The use and perceptions of open Access resources by legal academics at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in South Africa

Author : Elizabeth Moll-Willard

Although access to primary legal materials in South Africa is now easily accessible as a result of the Free Access to Law movement, access to legal scholarship is not as easy.

Through using the University of Cape Town (UCT) as a case study, due to its research intensive nature, it is possible to see how academics are publishing their legal scholarship through the use of bibliometrics and data mining.

After the success of a Research Visibility month, law librarians were able to attest to the perceptions of legal academics around the importance of the openness and visibility of their research.

The author contrasts these two to see if the perception of legal academics around the visibility of their resources reflects their publishing practices. It is seen that although academics at UCT publish mostly in closed journals, the publishing in open and hybrid journals has slowly increased during the period 2011-2015.

Further it is evidenced that legal academics are exploring other avenues, including that of self-archiving, to boost the visibility of their work. Law Librarians are able to assist in boosting at least the visibility, if not the openness of legal academics’ work.

URL : The use and perceptions of open Access resources by legal academics at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in South Africa

Alternative location : https://ojs.law.cornell.edu/index.php/joal/article/view/78

Student perceptions of the creation and reuse of open educational resources: A case study of the development-oriented student organisation

Authors : Michael Paskevicius, Cheryl Hodgkinson-Williams

This case study explores students’ perceptions of the creation and reuse of digital teaching and learning resources in their work as tutors as part of a volunteer community development organisation at a large South African University.

Through a series of semi-structured interviews, student-tutors reflect on their use and reuse of digital educational resources, and identify the challenges they experience in curating, adapting, and reusing educational resources for use in their teaching activities.

The data is analysed qualitatively within the framework of an activity system (Engeström, 1987) to surface the primary systemic tensions that student-tutors face in the reuse of resources found online as well as open educational resources (OER).

This study found that student-tutors sourced and used educational materials from the Internet, largely irrespective of their licensing conditions, while also creating and remixing a substantial number of educational materials to make them suitable for use in their context.

We conclude that greater awareness of the availability of OER and explicit open licencing for works sourced and created within community development organisations could enhance sharing, collaboration, and help sustain high impact resources.

URL : Student perceptions of the creation and reuse of open educational resources: A case study of the development-oriented student organisation

Alternative location : http://www.jl4d.org/index.php/ejl4d/article/view/253

Open Access to Scientific Information in Emerging Countries

Author : Joachim Schöpfel

Access to information plays a critical role in supporting development. Open access to scientific information is one solution. Up to now, the open access movement has been most successful in the Western hemisphere.

The demand for open access is great in the developing world as it can contribute to solving problems related to access gaps. Five emerging countries, called BRICS — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — play a specific and leading role with a significant influence on regional and global affairs because of their large and fast-growing national economies, their demography and geographic situation.

In order to better understand open access in each of the five countries, in this paper we take a look at specific conditions in each country, relying on data from information professionals and scientists from BRICS, with an empirical approach focused on country-specific characteristics and challenges.

URL : http://www.dlib.org/dlib/march17/schopfel/03schopfel.html

Open Scholarship Practices Reshaping South Africa’s Scholarly Publishing Roadmap

South African higher education institutions are the largest producers of research output on the African continent. Given this status, South African researchers have a moral obligation to share their research output with the rest of the continent via a medium that minimizes challenges of access; open scholarship is that medium. The majority of South African higher education libraries provide an open access publishing service. However, in most of these cases this service is via engagement with the green open access route, that is, institutional repositories (IR).

Some of the libraries have piloted and adopted gold open access services such as publishing of “diamond” gold open access journals and supporting article processing charges. The experiment with publishing open monographs is a new venture. This venture must be viewed against the backdrop of the need for open educational resources (OERs). OER is an area that is very much in a fledgling stage and is gaining traction, albeit, at a slow pace.

The growth of IRs, the growth in support for gold open access including the library acting as a publisher, the experimentation with open monographs, and OERs are all shaping South Africa’s scholarly publishing roadmap.

URL : Open Scholarship Practices Reshaping South Africa’s Scholarly Publishing Roadmap

DOI : http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/publications3040263

Research productivity-visibility-accessibility and scholarly communication in Southern African universities

The project for the revitalisation of Southern Africa’s higher education sector is dependent on, among other things, the capacity of the region’s universities to produce research, to communicate that research to a broad public audience and to use the research output in the process of educating future generations of graduates. Given this context, research output in the great majority of Southern African universities is barely visible.

While the introduction of new digital media may offer greater accessibility and expanded opportunities for the visibility of scholarly communication, this may be insufficient to meet the needs of the many scholars and other actors who seek to build on existing bodies of knowledge, whether to advance society or in order to create knowledge for its own sake.

This article reports the findings of two 2008 studies – The state of public science in the SADC region and Opening access to knowledge in Southern African universities. Working within a frame which understands knowledge produced in universities as a public good, this article examines the issues at play in terms of the productivity-visibility-accessibility of scholarly communications in regional higher education.

The conclusion discusses a possible approach to improve such productivity-visibility-accessibility, through the adoption of a strategic vision of open access to knowledge and through consideration of two breakthroughs pertinent to achieving a vision of revitalised higher education in the region.

URL : http://wiredspace.wits.ac.za/handle/10539/19768?show=full