Open Access Week

October 23 - 29, 2023 | Everywhere

DSpace Open Access repository development in Africa: Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe This is the fifth of a five-part series that looks at Open Access repository development in twelve African countries in celebration of Open Access Week Oct. 24-30, 2011. The first part (Botswana, Ethiopia and Ghana) may be found here: Parts two, three and four (Kenya, Malawi; Mozambique, Senegal; Sudan, South Africa) may be found here:

The series is co-authored by Iryna Kuchma, Open Access Programme manager, EIFL ( and EIFL-OA country coordinators: Netsanet Animut, Addis Ababa University and Chair of the Consortium of Ethiopian Academic and Research Libraries, Charles Banda, Copperbelt University, Zambia, Aissa Mitha Issak, Universidade Pedagógica, Mozambique, Gloria Kadyamatimba, Chinhoyi University of Technology Library, Zimbabwe, Richard B. Lamptey, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana, Fredrick Kiwuwa Lugya, Makerere University Library, Uganda, Reason Baathuli Nfila, University of Botswana Library, Rosemary Otando, University Nairobi, Kenya, Kondwani Wella, Kamuzu College of Nursing, University of Malawi and Carol Minton Morris, DuraSpace.


African research output in the mainstream of world knowledge

Makerere University Library became the first library in Uganda to set up an institutional repository called Uganda Scholarly Digital Library (USDL, Launched as a science repository but later changed to cover other disciplines, USDL has a total of 1,600 full text articles, reports, posters, and other scholarly materials.
Through Open Access organizations and groups like Consortium of Uganda University Libraries (David Bukenya,, EIFL-OA (Fredrick Kiwuwa Lugya, and support from partners like INASP, EIFL, Sida Sarec, and Carnegie Corporation of New York, academic and research libraries in Uganda have started to show interest in having  institutional repositories.
The Open Access initiative has been further strengthened through partnerships such as the Irish African Partnership for Research Capacity Building and the Database of African Theses and Dissertations (DATAD). Through its Open Access repository, the Irish African Partnership for Research Capacity Building (IAP) brings together universities of Ireland, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania and Uganda in a unique, high-level partnership to develop a coordinated approach to research capacity building in order to make an effective contribution to the reduction of poverty. With the support of the Association of African Universities (AAU) DATAD aims at improving the management and access to African scholarly work (theses and dissertations) thus putting Africa’s research output onto the mainstream of world knowledge.


Building capacity for Open Access repositories

Zambia Library Consortium (ZALICO) promotes Open Access in the country and builds capacities among its member organizations to set up and maintain Open Access repositories.
In 2011 Zambia Library Consortium (ZALICO) has organized a national Open Access Repositories workshop funded by INASP to explore DSpace software for repository building. Participants from 12 institutions attended, including: National Assembly, National Institute for Industrial Scientific Research, National Technology Business Centre, The National Science and Technology Council, National Institute for Public Administration (NIPA), University of Zambia, Bank of Zambia, Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) formerly Environmental Council of Zambia (ECZ), Zambia Agricultural Research Institute, Copperbelt University, Mulungushi University and Tropical Diseases Research Center (TDRC).
Open Access repositories are being developed by the following institutions: Copperbelt University Library, National Science Technology Center (NSTC), The University of Zambia and National Assembly of Zambia.


University libraries lead the way to Open Access repository development

In Zimbabwe OA initiatives have to a large extent been driven by university libraries through the Zimbabwe University Libraries Consortium (ZULC) with support from the International Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP) and EIFL.
All universities with the exception of the Catholic University, Great Zimbabwe University, Lupane State University and Solusi University have IRs at various stages of development. The major content of these repositories are journal articles, published conference papers, projects and dissertations, digital collections and past examination papers whose full texts are accessible on the universities’ local Intranets. Most collections are mounted on the Greenstone and/or DSpace platform. The University of Zimbabwe also provides book chapters, working papers, research reports and seminar papers. The repository is listed in the Directory of OA Repositories (OpenDOAR) and it is accessible on the internet.
University of Zimbabwe( UZ): The institutional repository ( was established in 2005 using DSpace software. It contains past exam papers, conference papers, staff publications, DATAD: abstracts of theses and dissertations, EDT–db: full text of electronic theses, book chapters, working papers, research reports and seminar papers. It is available through the internet. The UZ has the most successful institutional repository. It is well populated and it is accessible on the web. This is due to a number of factors. The UZ is the mother of all universities with a well documented research culture which attracts funding from donor organizations. It has a publishing house with a decent output. The UZ library personnel were the first to receive institutional repository training which they are now cascading to other libraries. It has a bandwidth of 27mb which is the envy of other universities. Its long history and location in the capital city makes it a favourite destination for the best librarians. The above factors have created a conducive environment for the implementation of a successful institutional repository at the UZ.
The University of Zimbabwe (UZ) library with financial support from EIFL has embarked on a campus wide Open Access (OA) Advocacy Campaign which will target the UZ management and administrative personnel and Deans of Faculties. The ultimate purpose is to advocate for the adoption of a campus wide OA policy. During OA week a one day workshop will be held for 20 UZ management staff (Executives i.e. Vice Chancellor, Pro Vice Chancellor, Registrar, and Deans of Faculties) in an endeavour to achieve management buy in on the concept of OA, with the hope of advocating for OA policy formulation and implementation in the near future. A series of workshops and presentations targeting teaching staff (chairpersons of departments and lectures) in all 10 faculties will be held by faculty librarians with the sole purpose of marketing and publicising of both the concept of OA and OA resources relevant to individual faculties. An advocacy video will be documented which will contain testimonies of local academics who have so far benefited from exposure on IR platform and other success stories. Overall the library is looking forward to the adoption of a University OA Policy, which will enable access to knowledge in support of teaching, learning and research at the UZ, and as such this prospective advocacy campaign will be a conducive platform to this vision.
Only the UZ’s IR is listed in the OpenDOAR. The rest are only available on Intranets for a number of reasons. Firstly, institutions are reluctant to mount their IRs on the Internet due to very limited bandwidth which limits connectivity. Secondly institutions are afraid of infringing intellectual property rights on some of the works in their IRs. At some institutions submission to the IR is done through the Research and Scholarship Committee to ensure compliance with intellectual property rights and to enhance submission.
Zimbabwean institutions are at an advanced stage of developing IRs. Most institutions have IRs running on their Intranets. Uploading IRs onto the net is only a matter of time for most institutions. The major constraint is fear of copyright infringement and lack of IR policies. Further training in these aspects would ensure expedited uploading onto the web and availability of Zimbabwean research to a wider global audience.

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