Repositioning academic repositories for better management through open access :
« This is a literature-based opinion paper which examines how digital technology through Open Access has changed the way knowledge that was hitherto hard to find and expensive is finding its way into university electronic repositories and bridging the distance between searching and retrieval. The paper examines opportunities available to scholars, researchers and institutions of higher learning through Open Access and Open Content using electronic repositories. In a number of African academic institutions of higher learning, starting and maintaining journals is becoming the order of the day. Once launched, these journals provide ready material for Open Access through repositories.
Due to the prohibitive price of books it is difficult to purchase all the available books on certain topics. Therefore Open Access on the internet and in repositories would be a good option since updated materials will be available. Open Access repositories and archives are economically sustainable because they are affordable. Depositing new articles takes a few minutes, and is done by individual authors, not archive managers. Open Access repositories and archives at universities only require server space. This benefits the institutions that host them by enhancing the visibility and impact of the articles, the authors, and the institution.
The paper argues that the current scholarly communication system needs urgent reforms to cope with the rapidly changing technological environment. Open Access and Open Content are free, immediate, and handle multiple users. On the other hand, electronic repositories can be set up
The paper recommends that electronic Open Access institutional repositories are a must have for academic institutions and that researchers, institutions and funders need to be informed and trained on the benefits of using Open Access and Institutional repositories. Through this management of knowledge, scholars worldwide will access and benefit from each other’s findings. This is in line with the universal drive to share knowledge propelled by new technologies. »