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“Open access: knowledge sharing and sustainable scholarly communication in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda” is a new EIFL regional project funded by Spider, the Swedish Program for ICT in Developing Regions DSV, Department of Computer and System Sciences, Stockholm University. The aim of the project is to raise visibility and accessibility of research outputs in three countries. It builds on previous work of EIFL in the region and combines awareness raising, policy work and practical training to promote, support and establish open access (OA) journals and OA repositories at institutions of higher learning.
Currently there are seven OA repositories in Kenya, but only three academic institutions have OA policies (Strathmore University, Jomo Kenyatta University for Agriculture and Technology and the University of Nairobi). International Research Institute (ILRI, Kenya-Ethiopia) has also adopted a policy to use an open license for its published research. In Tanzania there are two repositories but there have been no OA policies in the country as of yet and the situation is similar in Uganda, with three live repositories.
There are 13 OA journals published in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. Some journals in the region have already demonstrated OA benefits, for example African Crop Science Journal reported increased visibility and submissions (increasing number from outside Africa), cost reduction in publishing (up to 70%), time saving (the time required for production and dissemination are much less when publishing online – the Editorial Board is now considering publishing more issues), and discouragement of plagiarism. And another OA journal - Pan African Medical Journal – has proved that an African OA journal can attract large numbers of manuscripts in a very competitive environment.
This new project will run until June 2014 and will be implemented in partnership with EIFL partner consortia: Kenya Library & Information Services Consortium (KLISC), Consortium for Tanzania Universities and Research Libraries (COTUL) and Consortium of Uganda University Libraries (CUUL) . Stay tuned for news and updates!