Research Data Management in Research Institutions in Zimbabwe

Authors : Josiline Chigwada, Blessing Chiparausha, Justice Kasiroori

The research was aimed at evaluating how research data are being managed in research institutions in Zimbabwe. The study also sought to assess the challenges that are faced in research data management by research institutions in Zimbabwe.

Twenty five institutions of higher learning and other organisations that deal with research were selected using purposive sampling to participate in the study.

An online questionnaire on SurveyMonkey was sent to the selected participants and telephone interviews were done to follow up on participants who failed to respond on time. Data that were collected using interviews were entered manually into SurveyMonkey for easy analysis.

It was found out that proper research data management is not being done. Researchers were managing their own research data. Most of the research data were in textual and spreadsheet format. Graphical, audio, video, database, structured text formats and software applications research data were also available.

Lack of guidelines on good practice, inadequate human resources, technological obsolescence, insecure infrastructure, use of different vocabulary between librarians and researchers, inadequate financial resources, absence of research data management policies and lack of support by institutional authorities and researchers negatively impacted on research data management.

Authors recommend the establishment of research data repositories and use of existing research data repositories that are registered with the Registry of Research Data Repositories to ensure that research data standards are adhered to when doing research.

URL : Research Data Management in Research Institutions in Zimbabwe



An Analysis of Federal Policy on Public Access to Scientific Research Data

Authors : Adam Kriesberg, Kerry Huller, Ricardo Punzalan, Cynthia Parr

The 2013 Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) Memo on federally-funded research directed agencies with research and development budgets above $100 million to develop and release plans to increase and broaden access to research results, both published literature and data.

The agency responses have generated discussion and interest but are yet to be analyzed and compared. In this paper, we examine how 19 federal agencies responded to the memo, written by John Holdren, on issues of scientific data and the extent of their compliance to the directives outlined in the memo.

We present a varied picture of the readiness of federal science agencies to comply with the memo through a comparative analysis and close reading of the contents of these responses.

While some agencies, particularly those with a long history of supporting and conducting science, scored well, other responses indicate that some agencies have only taken a few steps towards implementing policies that comply with the memo.

These results are of interest to the data curation community as they reveal how different agencies across the federal government approach their responsibilities for research data management, and how new policies and requirements might continue to affect scientists and research communities.

URL : An Analysis of Federal Policy on Public Access to Scientific Research Data


Usage Bibliometrics as a Tool to Measure Research Activity

Authors : Edwin A. Henneken, Michael J. Kurtz

Measures for research activity and impact have become an integral ingredient in the assessment of a wide range of entities (individual researchers, organizations, instruments, regions, disciplines).

Traditional bibliometric indicators, like publication and citation based indicators, provide an essential part of this picture, but cannot describe the complete picture.

Since reading scholarly publications is an essential part of the research life cycle, it is only natural to introduce measures for this activity in attempts to quantify the efficiency, productivity and impact of an entity.

Citations and reads are significantly different signals, so taken together, they provide a more complete picture of research activity. Most scholarly publications are now accessed online, making the study of reads and their patterns possible.

Click-stream logs allow us to follow information access by the entire research community, real-time. Publication and citation datasets just reflect activity by authors. In addition, download statistics will help us identify publications with significant impact, but which do not attract many citations.

Click-stream signals are arguably more complex than, say, citation signals. For one, they are a superposition of different classes of readers. Systematic downloads by crawlers also contaminate the signal, as does browsing behavior.

We discuss the complexities associated with clickstream data and how, with proper filtering, statistically significant relations and conclusions can be inferred from download statistics.

We describe how download statistics can be used to describe research activity at different levels of aggregation, ranging from organizations to countries. These statistics show a correlation with socio-economic indicators.

A comparison will be made with traditional bibliometric indicators. We will argue that astronomy is representative of more general trends.


Une brève histoire d’Okina

Auteurs/Authors : Stéphanie Bouvier, Daniel Bourrion

Ouverte à sa communauté en février 2015, Okina, l’archive ouverte institutionnelle de l’Université d’Angers, a été développée au sein d’un projet global autour de l’Open Access.

Les lignes qui suivent retracent l’histoire de cette archive et la manière dont Okina est née puis a été portée politiquement. Elles se penchent également sur les choix techniques comme stratégiques ou humains effectués le long du chemin, qui ont permis que de vagues idées se concrétisent dans un objet fonctionnel né de (presque) rien.


Decentralized creation of academic documents using a Network Attached Storage (NAS) server

Authors : Johannes Wilm, Afshin Sadeghi, Christoph Lange, Philipp Mayr

Scholarly document creation continues to face various obstacles. Scholarly text production requires more complex word processors than other forms of texts because of the complex structures of citations, formulas and figures.

The need for peer review, often single-blind or double-blind, creates needs for document management that other texts do not require. Additionally, the need for collaborative editing, security and strict document access rules means that many existing word processors are imperfect solutions for academics.

Nevertheless, most papers continue to be written using Microsoft Word (Sadeghi et al. 2017).

We here analyze some of the problems with existing academic solutions and then present an argument why we believe that running an open source academic writing solution for academic purposes, such as Fidus Writer, on a Network Attached Storage (NAS) server could be a viable alternative.


The Politics of the Commons: Reform or Revolt?

Author : Vangelis Papadimitropoulos

In this paper I present a critical overview of the contemporary political theories of the Commons, classified in three main categories: 1) the liberal 2) the reformist and 3) the anti-capitalist.

Advocates of the liberal theory of the Commons take a stand in favour of the coexistence of the Commons with the state and the market. The reformists argue for the gradual adjustment of capitalism to the Commons with the aid of a partner state, while the anti-capitalists contrast both the liberals and the reformists by supporting the development of the commons against and beyond capitalism.

I make the case that both the liberal and the anti-capitalist theorists miss the likelihood of technology rendering redundant large-scale production in the future, and forcing thus capitalism to adjust to the Commons in the long run.

The prospect, therefore, of an open cooperativism introduced by the reformist theory holds significant potential with respect to the future development of the Commons. For the Commons however to expand and flourish, a global institutional reform, followed by a set of inter-local and international principles, is sine qua non.

Hence, transparency of information, distribution of value, solidarity and bottom-up self-management are the core variables of individual and collective autonomy inasmuch as they permit a community or group to formulate its values in relation to the needs and skills of its members.

URL : The Politics of the Commons: Reform or Revolt?

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Open Educational Resources and Rhetorical Paradox in the Neoliberal Univers(ity)

Author : Nora Almeida

As a phenomenon and a quandary, openness has provoked conversations about inequities within higher education systems, particularly in regards to information access, social inclusion, and pedagogical practice.

But whether or not open education can address these inequities, and to what effect, depends on what we mean by “open” and specifically, whether openness reflexively acknowledges the fraught political, economic, and ethical dimensions of higher education and of knowledge production processes.

This essay explores the ideological and rhetorical underpinnings of the open educational resource (OER) movement in the context of the neoliberal university.

This essay also addresses the conflation of value and values in higher education—particularly how OER production processes and scholarship labor are valued. Lastly, this essay explores whether OER initiatives provide an opportunity to reimagine pedagogical practices, to reconsider authority paradigms, and potentially, to dismantle and redress exclusionary educational practices in and outside of the classroom.

Through a critique of neoliberalism as critically limiting, an exploration of autonomy, and a refutation of the precept that OER can magically solve social inequalities in higher education, the author ultimately advocates for a reconsideration of OER in context and argues that educators should prioritize conversations about what openness means within their local educational communities.

URL : Open Educational Resources and Rhetorical Paradox in the Neoliberal Univers(ity)

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