Open Access scholarly communication in South Africa: current status, significance, and the role for National Information Policy in the National System of Innovation

De Beer, Jennifer A. Open Access scholarly communication in South Africa: current status, significance, and the role for National Information Policy in the National System of Innovation., 2005 Masters thesis thesis, Stellenbosch University, South Africa. [Thesis]

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English abstract

South African science shows a decline in its global competitiveness in that its scholarly publication rate has not kept pace with that of other countries, both developed and developing. This, together with a decline in publication rate especially among junior South African scholars, suggests a structural problem in the South African national system of innovation. A declining publication rate indicates a problem of knowledge diffusion for South Africa, and hints at a possible knowledge generation problem. This thesis limits itself to the dynamics of knowledge diffusion with specific reference to Open Access scholarly communication. Open Access scholarly communication is an overt intervention regarding knowledge diffusion. The marginalisation of science in and of developing countries, leading to a state of knowledge imperialism and knowledge dependence, is addressed, and it is argued that knowledge diffusion and generation are at the heart of long-term economic growth. This thesis has been structured around two core sections, a theoretical framework based in the literature, and empirical study. The central concepts of scholarly communication and Open Access, national information policy (NIP), and national system of innovation (NSI) are elaborated upon in the theoretical framework (Chapters 2 and 3). The empirical part of this study (Chapters 4 and 5) in turn consist of two parts. Both parts used the survey method, however the first part made use of a questionnaire instrument, and the second part made use of a structured record review. Both empirical studies were used to assess levels of activity and extent of adoption of Open Access within a defined South African scholarly community, one discipline-based, the other institution-based. The aims of this study were two-fold: to assess levels of awareness of and investment in Open Access modes of scholarly communication within defined scholarly communities; and to create a benchmark document of South Africa’s involvement to date in various Open Access initiatives. The argument is made for the openness of scholarly systems, and furthermore that the disparate and uncoordinated nature of Open Access in South Africa needs a policy intervention. The policy intervention so identified would exist within an enabling policy environment and would be minimally disruptive to the South African science system. Said policy intervention would constitute a National Information Policy since it would address the storage, dissemination, and retrieval of scholarly research output. This thesis recommends the amendment of the current statutory reporting mechanism - used by scholars to report and obtain publication rate subsidies – which would require that scholars make their research available via an Open Access mode of scholarly communication, and moreover, would require scholars to report on having done so.

Item type: Thesis (UNSPECIFIED)
Keywords: Open Access; scholarly communication; innovation; South Africa; policy
Subjects: E. Publishing and legal issues. > EZ. None of these, but in this section.
B. Information use and sociology of information. > BA. Use and impact of information.
A. Theoretical and general aspects of libraries and information. > AC. Relationship of LIS with other fields .
G. Industry, profession and education. > GZ. None of these, but in this section.
B. Information use and sociology of information. > BF. Information policy
H. Information sources, supports, channels. > HS. Repositories.
Depositing user: Jennifer A De Beer
Date deposited: 01 Jun 2005
Last modified: 02 Oct 2014 12:01
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10760/6357

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