Zambia

In 2009 Justin Chisenga and Davy Simumba conducted a study Open Access Publishing: Views of Researchers in Public Agricultural Research Institutions in Zambia. About 83% of the respondents supported the basic principle of Open Access, i.e. provision of barrier-free and cost-free access to research literature for all individuals interested in the literature, and an overwhelming number of them (90%) indicated their willingness to publish in Open Access journals. At least 68% of the respondents said that they would support the policies of research institutes, the government and donor agencies funding research to have publications from research activities deposited in Open Access institutional repositories.

Zambia Library Consortium (ZALICO) promotes Open Access in the country and builds capacities among its member organisations to set up and maintain Open Access repositories.

Open Access repositories are being set up in the following institutions: Copperbelt University Library, National Science Technology Center (NSTC), The University of Zambia and National Assembly of Zambia.

Researchers from Zambia publish articles in international Open Access journals. For example 173 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 there are highly accessed articles by researchers from Chainama Hills College Hospital of Health Sciences; Department of Public Health and Research, Ministry of Health Headquarters; District Health Offices in Choma, Chongwe, Ndola and Lusaka; Division of Sociology, School of Medicine, School of Veterinary Medicine, University Teaching Hospital and Zambia HIV related TB project (Zambart), University of Zambia; The Malaria Institute at Macha, Macha Mission Hospital and the Macha Research Trust; Malaria Consortium; National Malaria Control Centre and Programme, Ministry of Health; Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV); Prisons Care and Counselling Association; Rwanda-Zambia HIV-1 Research Group; Tropical Diseases Research Centre; Zambia Emory HIV Research Project; Zambia HIV/AIDS Prevention, Care and Treatment Partnership; and World Health Organization.

102 articles have been published in Public Library of Science (PLoS) Open Access journals: PLoS ONE, PLoS Medicine and PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases by researchers from Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia; Center for International Health and Development-Zambia; Chikankata Mission Hospital; Department of Community Medicine, Department of Economics and University Teaching Hospital, University of Zambia; Family Health International/Zambia Prevention Care and Treatment Partnership; Global AIDS Program, CDC-Zambia; Lusaka District Health Management Team; Macha Research Trust, Macha Hospital; Ministry of Health; National Malaria Control Centre; Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH) Malaria Control and Evaluation Partnership in Africa (MACEPA); Rwanda-Zambia HIV-1 Research Group; Society for Family Health; Tropical Diseases Research Centre, Ndola; and Zambia Emory HIV Research Project.

Enabling Environment

Researchers are in favour of Open Access developments

Many researchers support Open Access developments and are willing to publish in Open Access journals. Many of them would also support the policies of research institutes, the government and donor agencies funding research to have publications from research activities deposited in Open Access institutional repositories.

Government support to knowledge society developments

Knowledge society developments are anchored in the Zambia Telecommunications Act of 1994; The Zambia Science and Technology Policy (1996); The Zambia Vision 2030 (in 2005); The Zambia National ICT Policy (launched 2007); The Ministry of Education ICT Policy; The Zambia ICT Act of 2009; The Computer Crimes and misuse Act and other policy and regulatory framework documents that have been developed to underpin Zambia’s development path towards a knowledge-based economy and society. Through these documents, the Zambian government and stakeholders recognises the need for ICT in the development of the country and set out to address the challenges. The government visualizes a Zambia transformed into information and knowledge based society and economy, supported by consistent development and pervasive access to ICT by all citizens by the year 2030. The Zambia National ICT policy launched in 2007 articulates a vision where information and communication technology will contribute to national objectives for providing innovative and productive life long education and training that is accessible to all as a vital precursor to knowledge-based development.

Internet connectivity

ICT in the Zambia National Policy and the implementation plan recognises ICT to be a cross-cutting tool for the attainment of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals in Zambia. With improved connectivity by way of international submarine cables and national fibre backbones Zambia is experiencing exponential growth in virtual access capacity. Zambia’s three public universities have placed proposals before government for the installation of improvements to Internet access and connectivity between local and regional universities.

Expanding access and improving the quality of education

There are emerging opportunities for the education sector to expand access and improve the quality of education by use of ICTs and for ensuring equity through provision of open learning and distance education to those living in Zambia’s rural set ups. The Zambian Ministry of Education has drafted a policy on ICT in Education (2007), whose vision reads, ‘Information and communication technology that will contribute to reach the objective of providing innovative and productive life long education and training accessible to all by 2030.” But the policy has remained in draft format for over three years. The Ministry of Education’s ICT in Education activities have centred on the development of curriculum materials, e-learning, classroom teaching and learning, delivery of education through radio and television, development of teacher capacities and development (digitalisation) of distance learning materials, all focused on ICT integration in education to improve quality and increase access.

