Factors Contributing to the Adoption of Institutional Repositories in Universities in South-West Nigeria: Perspectives of Library Staff.

Author:Anenene, Ese Eunice


Universities as institutions of higher learning place emphasis on research as one of their core functions apart from teaching and community services. A key criterion that is used to measure the quality of a university is the quality and quantity of research output. A university that falters in the production of brilliant researches that can be applied in moving the society forward socio-economically and technologically, has lost its relevance. It is therefore essential that in expanding the frontiers of knowledge and imparting the society positively, adequate attention should be placed on the intellectual output emanating from the ivory towers. The situation where the totality of the research output emanating from a particular university cannot be ascertained will make it very difficult to evaluate the university output and could also impede the collation and onward transmission of the researches that can benefit different segments of the society to the parties concerned. This reveals the need for the establishment of institutional repositories (IRs) in universities.

Lynch (2003), expressed that a university institutional repository is a collection of services that a university proffers to its own members intended for the management, organisation and diffusion of digital works produced by these members. An Institutional Repository (IR) could thus be viewed as a digital archive that provides the platform where the universities can archive their intellectual output. The IRs could include theses, dissertations, projects, course notes, seminar papers, conference proceedings, administrative documents, learning objects and other forms of grey literature. According to Bhardwaj (2014), an institutional repository is a means to ensure that the published work of scholars is available to the academic community.

Omeluzor (2014) stated that both institutions and contributors benefit from IR. Institutions benefit from IR as it; serves as tangible indicators of an institution's quality, thus increasing its visibility, prestige, and public value; Increases the ranking of an institution both at local and international level; enhances learning, online teaching and research especially in higher institution of learning; and presents an institution's intellectual capital to a whole lot of scholars (Crow, 2002; Sharma, Meichieo & Saha, 2008; and Murray, 2008). Other benefits to the institutions as expressed by the authors are that IR; provides a central component in reforming scholarly communication by stimulating innovation in a disaggregated publishing structure; provides immediate and valuable complement to the existing scholarly publishing model, while stimulating innovation that evolve and improve overtime; and enhances resource sharing and provides long-term solution. All these are the benefits that universities as higher institutions can derive from IRs.

The contributors will also benefit from IR, as they are likely to enjoy access to articles without hindrance and charges, open access to a wider audience of researchers, increased impact of researchers' work, easy accessibility to research work and creation of further research approaches, self-archiving and increased citation to published scholarly work among others (Dhanavandan & Tamizhchelvan, 2013). This implies that apart from universities, faculty members and other contributors to the institutional repository have a lot to gain. Arising from this is the fact that a successful IR comes from the combination of different stakeholders. Management as well as faculty members have their role and responsibilities in ensuring the development of IR. The need for institutional repository has come to limelight and cannot be overemphasised.

It must be noted that often, repository managers are library staff in many institutions, as the library is in a strong position to draw relevant people together with strong service links to both the academic community and fellow service providers (White, 2009). Corroborating the prominent role that librarians play in the establishment of IRs, Dhanavandan & Tamizhchelvan (2013), reported from their study conducted on attitude and awareness of institutional repositories by faculty members that most of the respondents appreciated the role of the library. They expressed that library professionals supported and coordinated the design and the archival activities of the institutional repositories. This shows that staff of libraries are major actors in the establishment of IRs and their views should be treated with all seriousness.

Universities in Nigeria have started to heed the call made by the National Universities Commission in 2007, which encouraged academic libraries to provide access to both print and electronic resources especially those generated within the university in order to increase access to information resources and visibility of their institutions as a measure of prestige and recognition internationally. This is because the idea of an Institutional Repository is a current theme in tertiary institutions that have seen it as a necessity for making available their institutional resources, thereby increasing their visibility and better performance in the ongoing web ranking of world universities in particular.

Even though the idea of IR is beginning to gain ground in Nigerian universities, Aghwotu & Ebiere (2016) expressed that few universities have been able to establish repository in order to provide information resources for member of staff and students to use for teaching, learning and research work. This shows that some factors might still be hindering the establishment of IRs in Nigerian universities. The factors that could influence the adoption of IRs include issues like awareness, perception and availability of funds on the part of the individuals who are directly responsible for the establishment of IR in the institution. Another factor lies in the perception of the innovation (IR), as regards it perceived ease of use and usefulness. While the last factor focuses on the management and ethical concerns associated with IR like management policy, submissions, restrictions, copyright and preservation issues.

It would be very difficult for researchers and academics to utilise IRs if those who are supposed to be aware of the benefits associated with the use of IRs are not. It is only when the individuals responsible for the establishment of IR are aware that they can sensitise others. Perception is another factor that could hinder adoption of IR. Though the management of universities might be aware of IR, their perception might not be favourable towards adopting it. Lack of funds is another major problem experienced by developing countries institutions in their effort to establish IRs. Repositories cannot be sustained without long-term infusions of funds. Furthermore, the rate at which IR is perceived useful and easy to use could influence its adoption. In addition it could be very difficult to for IR to be established if the view of the stakeholders is that copyright violation might be experienced. It is against this backdrop that this study from the library staff point of view is set to empirically investigate how these factors could contribute to the adoption of IR in Nigerian universities.

Statement of the problem

Despite the potential benefits associated with the use of institutional repositories (IRs) by universities, observations have shown that most universities in Nigeria have not keyed in into this laudable innovation. This could be as a result of some factors like low level of awareness and unfavourable perception of IRs on the part of the management of universities, coupled with the availability of funds. Other factors include the perceived ease of use and perceived usefulness of IRs and management view on policy, submissions and restrictions and issues of copyright and preservation. It is also essential to note that quite a number of studies on IRs that have been conducted centred on the perception and...

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