Although not yet a major movement within the country, Open Access in Mozambique is taking its first steps, especially in the academic community. The activities that are taken to promote Open Access, among others, include publishing short articles in the national newspaper, radio talks and celebrating International Open Access Week.
SABER – the Mozambican Open Access repository – was launched in November 2009 by Centro de Formação Jurídica e Judiciária, Universidade Eduardo Mondlane and Universidade Politécnica. Within a year of operations, three more higher education institutions joined the project, namely, Instituto Superior de Ciências e Tecnologia de Moçambique, Universidade Pedagógica and Universidade São Tomás de Moçambique.
Researchers from Mozambique publish articles in international Open Access journals, for example 71 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 the Center for Disease Control and Prevention; Global AIDS Program; Department of Mathematics and Informatics (DMI), Faculty of Medicine and Faculty of Veterinary, Eduardo Mondlane University; Friends in Global Health; International Training and Education Center on HIV; The Manhiça Health Research Center; Médecins Sans Frontières; National Institute of Health, National Malaria Programme, Provincial Health Directorates (Manica, Maputo and Sofala Provinces) and Tuberculosis National Control Program, Ministry of Health; Provincial Hospital of Tete and Provincial Health Authorities (Tete).
The government is very approachable when it comes to Open Access related issues. SABER has been supported by the Ministry of Education and Culture under the Fund for Improvement of Quality and Innovation - QIF and Sida / SAREC.
The idea of having an Open Access repository in Mozambique came to the agenda after a three-day training course on Open Access and Repositories Building, which was held at the premises of Universidade Politécnica in July 2008. This course was delivered by Eloy Rodrigues from Universidade do Minho, Portugal, with financial support from EIFL, Universidade Eduardo Mondlane and Universidade Politécnica.
A training course attracted great interest and media coverage. As a result, a start-up grant to establish a repository was obtained from the Quality Innovation Facility (QIF), a World Bank program run by the Ministry of Education. A server was purchased, the domain name was registered and DSpace software was installed and the first content added. Technical support and advice is generously provided by the University of Minho in Portugal.
Among potential barriers that limit the use of Open Access materials in Mozambique are weak Internet connectivity, lack of computers in the libraries and the language barrier (it is well known that the majority of research materials are in English although there are more and more materials produced in Portuguese). Other barriers include poor awareness of the potential users, lack of capacity to train the users to search the materials and the fact that the producers of research materials, namely, lecturers and researchers, are still afraid that their research works will be plagiarised and do not want to share them publicly via SABER repository that is in place in Mozambique. Among other challenges are securing long-term funding and getting commitments from more institutions to join the SABER repository. The academic and research environment seems to be keen on taking advantages of the Open Access, but there is still a lack of information about Open Access. A more proactive dissemination of information about Open Access is still needed as well as clearly defined repository policies that mandate deposition of research materials and encourage self-archiving (a practice when scholars and students deposit their research outputs in Open Access repositories).
SABER – the Mozambican Open Access repository was jointly set up and launched in November 2009 by Centro de Formação Jurídica e Judiciária, Universidade Eduardo Mondlane and Universidade Politécnica. Within a year of its operations, three more higher education institutions joined the project, namely, Instituto Superior de Ciências e Tecnologia de Moçambique, Universidade Pedagógica and Universidade São Tomás de Moçambique. SABER currently holds 2,519 items including theses and dissertations, journal articles and conference papers from Mozambican researchers. More visibility, coupled with the knowledge that the material can be read worldwide, has led to a greater awareness about the quality of work presented by researchers. SABER provides assurance for long term preservation, especially for gray literature, much of which currently disappears from libraries and university departments. Most importantly, SABER contributes to a desire by Mozambicans to move away from being only a consumer of information and to also be able to contribute to global knowledge sharing. Other factors of success include identifying repository champions to help advocate to university management and faculty.
Universidade Eduardo Mondlane is a partner in the Irish African Partnership for Research Capacity Building that brings together universities in Ireland, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania and Uganda in a unique, high-level partnership to develop a coordinated approach to research capacity building to make an effective contribution to the reduction of poverty. This Open Access repository contains research publications, presentations, reports and other material from the IAP and from its partner institutions and agencies which currently do not have their own Open Access repositories. The content centres on the key thematic areas of the Partnership: Health, Education, Gender, ICT, Food Security and Climate Justice.
National and Institutional Level Policies/Mandates:
Each of the institutions involved in the SABER Open Access repository project tries its best to get contents for the repository, and this is done by the university libraries. There are no national or institutional mandatory policies, but the is an encouragement to join the Open Access movement targeting the academic and research staff. We expect as the Open Access movement gets stronger, there will be mandatory Open Access policies requiring that researchers make their work Open Access in repositories. Mandatory Open Access policies do result in a high level of self-archiving (a practice when scholars and students deposit their research outputs in Open Access repositories) which in turn provides universities with the increased visibility and impact that Open Access promises.
(Modified on December 2013)Back to top