Overview of OA in Nigeria:

With a population of about 140 million, Nigeria has one of the most populous countries in Africa. It has about 117 Universities (NUC, 2008) and many research institutions involved in various research works and scholarly publishing.

Nigeria has a very low percentage of its publications available on-line and in Open Access. In the Registry of Open Access Repositories (ROAR), Nigeria has only two globally visible repositories (at University of Jos and Covenant University) and in the Directory of Open Access Journal (DOAJ) twenty three OA journals from Nigeria are indexed (out of 6886 indexed journals as of August, 2011).

In January 2011, Covenant University adopted a policy that mandated all referred publications in journals, conferences and books to be deposited in the University repository. This applied to faculty and post-graduate students alike.

Researchers from Nigeria publish articles in international Open Access journals, for example 465 articles have been published with BioMed Central – an STM (Science, Technology and Medicine) publisher which has pioneered the Open Access publishing model. 119 articles have been published in Public Library of Science (PLoS) Open Access journals: PLoS ONEPLoS Medicine, PLoS Genetics, PLoS Computational Biology and PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases.

Enabling Environment:

The development in Nigerian National Information infrastructure through the deregulation of the telecommunications industry and formulation policies such as information technology and telecommunication policies by the Federal Government of Nigeria has led to the issuance of licenses for fixed wireless networks, internet services, VSAT (Very Small Aperture Satellite System) and telecommunication equipment services. This has made computer and internet facilities in particularly affordable and accessible to a greater population of the country.

According to the Internet world statistics (2011) the Internet usage in Nigeria has grown from 200,000 users in the year 2000 to about 44 million users in 2011. This implies that the current percentage of Nigerian population that now have access to the Internet either from public internet cafes, workplace or their homes is 28.3%.

The first International Workshop on Open Access (OA) Repositories: New Models For Scholarly Communication was organized on 28th - 29th April, 2008 at Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria. 89 participants – policy makers and ICT experts from university and research institutes, scholars and researchers, editors-in-chief of peer reviewed scientific and scholarly journals, university and systems librarians – from 45 institutions met to discuss the importance of OA initiatives to academia and society at large; the strategies for formulating appropriate policy for implementing and sustaining OA institutional repositories; copyright issues and open content licenses; strategies for the promotion and marketing of institutional repositories. A Communiqué issued after the workshop endorsed the OA model and made a set of recommendations for government and stakeholders. ABU also hosted a follow-up event – the Second OA Initiative Workshop 2009: Maximising Research Quality and Impact, that took place on 2nd – 4th November, 2009 to report about the OA developments in the country and coordinate the activites. These knowledge-sharing events were co-organised by the Department of Library and Information Science at ABU, EIFL and the Nigerian University Libraries Consortium (NULIB) and facilitated by Ezra Shiloba Gbaje(Ph.D)s.

Potential Barriers:

The potential barriers to Open Access in Nigeria include:

  • Low level of awareness of the potentials of Open Access amongst researchers and scholars, librarians, publishers/editors of scholarly journals and policy makers.
  • Low level of awareness of the potentials of Open Access amongst organizations that sponsor research activities in Nigeria.
  • Lack of Institutional support.
  • Shortage of information and communication skilled professionals that can deploy and maintain Open Access repositories and journals.
  • Concerns of scholars and researchers of plagiarism.
  • Copyright restrictions.
  • Some researchers do not want to self-archive because of the fear of litigation from the journal publishers.

Poor visibility of Nigerian scholarship and low impact of research outputs are major challenges Open Access advocates in the country are trying to tackle.

Major Projects/Initiatives:

In an effort to promote Open Access initiative, in 2008 ABU Department of Library and Information Science organized a 2-day workshop in collaboration with EIFL on “Open Access Repositories: New Model for Scholarly Communication” and a follow-up workshop in November 2009 with the theme “Open Access: Maximizing Research Quality and Impact”. These workshops were facilitate by Ezra Shiloba Gbaje(Ph.D)s, EIFL Open Access country coordinators nominated by Nigerian University Libraries Consortium (NULIB CONSULTS NIG. LTD). As a result of this workshop two institutions: University of Jos and Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria have deployed their institutional repositories (University of Jos institutional repository, Ahmadu Bello University’s institutional repository is only accessible through the university intranet for now). The Department converted its two journals from toll access journals to OA: The Samaru Journal of Information Studies and The Information Manager.

Other Non-governmental organization involved in Open Access advocacy in Nigeria, include the British Medical Journal West Africa Edition who organised the First Open Access to Health Information Seminar facilitated by Dr Joseph Ana.

Three open access repositories are listed in the Directory of Open Access Repositories (OpenDOAR) and in the Registry of Open Access Repositories (ROAR): DSpace at University of Jos, University of Nigeria Nsukka repository and Covenant University Repository.

The deployment of institutional repository has brought the University of Jos Library to prominence to the world community. Presently, any work deposited in the institutional repository is captured immediately by Google and can be searched through the search engine. Respect as well as support has come to the library. Librarians are challenged to lead faculty in the new migration to the digital world. It has been a journey well thought of, a path well taken, a result most fulfilling, an excitement worth celebrating, and a project worth sharing.

Twenty three  OA journals published in Nigeria are indexed in the Directory of Open Access Journal (DOAJ). Among them African Journal of Reproductive Health – a multidisciplinary international journal published tri-annually by the Women's Health and Action Research Centre, The Annals of African Medicine  published by the Annals of African Medicine Society and The Tropical Journal of Pharmaceutical Research published by Pharmacotherapy Group, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Benin, among many others.

Ahmadu Bello University Press, Federal College of Education Akoka, Forestry Association of Nigeria, Science Education Development Institute, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Usmanu Danfodiyo University (Sokoto) and Wilolud Journals have signed the Budapest Open Access Initiative – a major declaration in support of Open Access.

National and Institutional Level Policies/Mandates:

There is currently no national Open Access policy in Nigeria. However it is important to note that some universities have their own established Open Access policies. One of the examples is Covenant University Open Access policy (adopted in January 2011) that mandated all referred publications in journals, conferences and books to be deposited in the University repository. This applied to faculty and post-graduate students alike. The University of Port Harcourt expressed their wish to join the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities.

Details of Key Organizations:

Department of Library and Information Science, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria: Open Access promotion (see above), publications of Open Access journals (see above). Contacts: Zakari Mohammed FNLA,FNIM, Professor, Tel.: 234-8037039624, zakmoh2000(at)yahoo.com; and Ezra Shiloba Gbaje, Tel.: 234-8069518804, Shiloba(at)yahoo.com.

Academic journals publish 100+ Open Access journals. Some of these journals (e.g. African Journal of Agricultural Research, African Journal of Biochemistry Research, African Journal of Business Management, African Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, International NGO Journal and Scientific Research and Essays) are indexed in DOAJ. Contact: 73023 Victoria Island, Lagos, service(at)academicjournals.org.

 

(Modified on December 2013)

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