Botswana: Stakeholders learn about OA repositories

1 Sep 2011

On August 11 Botswana Library Consortium (BLC) organized a workshop on Open Access platforms/software and repositories at the University of Botswana. The event took place within the EIFL-funded national open access advocacy campaign "Advocacy for Open Access to Researchers/Deans/Graduate Students/Editors/Policy Makers/Educators/Library Professionals" implemented by Botswana Library Consortium and University of Botswana.

The workshop is among the strategies of their national advocacy campaign to reach out to the research community and policy makers to inform them of the importance of Open Access. In addition, they will be holding meetings with policy/decision makers, sharing case studies, and organising an additional workshop with key institution leaders.

In addition, BLC FOSS team was recently tasked with overseeing the creation of institutional repositories in BLC member country institutions, using DSpace FOSS.


Following the first OA workshop held in Botswana in September 2010 for researchers, research managers, policy makers, librarians, ICT specialists, journal editors, and publishers to understand the concept of open access, the best approaches to collaborative promotion of research outputs, and how to manage open access repositories and journals, there were indications of lack of understanding and knowledge gaps about the concepts of open access and institutional repositories. Based on this knowledge gap, lack of awareness, and the need to start, Botswana Library Consortium and the University of Botswana have agreed that running another workshop/training for BLC members would be appropriate to help them to start open access repositories in their Libraries.

Workshop details

The workshop organized by BLC and UB and funded by EIFL, addressed the following:

  • the drivers for open access research repositories (new methods of scholarly communication; improving research quality - much effort is frequently placed in the administrative processes which gather and submit information about research for quality assessment exercises and the institutional repository is well placed to add value to this process of collecting information about research, in particular being able to offer a detailed and systematic method of collating bibliographic information about research publications; increase the visibility and impact of the research works; digital preservation);
  • technical set-up process for open access repositories (hardware and software: defining requirements; reviewing and comparing FOSS, especially DSpace software; integrating the repository with other systems such as local authentication systems; creation of technical policies for long-term aspects such as metadata, workflows and file formats; technical promotion of the repository (to ensure that other systems such as external search engines index or harvest content properly);
  • repository management framework: to guide a repository manager through the initial planning process for establishing an institutional repository. These include the planning approach, making a business case, identifying key stakeholders, the costs and benefits of a repository, risk management, strategic planning and a selection of practical planning tools covering repository staffing and training;
  • policies and legal issues: content, submission, re-use, preservation, copyright, take-down and embargoes polices.

Last year the University of Botswana has launched University of Botswana Research, Innovation and Scholarship Archive (UBRISA) as a joint project of Office of Research and Development and University Library. They shared their experiences with policy environment, workflows, and ran a training session on using DSpace software for repository management.

Further reading

  • Isaac N Mazonde, Office of Research and Development, University of Botswana. "Is on-line publication the panacea to journals with a narrow and limited subscription base? Special focus on the University of Botswana," paper presented at a Workshop on Digital Scholarship at the University of Botswana, 26th May, 2010 [doc]