Open Access in higher education in South Africa

Open Access in higher education in South Africa

Misconceptions about what Open Access (OA) really means may have contributed to the slow uptake and support thereof, worldwide. Through the years academics have published articles with leading commercial enterprises and invariably signed away their copyright to publishers. Many African researchers can still not afford the fees to have their research published and have to pay to get access to citations. All of this results in a slow, closed, and costly process.

In 2014, Czerniewicz and Goodier, in the South African Journal of Science, wrote that true OA is not only based on legally open licences whereby an author actually retains copyright and specifies the permitted uses, but it is also more aligned with academic freedom than traditional copyright agreements. OA applies to all forms of online published research output, including peer-reviewed and non-peer-reviewed academic journal articles, theses and book chapters. The important factor is that researchers can now harvest information efficiently and poorer countries are enabled with restriction-free access to a rich collection of citations.

According to the Global Open Access Portal, the OA movement in Africa has recently gained momentum. In 2015, the South African National Research Foundation (NRF) issued a statement that encouraged higher education institutions to formulate policies on providing OA to research publications funded by the NRF. In the same year, OA policies from Kenya, Zimbabwe, Algeria, South Africa, Ghana and Nigeria were registered in the Registry of Open Access Repository Policies and Mandates (ROARMAP), and more than 125 OA digital repositories were registered in the Directory of Open Access Repositories (OpenDOAR at OpenDOAR is an authoritative directory of academic open access repositories. Each OpenDOAR repository has been visited by project staff to check the information that is recorded here. This in-depth approach does not rely on automated analysis and gives a quality-controlled list of repositories.


Open Access in higher education in South Africa - OpenCollab
“Knowledge does not impact on society if it is unable to disseminate” - Merton Misconceptions about what Open Access (OA) really means may have contribu

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