Establishing an Institutional Repository: A UNISA Case Study :
« The purpose of the paper is to share and learn about the roles of Academic Libraries with reference to the establishment of the Institutional Repository as a mechanism which can benefit scholars to expose their work, putting the institution at the level where-in its research output can
be evaluated and accessed by their peers. The institutional repository provides opportunity for citations, providing an opportunity for the required expose to other web based access tools. It can provide an alternative to the conventional publishing channel. The paper will focus on the practical experience of the UNISA library as a result of the implementation of the Institutional Repository through a pilot project.
UNISA, as an international university with its vision “Towards the African University in the service of humanity” has comprehensive and valuable research output by its academics. The institutional repository is a tool which can benefit scholars to expose their work and putting the
institution at the level where in its research out can be evaluated and accessed by their peers. The
institutional repository provides opportunity for citations, publication which is free, providing an opportunity for the required expose to other web based access tools.
One of UNISA’s strategic objectives is to implement an institutional repository, starting with the pilot project in 2008. This decision has created a positive platform for the library to utilize the
skills available to create a repository for the research output for UNISA. UNISA library has embarked on a pilot project to establish an institutional repository as a vehicle to expose its academic research output in a coherent manner. There are challenges in the process which require further debates on the benefits this platform would bring to both the university and individual academics. There is still a lot of mistrust, resistance and lack of skills from academics. Unless the information is shared, debates and workshops are held on the benefits from putting ones work on the institutional repository, African researchers will continue to aspire to exposure outside Africa. Institutional repositories can provide the platform to electronic journals, with a bigger potential if co-ordinated through the academic institutions to have the African market of
researchers more exposed, thus building our own African research output. The benefit of this is to
disseminate the research of African academics.
An overview of the role the Library plays in creation and establishing the Institutional repository will be provided. Information will be shared with the colleagues who wish to establish an Institutional Repository, while also providing an opportunity to learn how to utilize the tool to benefit researchers who are challenged, in terms of publishing their work. The academic libraries in higher education are willing to assist in establish a platform through the institutional repository, which is available through any internet.
The paper will conclude by highlighting some solutions to ensure that the research work of academics is exposed to the world. It will also provide an alternative to start providing access for potential articles which can get into the “international journals”. It will tell the UNISA library
URL : http://uir.unisa.ac.za/handle/10500/4297