Open Access developments are just starting in Swaziland thanks to EIFL and UNESCO. And researchers, librarians and policy makers are enthusiastic.
Researchers from Swaziland publish articles in Open Access journals, for example 11 articles (four of them highly accessed) have been published with BioMed Central – an STM (Science, Technology and Medicine) publisher which has pioneered the Open Access publishing model – by researchers from International Centre for AIDS Care and Treatment Programme; Department of Mathematics, Department of Primary Education (Physical Education Unit) and Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Swaziland; Good Shepherd Hospital, Siteki; Malaria Control Programme, Department of Health; United States Agency for International Development, Southern Africa Regional HIV-AIDS Program; and World Health Organization. 13 articles have been published in Public Library of Science (PLoS) Open Access journals: PLoS ONE and PLoS Medicine by researchers from All Out Africa Research Unit, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Swaziland; and Women and Law in Southern Africa Research Trust.
The University of Swaziland (UNISWA), which developed from the University of Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland, was established in 1982 and until 2010, was the only university in the Kingdom of Swaziland. The University of Swaziland is mandated, among other things to introduce and strengthen market-driven educational programmes to meet current and future human resource needs as well as orienting existing programmes to meet current national, regional and international demands. The University has 360 Academic and Administrative Staff; of these 208 are male, 152 are female; and 5556 students. The University of Swaziland depends largely on the Swaziland Government subvention and tuition fees for recurrent and capital funding. The Swaziland Government’s subvention constitutes 83% of the funding and tuition fees account for 13% of the University’s revenue.
As the focal point for research at the University, the UNISWA Research Centre facilitates the coordination, strengthening, promotion, generation, accumulation and dissemination of knowledge and information through research, and thereby promotes economic growth and development and socio-cultural values. Two journals are published: The UNISWA Research Journal that appears twice a year, in June and December, and is intended primarily as a forum for publishing work in the areas of Commerce, Education, Humanities and Social Science; and UNISWA Research Journal of Agriculture, Science and Technology (UREJAST).
Prof. Marietta P. Dlamini, Director of the UNISWA Research Centre, attended “Regional Workshop on the Benefits of Open Access for Research Dissemination, Usage, Visibility and Impact”, organized by UNESCO and EIFL in November 2010, and identified several needs as priorities in scholarly journal publishing. These were: increasing scholarly publishing; building capacity to grow Open Access in this region; analysing the cost and benefits of publishing a journal and subsequent business models for journals; identifying possible publishing platforms; and creating regional alliances to deliver and scale up scholarly publishing.
Lack of capacities and poor ICT infrastructure
There is a lack of capacities to provide Open Access to research results – lack of IT support and infrastructure.
Lack of awareness about Open Access among researchers and policy makers
Many researchers and policy makers are still unaware of Open Access benefits and Open Access projects are not a priority to them.
Participants from Swaziland attended Open Access and Institutional Repository: New Models for Scholarly Communication workshop organized by EIFL on 24-25 April 2007 at State Library, Maseru, Lesotho.
As a follow-up to the “Regional Workshop on the Benefits of Open Access for Research Dissemination, Usage, Visibility and Impact”, organized by UNESCO and EIFL in November 2010, the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), in collaboration with UNESCO, presented a workshop on Open Access publishing on 18 and 19 August 2011 in Pretoria (South Africa) for journal editors from Swaziland, Lesotho and South Africa. Open Access publishing aims to provide universal, unrestricted and free access to full-text scholarly materials via the Internet. During this two-day workshop, the focus was on presentations by external editors sharing their experiences in such areas as: challenges and problems facing journal editors today; issues to consider in becoming an Open Access journal ; estimating the resource requirements for operating the journal and developing a business plan; and developing a business model for a journal. The second day included an introduction and overview of Open Journal Systems (OJS) and a demonstration of the OJS and its features; and adopting and switching over to OJS: key decisions, troubleshooting, and implementations of different publishing solutions.
Details of Key Organizations
Swaziland Library and Information Consortium (SWALICO): EIFL Open Access country coordinator Nkosinathi Dlamini, University of Swaziland, ndlamini(at)uniswa.sz
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