Open access in Ghana

EIFL contributes to development of open access repositories, publishing and policies in Ghana

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Three people - Lucy Dzandu, Simon Osei and Benjamin Folitse from the Ghana CSIR-INSTI institutional repository implementation team - standing in a garden in Addis Ababa.
Lucy Dzandu, Simon Osei and Benjamin Folitse from the Ghana CSIR-INSTI institutional repository implementation team at an EIFL open science train-the-trainer event in Addis Ababa on 28 June 2017. Photo by Nancy Pontika.

OVERVIEW

Before 2011, there was limited awareness about open access in Ghana. Just one university, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), which is based in Kumasi in Ashanti Region, had set up an open access institutional repository, KNUSTSpace. KNUST was also the first university in Ghana to introduce policy mandating open access to theses and dissertations.

EIFL has supported open access in Ghana since 2011, by raising awareness about open access and promoting creation of open access institutional repositories, and encouraging open access publishing and development of institutional open access policies. Our main partners have been the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Ghana (CARLIGH), KNUST and the Association of African Universities (AAU).

“Africa cannot attain sustainable development without access to knowledge and information sharing. Knowledge sharing is also important to higher education to facilitate national development.” - Professor Olugbemiro Jegede, immediate past Secretary General of the Association of African Universities.

MAIN ACTIVITIES

OA awareness raising and capacity building

  • In 2011, EIFL supported the launch of an advocacy campaign to create awareness about how open access institutional repositories benefit scholarship and research.
  • Organized the first national open access awareness-raising meeting in 2011. The meeting was attended by about 100 heads of tertiary institutions, directors of government ministries and agencies, and researchers and librarians from Ghana and other African countries.
  • Conducted open access capacity building workshops for librarians, lecturers, researchers and regional and national government officials.
  • Used radio talk shows to raise awareness about open access among the general public and other stakeholders.
  • In 2019, co-hosted a train-the-trainer workshop on open access, open research data and open science for librarians from 11 CARLIGH member libraries. 
  • In 2020, ran a series of webinars to raise librarians’ and researchers’ awareness about the scholarly publishing landscape and how to identify credible open access journals and avoid predatory ones, and how to create online identities using ORCID.

OA institutional repositories:

  • Trained university IT staff on how to install DSpace free and open source software for running open access repositories.
  • In 2017, began an audit, which is continuing, of open access repositories to make sure that they follow best practices and include new functions that make repositories more user-friendly and enable easier sharing of research.
  • In 2019, DSpace User Group was set up. A series of webinars took place to support repository managers and how to improve repository visibility on Google Scholar.

OA publishing:

  • In 2012, funded a project to pilot Open Journal System (OJS) in Ghana. The project was implemented by KNUST Library, the KNUST Department of Publishing Studies and the Public Knowledge Project.
  • Raised awareness of journal editors about OJS software, and trained them to use the software in publishing processes.

OA policy:

  • In 2015, launched an open access policy project with the Ghana Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and its 12 member institutions: Animal Research Institute; Building and Road Research Institute; Crops Research Institute; Food Research Institute; Forestry Research Institute of Ghana; Institute of Industrial Research; Institute for Scientific and Technological Information; Oil Palm Research Institute; Savanna Agricultural Research Institute; Science and Technology Policy Research Institute; Soil Research Institute, and the Water Research Institute.
  • Set up an open access policy group at CSIR, and, after consultation with CSIR members, drafted an open access policy for CSIR.

TIMELINE

2011- ongoing

ACHIEVEMENTS

  • Ten more universities and colleges in Ghana have set up institutional open access repositories. University of Ghana, University of Education, University for Development Studies, Ashesi University, Presbyterian University, University of Cape Coast, Central University, Christian Service University, Kumasi Polytechnic and Methodist University College.
  • The CSIR has adopted an open access policy. The CSIR is the body mandated by the government to carry out scientific and technological research for national development. The policy will make the vast amount of knowledge its scientists have generated over the years openly available online.
  • KNUST has extended its open access policy to cover all research outputs. The KNUST repository currently includes 12,390 titles.
  • KNUST has installed OJS software for publishing the university’s journals and launched the Ghana Journals Online (GhanJol) national portal. GhanJol includes 18 Open Access journals. 
  • Trained 22 open science trainers from CARLIGH member libraries. A trainers community has been set up to share experiences and successes in open access, open research data and open science. 

For further information, contact Iryna Kuchma: iryna.kuchma@eifl.net.