Expanding access and improving the quality of research

In Zambia the mission of the Science and Technology policy (1996) is to promote and exploit science and technology as an instrument for developing an environmentally friendly indigenous technological capacity in sustainable socio-economic development in order to improve the quality of life for Zambia. The goals include:

  • Enhancing linkages between technology research institutes, the private as well as the public sector in order to encourage demand‐driven research and development;
  • Developing and sustaining a national scientific and technological capacity and providing highly skilled human resource for increased productivity in the economy;
  • Fostering national and international linkages for enhanced technology transfer; and
  • Facilitating the acquisition, adaptation and utilization of foreign technology.

The Government has enacted a new legislation which saw the creation of the National Science and Technology Council to provide advice on policy issues related to science and technology and innovation; the National Technology Business Centre (NTBC) to facilitate commercialization of innovations and autonomous research institutes to spearhead research and innovation activities. Government therefore established the Department of Science and Technology (DST) within the M.S.T.V.T to carry out the functions of Developing, Promoting and Monitoring Science and Technology policies in Zambia.

The policy framework and structures provide an opportunity for policy and strategy development, research and innovation, and commercialisation of scientific research products.

(Based on Assessment of Environmental, Institutional and Individual Leadership Capacity Needs for the Knowledge Society in Africa: A Situational and Needs Analysis in Four Countries Mauritius, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia; A Situational Needs Analysis by GESCI, June 2011)

Potential Barriers

Lack of coordination and insufficient communication

Zambia has the ICT policies, policy implementation plans and supporting regulatory instruments in place, although, in some instances, the policies still need finalization and approval. Lack of coordination and insufficient communication are one of the main issues. While the Vision 2030, the Fifth National Development Plan (2004), and the National ICT Policy (2007) all provide for the necessary policy guidance on provision of ICTs and establishment of an information society and economy, what seems lacking is a productive inter-ministerial and inter-agency dialogue to facilitate development of inter-sectoral policies and strategies to guide policy implementation by different ministries, government agencies and civil society. To ensure the agencies are working towards achievement of set goals, there is need to build the capacities of the leadership to facilitate internal‐dialogue within the Ministry, its agencies and civil society; development of interrelated policies and strategies; and monitoring of activities.

Lack of capacities

The NTBC has a documentation centre, whose relevance to science and technology is limited by inadequate research and documentation skills. The centre provides an opportunity for information sharing, which is currently underutilised. The levels of information literacy in Zambia are very low.

Poor ICT infrastructure

Low information literacy, coupled with inadequate access to ICT and other sources of information imply that the levels of awareness on issues that affect humanity are very low among Zambians. Currently, only one in 400 people have a personal computer or laptop; and only one in 100 have access to a telephone. The mobile telephone access is high while the computer and internet access and utilisation is very low. Such statistics indicate that the country faces serious constraints in bridging the digital divide, establishing an information society and developing a knowledge-based economy.

(Based on Assessment of Environmental, Institutional and Individual Leadership Capacity Needs for the Knowledge Society in Africa: A Situational and Needs Analysis in Four Countries Mauritius, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia; A Situational Needs Analysis by GESCI, June 2011)

Major Projects/Initiatives

In 2009 Justin Chisenga and Davy Simumba conducted a study Open Access Publishing: Views of Researchers in Public Agricultural Research Institutions in Zambia. Survey questionnaires were distributed to 67 researchers in three publicly funded research/academic institutions. Forty researchers (59.7%) completed the questionnaire. About 83% of the respondents supported the basic principle of Open Access, i.e. provision of barrier-free and cost-free access to research literature for all individuals interested in the literature, and an overwhelming number of them (90%) indicated their willingness to publish in Open Access journals. At least 68% of the respondents said that they would support the policies of research institutes, the government and donor agencies funding research to have publications from research activities deposited in Open Access institutional repositories. Regarding the researchers’ views on establishment of policy supporting open access the study showed that 67.5% favoured a policy by their institution on open access, 77.5% favoured a policy by the Government of Zambia and 70% would favour a policy by donor agencies funding research. These results are very encouraging for Open Access initiatives in the country.

In 2010 Open Access and Open Access repositories were presented at Zambia Agriculture for Development Information Network (ZAR4DIN) Project First Stakeholders’ Consultation Meeting (28 – 29 January 2010, Protea Lusaka Hotel, Arcades). Dr Justin Chisenga, FAO’s Information Management Specialist, made a presentation defining the key concepts and benefits of Open Access and presented the results of the study mentioned above.

