The Association of African Universities (AAU), Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Ghana (CARLIGH), INASP and EIFL have been spearheading Open Access initiatives among the academic and researcher community in Ghana and Africa as a whole. AAU and CARLIGH have held the first Open Access workshop in 2009. In July 2011, AAU and CARLIGH held another Open Access Institutional Repository Advocacy workshop (with financial support from EIFL) as a follow up to the first one and to affirm the designation of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) institutional repository as the national Open Access repository.
There are at least three Open Access journals in Ghana: Annals of Tropical Medicine & Public Health published by The Africa Health Research Organization (Ghana) and Medknow Publications (India), West African Journal of Applied Ecology published by the Ecological Laboratory Unit of the University of Ghana and The Ghana Medical Journal published by Ghana Medical Association.
Researchers from Ghana publish articles in international Open Access journals, for example 184 articles have been published with BioMed Central – an STM (Science, Technology and Medicine) publisher which has pioneered the Open Access publishing model – and among them are highly accessed (most viewed) articles published by researchers from Agogo Presbyterian Hospital, Dodowa Health Research Centre, Ghana Health Service, HealthLink Consulting, Hohoe Hospital, International Water Management Institute (West Africa), Keta District Health Management Team, Kintampo Health Research Centre, Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, KNUST, Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research in Tropical Medicine, Navrongo Health Research Centre, Northern Region Malaria Project, Population Council, Regent University College of Science and Technology, Tema General Hospital, University of Ghana, University for Development Studies, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and WHO Country Office.
Open Access movement in Ghana is gaining grounds with KNUST, AAU and CARLIGH leading the crusade. Currently CARLIGH have been able to set up Open Access institutional repository platforms in five public Universities and one research institution with qualified personnel and state of the art facilities in place. This therefore has enhanced the image of the country as far as Open Access initiatives are concerned. It worthy to add that all Open Access repositories platforms have support from their parent institutions. The institutions in Ghana are also been urged to sign the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities and some have already signed it. It is therefore not surprising that BioMed Central, in partnership with Computer Aid International is bringing together researchers, librarians and funding bodies to discuss the benefits of Open Access publishing in an African context (Open Access Africa 2011 conference) from 25 - 26 October 2011 to KNUST.
Potential Barriers for Further Adoption:
Some universities and research institutions might not be creating the awareness about the implementation of Open Access institutional repositories and Open Access policies to enable faculty members and staff to mandatory deposit their research papers. This hinders the progress of the Open Access repository developments in the country. There is therefore the need for the university authorities and the country as a whole, to provide the necessary confidence in the Open Access institutional repository developments and adopt Open Access policies to enable researchers and faculty members contribute their research works to repositories and also ensure long-term administrative attention span and commitment to the preservation and maintenance of the Open Access repositories.
Every year, KNUST the only institution with a live Open Access institutional repository celebrates the International Open Access Week. This takes place in the university community in October and some of the activities are aired on some major radio stations in the country. Activities related to Open Access include: debates, workshops on Open Access Institutional Repository platforms, seminars and many others. During this time, academic and research community at the University and in Ghana gather to learn about the potential benefits of Open Access institutional repositories; share ideas with colleagues; and inspire wider participation in establishing Open Access institutional repositories as a norm in promoting scholarship and research. Currently the awareness of Open Access is growing due to the yearly celebrated Open Access week.
National and Institutional Level Policies/Mandates:
The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology has a mandatory submission policy. The policy, which was approved by the University, mandates that students, researchers and faculty members deposit their research work, including conference papers, lecture notes and anything of academic and research use into the institutional repository. This will help populate the Open Access repository with the full texts of their research work.
The Freedom of Information bill with the objective of making it mandatory for government agencies to make information freely available to the general public, is in the advanced stage in Parliament and would pass soon into law.
Details of Key Organizations:
The vision of CARLIGH is to be an excellent organization in providing recorded knowledge in all formats, to teaching, learning and research activities in Ghana. CARLIGH is governed by a Constitution which was approved by members and came into force in August 2004. The mission of CARLIGH is to employ collective information resources, available technology, and staff capabilities to improve teaching, learning and research including life long learning, in member institutions and by extension in Ghana.
AAU is the apex organization and forum for consultation, exchange of information and co-operation among institutions of higher learning in Africa. It represents the voice of higher education in Africa on regional and international bodies and supports networking by institutions of higher education in teaching, research, information exchange and dissemination. The AAU, whose headquarters is in Accra, Ghana, was founded in Rabat, Morocco on November 12, 1967, following recommendations made at an earlier conference organized by the UNESCO in Antananarivo, Madagascar in September 1962 for the formation of such an apex organization. The main objectives of the Association are to promote cooperation among higher education institutions in Africa; collect, classify and disseminate information on higher education and research, particularly in Africa; facilitate cooperation between its members and the international academic world; study and publicize and advocate the educational and related needs of African higher education institutions; and facilitate the exchange of information and experience among members of the academic community, and promote best practices.
The Africa Health Research Organization publishes (together with Medknow Publications) an OA journal Annals of Tropical Medicine & Public Health that provides the forum for exchange of ideas for health professional interested in tropical medicine, public health and social science. Contact: Abubakar Yaro, Editor-In-Chief, PO Box AN6731, Accra North, Ghana, editor(at)atmph.org.
The Ghana Medical Journal is a peer-reviewed OA journal publishing quality manuscripts on all aspects of health, health care and the medical sciences. Contact: David Ofori-Adjei, the Editor-in-Chief, P.O.Box 1596, Accra, Ghana, Tel.: 233-21-670510/665457, Fax: 233-21-670511, editor(at)ghanamedj.org.
The West African Journal of Applied Ecology is an OA journal that has been established by the Ecological Laboratory Unit of the University of Ghana. Contact: Prof S. K. A. Danso, Editor-In-Chief, Director of Ecolab Institution, University of Ghana, Box LG 59, Legon, Accra, Tel.: 233-21-512533, 233-21-500394, Fax: 233-21-512533 dansosk(at)yahoo.co.uk.
Past and Future OA Related Activities:
EIFL organized the first Institutional Repositories and Open Access workshop in Ghana on 11-13 June 2007 in Accra.
AAU in collaboration with the CARLIGH, EIFL and the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT, the Netherlands) organised a two day workshop on Open Access Institutional Repositories Advocacy on the 18-19 July 2011. The workshop was held within the frames of national Open Access Institutional Repositories Advocacy campaign being carried out by CARLIGH, AAU and KIT. The workshop was to enhance the visibility and to improve accessibility to the work of African scholars both within and outside of the continent, and to facilitate the development of relevant copyright regulations. It was attended by about 60 educational representatives from the African Continent. The workshop helped to create an awareness of Open Access institutional repositories and their benefits to researchers, institutions and the various countries. It also significantly boosted the economic, social and educational benefits of making research output available without financial, legal and technical barriers. Furthermore the meeting served as a platform for participants to discuss the policies for the establishment and smooth running of Open Access institutional repositories.
The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) has adopted a university-wide open educational resources policy with Creative Commons Attribution as the default license for university material. KNUST’s “Policy for Development and Use of Open Educational Resources (OER)” outlines the purpose, role, and process of OER production at the university, and specifically states that, “Materials produced which do not indicate any specific conditions for sharing will automatically be considered to have been shared under a Creative Commons Attribution license.” KNUST is a partner institution in the African Health OER Network and works closely with the University of Michigan Medical School and Dental School to develop and distribute health OER. KNUST OER is hosted at http://web.knust.edu.gh/oer but is also duplicated for use at the Open.Michigan and OER Africa sites (from Creative Commons news).
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