali, 2012). Preliminary investigation reveals that academics in North Central part of Nigeria are reluctant in submitting their research publication in repository. It is against this backdrop that this study intends to examine level of awareness and extent of use of Open Access repository by academics in Federal Universities in North Central part of Nigeria from submitting their research publication in Open Access repository.

1.3        Research Questions

The study sought to answer the following research questions:

  1. What is the level of awareness of Open Access IR by academics in Federal Universities in North Central States of Nigeria?
  2. What are the sources of awareness of Open Access IR by academics in Federal

Universities in North Central States of Nigeria?

  1. To what extent do academics use Open Access IR in Federal Universities in North

Central States of Nigeria?

  1. To what extent do academics satisfy with the contents of Open Access IR in Federal

Universities in North Central States of Nigeria?

  1. What challenges do the academics faced with in accessing Open Access IR in Federal

Universities in North Central States of Nigeria?

 

 

 

1.4       Objectives of the Study

The following objectives were used:

  1. To find out the level of awareness of Open Access IR by academics in Federal

Universities in North Central States of Nigeria.

  1. To identify the sources of awareness of Open Access IR by academics in Federal

Universities in North Central States of Nigeria.

  1. To determine the extent at which academics use Open Access IR in Federal Universities in North Central States of Nigeria.
  2. To determine the extent of satisfaction with the contents of Open Access IR by academics in Federal Universities in North Central State of Nigeria.
  3. To find out the challenges the academics face in accessing Open Access IR in Federal

Universities in North Central States of Nigeria.

1.5        Hypotheses

The following hypotheses were tested:

H01: There is no significant difference in the extent of satisfaction with the contents of Open Access IR by academics in Federal Universities in the North Central States of Nigeria.

H02: There is no significant difference in the frequency of use of Open Access IR by academics in the Federal Universities in North Central States of Nigeria.

1.6       Significance of the Study

The academics would benefit from the findings, because they would be able to understand that through Open Access Institutional Repository their digital research outputs can be manage and archived for future use which would provide open access to it, promote scholarly communication and enhance professional visibility of their research work, citation counts and extending the range of knowledge. It gives the academics more exposure that by having their research and publications openly available on the Web, not just in fee-based databases, scholarly journals, or books, their work is likely to be used and cited more. As a result, their reputation would be enhanced over the long term, due to the recognition they gain from this. Academics contribute to the adoption of Open Access IR by depositing and making use of research works deposited in Open Access IR by their colleagues. Having identified the challenges they face when adopting Open Access IR, they would address impediments of gaining access to IR.

The findings of this study would make them re-focus on strategies and policies based on the issues raised by the main users of IR. It would assist university libraries to elevate the problem of increasing journal subscription costs and permission crisis and by so doing provide what their readers need. This would in turn enable librarians to implement IR as one of their methods to disseminate and preserve digital information resources. The findings would also act as a guide for library management on areas to concentrate on when developing training programmes for academics as it would reveal areas in which they require additional training.

Universities worldwide are ranked based on their web presence. The findings would help universities in  Nigeria in devising strategies in line with academics needs. Increased academics provision of research works would be useful in organization of the university‟s academic databases so that they would be comparable to other world universities through Open Access IRs. It opens up the outputs of the university to the world and maximizes the visibility and impact of these outputs. Repositories are significant for universities in helping to manage and capture intellectual assets as a part of their information strategy. It significant to universities because they form the infrastructure for a new scholarly publishing paradigm that wrests control away from publishers and puts it back in the hands of the academy, increase visibility, prestige, and public value of contributors. It promotes sharing of knowledge throughout the country.

Finally, the outcome of the study also contributed to the existing body of literature in the area of librarianship in Nigerian and world in general.

1.7       Scope of the Study

This study covered all the academics in Federal Universities in the North Central States of Nigeria that are having their Open Access Institutional Repositories. These universities were:

University of Ilorin, University of Jos, Federal University of Technology Minna and Federal University Lokoja. University of Agriculture Makurdi, and University of Abuja had been removed from the study because they did not have Open Access IR as at the time of conducting the research. Therefore, the researcher worked with only four Federal Universities in North Central States of Nigeria.

Federal Universities were chosen for this study because they were the largest government funded tertiary educational institutions in Nigeria so scholarly publications are more likely to be available at these universities. They account for a significant proportion of the scholarly researches conducted in Nigeria and close to 50% of the staff in Nigerian universities are teaching and conducting research in the Federal Universities (Christian, 2008). Also, North Central States Federal Universities in Nigeria were chosen for this study because they were lagging behind in the global information revolution such as Open Access and Institutional Repositories.

The study focused on academics. This is because academics were considered to be in a better position to conduct lifelong research.

 

1.8       Operational Definition of Terms

The following terms were defined as used in this study:

Academics: This refers to the teaching staff of Federal Universities in North Central States of Nigeria.

Awareness: The state of having knowledge and willingness of academics to deposit their research publications in Open Access IR.

Institutional Repository (IR): An online hub established for purposes of collecting, preserving, and disseminating the digital intellectual research output of Federal Universities in North Central States of Nigeria.

Open Access (OA): Unrestricted online access to research articles published in scholarly journals or Institutional Repositories.

Scholarly Content (SC): This refers to any work product created by the institution‟s students, faculty, non-faculty researchers and staff.

Use: The process of accessing the digital intellectual research output available in the OA IR.

AWARENESS AND USE OF OPEN ACCESS INSTITUTIONAL DEPOSITORIES BY ACADEMICS IN FEDERAL UNIVERSITIES IN NORTH CENTRAL STATES OF NIGERIA

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