In 2011 Zambia Library Consortium (ZALICO) has organized a national Open Access Repositories workshop funded by INASP to explore DSpace software for repository building. Participants from 12 institutions attended, including: National Assembly, National Institute for Industrial Scientific Research, National Technology Business Centre, The National Science and Technology Council, National Institute for Public Administration (NIPA), University of Zambia, Bank of Zambia, Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) formerly Environmental Council of Zambia (ECZ), Zambia Agricultural Research Institute, Copperbelt University, Mulungushi University and Tropical Diseases Research Center (TDRC).

At the moment, Open Acces repositories are beeing set up in the following institutions: Copperbelt University Library, National Science Technology Center (NSTC), The University of Zambia and National Assembly of Zambia.

The Medical Journal of Zambia is an Open Access journal hosted on AJOL platform. The journal is intended for the publication of papers from all specialities of medicine (internal medicine, surgery, paediatrics and obstetrics & gynaecology) and their subspecialties, basic sciences, public health, social medicine and medical politics. Contact: Dr. John S. Kachimba, Editor-in-Chief, University Teaching Hospital, Lusaka, P. O. Box 50263, Ridgeway, Lusaka, 15102, Zambia, Phone: +260 211 251200 Ext 4169, Fax: +260 211 250305, john.kachimba(at)unza.zm. 

National and Institutional Level Policies/Mandates

There are no policies at national level regarding Open Access. However, at institutional levels, plans are under way to formulate Open Access institutional policies.

Details of Key Organizations

Zambia Library Consortium (ZALICO) promotes Open Access in the country and builds capacities among its member organizations to set up and maintain Open Access repositories. Contact: Charles Ben-Maposa Lungu, EIFL country coordinator, cbmlungu[at]cbu.ac.zm ; and Charles Banda, EIFL Open Access country coordinator, chisomo_1999[at]yahoo.com.

Open Access projects are being implemented in the following organizations:

The Copperbelt University: was established as a Public University by Act of Parliament No. 19 on 1st December 1987. Before then, it was one of the three constituent institutions of the then University of Zambia Federal system which comprised of the University of Zambia at Lusaka, the University of Zambia at Ndola and the University of Zambia at Solowezi. The University has a total student population of 5,155 and staff establishement of 695 of whom 207 are academic staff. Contact: Charles Ben-Maposa Lungu, EIFL country coordinator, cbmlungu[at]cbu.ac.zm; and Charles Banda, EIFL Open Access country coordinator, chisomo_1999[at]yahoo.com.

The University of Zambia: the first academic session commenced in 1966. The University of Zambia Library is the nation's leading academic library and serves as a national reference library. Contact: University Librarian Dr.Vitalicy Chifwepa, librarian[at]unza.zm, Tel: +260 1 250845, Fax +260 1 250845.

National Assembly of Zambia: consists of elected and nominated Members of Parliament that carries out a wide range of public responsibilities. Contact: Parliament Road, P.O. Box 31299, Lusaka, Zambia, 10101;  info[ at]parliament.gov.zm/webmaster[at]parliament.gov.zm; tel.: +260 211 292425-36 ; fax: +260 211 292425-36.

Zambia Agricultural Research Institute (ZARI): the overall objective is to generate and adapt crop and soil technologies in order to increase agricultural productivity and diversify production. This includes the development of low cost sustainable farming systems for all major agro-ecological zones and farm sizes through participation of both the public and private sectors in research activities. This would ensure the provision of a high quality, appropriate and cost effective service to farmers. Contact: Mt. Makulu Central Research Station, Private Bag 7, Chilanga; Tel: +260211278130/380; Fax: +260211278130/41; mtmakulu[at]zamnet.zm/zaridirector[at]zari.gov.zm.

The National Science and Technology Council: has five pillars namely:

  • Promotion and Advocacy of science and technology development in Zambia.
  • Coordinating all forms of scientific and technological research and innovation.
  • Regulating research in science and technology including the registration of research and development institutions.
  • Advising the government on science and technology related policies.
  • And mobilizing resources for science and technology.

The Council consists of 13 members appointed by the Minister of Science, Technology and Vocational Training in accordance with Science and Technology Act No 26 of 1997. Dr Francis Mwape Ndilila is a Chairperson of the Council and Dr. Dennis M. Wanchinga is a secretary to council. Contact: Curriculum Development Centre Building; Haile Selassie Ave; P.O. Box 51309; Tel.: +260-211-255854; Fax: +260-211-257194.

 

(Modified on December 2013)

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