Monday, 14 March 2011

SABER multi-institutional repository in Mozambique: a role model for OASCIR

  Examples of former IR implementations are worth taking a look at when trying to set up and develop a pioneer institutional repository such as OASCIR. The accretion model was previously mentioned in this blog as a way of promoting development of Open Access infrastructure in countries where none existed previously, and SABER multi-institutional open access repository in Mozambique was cited there as a good example for setting up a first repository that will arise interest and estimulate participation in the open access movement by institutions other than those initially taking part in the project.

SABER open access repository was created in November 2009 for collecting, disseminating and preserving the intellectual output of three academic and research institutions in Mozambique, where no previous open access repository existed. These institutions were: Universidade Eduardo Mondlane, Universidade Politécnica and Centro de Formação Jurídica e Judiciária. Later on, Universidade Pedagógica and Universidade São Tomás de Moçambique have joined the project. Currently, SABER repository hosts around 2,500 full-text documents of different types –research papers, conference papers, dissertations, licenciatura works- and provides a picture of research and academic work being carried out at participating institutions.

First steps for SABER project were taken when an short training course was held in Maputo, Mozambique for librarians from different institutions. The training course was delivered by Eloy Rodrigues, Universidade do Minho, Portugal, an institution that would later take part as technical consultant in the project for establishing the repository. The funding for setting up and developing SABER came from the World Bank through a grant from the Quality Enhancement and Innovation Facility (QIF) fund for providimg financial support to investments in capacity building and inovation in higher education in Mozambique.

Last August 2010, Aissa Mitha Issak, Universidade Pedagógica Librarian and Open Access and country coordinator in Mozambique presented a paper on SABER repository at the 76th IFLA General Conference and Assembly in Gothenburg, Sweden. “The creation of an information repository: a perspective from Mozambican higher education sector” aims “to describe the project of establishing an information repository in Mozambique, the implications of having a joint project, the challenges for getting contents, bearing in mind all the issues related to copyright, and also the inclusion of other institutions in the project. Also, it looks at the impact of the repository in the academic and research community within the country and some strategies that have to be defined in order to increase the readership on the repository contents, either by Mozambican users, or from other parts of the world”.

Some selected paragraphs from this paper follow:

"Open Access Repositories are seen as an opportunity for knowledge exchange and scholarly communication, especially in a country like Mozambique, where the spread and access to information is still very poor and there are few journals where the researchers and academic staff can publish the results of their work. Due to this situation, the common sense is that there is not research activity in the country, even in the higher education institutions. In order to change this vision and taking advantage of the technology available, a group of university librarians has decided that, even if they are few, it is possible to present the research results which have been still hidden within the walls of each university, by establishing a joint Open Access information repository."

"The motivation behind the idea of establishing a repository was the fact that, for once, Mozambique should stop to be only a consumer of information, and become also a contributor in terms of production and access to information."

"According to Chan, Kirsop, Costa and Arunachalam (2005), almost 85% of the scientific publications of the world come from only eight countries and the productivity from developing world accounts for only 2.5%. However, this percentage can also come from the fact that what is produced in the less developed countries is still hidden within, particularly, the higher education and research institutions. According to Chisenga (2006), the products of research taken in a continent such as Africa are not visible for the world and even for the users in the continent, due to financial restrictions which, in fact, affects the publication and distribution of these research products".

"In terms of contents, what can be seen in the repository SABER are, basically, conference paper, thesis, dissertations and what are called licenciatura works, since most of the research literature in Africa, and Mozambique is not an exception for that, is in the format of grey literature, which means not published elsewhere and produced in a very limited number of copies".

"By having a product that is Mozambican, in a situation where it was almost impossible to have access to the Mozambican literature, users can take this opportunity to be aware of what are the research results within the country. To quote Chisenga (2006), information repositories are very relevant to the African environment and they will provide a better image on Africa´s scientific and technological outputs and specialization, increase the accessibility and impact of research both in Africa and at global setting and also contribute to preserve and maintain the research outputs from Africa and, in this case, from Mozambique".

SABER repository's goals are:
• To collect, archive and index academic and research contents from higher education and research institutions in Mozambique that may be offered Open Access.
• To enable single-point search, discovery, localization and access to academic and research documents produced in Mozambique or about Mozambique.

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