Relationship between library resources and research productivity in five Nigerian Health-based research facilities.

Author:Ugwuona, Chigozie Simeon


Research results from health/medical science sector have generally revolutionized peoples' approach to public health. The World Health Organization (2006) reported that such research has led to dramatic improvements in health worldwide hence, the need for more intensive health research since disparities and inequities in health, remained major development challenges of our time.

Research, whether basic or applied in nature, has relevance in human society. It helps to solve professional problems, develop tools and methods for analysis of organizations, services and behaviour. Its ultimate benefit lies not only in the generation of new knowledge but in the translation of such knowledge into technologies, interventions and strategies effectively and appropriately delivered to the needy. Presently health science research processes are being pursued within the context of contemporary knowledge, good ethics, effective policy, adequate resources and international cooperation. Thus, advances in health science research and scientific knowledge have brought about development and also led to the discovery of medicines, vaccines, diagnostics and medical devices that have improved health worldwide (Lansang and Dennis, 2004). In all these, the library has a central role of providing information resources for the conduct of research.

Establishment of institutes in Nigeria started during the colonial period (Aluko-Olokun, 1999; Barrow, 2002) when the National Department of Veterinary Research, Vom, was set up in 1924. This is known today as the National Veterinary Research Institute (NVRI), Vom. The Nigerian Institute for Trypanosomiasis Research (NITR) came up in 1947 as West African Institute for Trypanosomiasis Research (WAITR) with its headquarters located in Kaduna (Obaka, 1985). Its research interest was in African Trypanosomiasis and Onchocerciasis. According to him, the establishment of Nigerian Institute for Medical Research (NIMR), Lagos in about 1977, was also possible because of the presence at Yaba-Lagos, of the Yellow Fever Commission of the International Health Division of Rockefeller Foundation of New York. Other similar health-based research institutes came in later and these include the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), Abuja, established in 1989 as a result of an agreement between the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Pharmaceuticals Manufacturers' Group of the Manufacturers' Association of Nigeria (PMG-MAN). The institute has interest in drug development and formulary. The fifth under study is the Nigeria Natural Medicine Development Agency (NNMDA), Lagos, established in the late '90s to actualize the critical and strategic mandate of researching, developing, documenting, preserving and promoting Nigeria natural medicines, defined as traditional (indigenous) health care systems, medications and non-medication healing arts with a view to integrating these into the nation's national health care delivery systems. These research facilities like similar ones have major functions of initiation and coordination of research programmes, provision of research requirements and management of human and material resources (Kibua and Oyugi, 2005)

The research libraries of these centres are established with the desire for meeting the information needs of researchers in the research and development (R & D) mandates of the organizations. The relevance of the resources of these libraries is tied to their contents. However, the resources are usually in form of print and non-print including the traditional tools and the modern information and communications technology facilities useful for information synthesis, dissemination and storage. How these research centres and their libraries are able to perform in research activities determines their rating, with special emphasis on the productivity of the staff who are expected to progress in rank by evidence of peer reviewed publications or other products bearing intellectual input.

Argyris (2005) showed that number of publications in peer reviewed journals could be an accepted measure of research productivity, especially in an academic environment. In these five research centres, productivity is considered by factors like number of products on shelf, number of registered patents and also publications communicated in peer-reviewed journals. Although, acceptable standard for productivity differs from one work station to another, organizations that perform similar jobs and have a near similar mandates could be adjudged with same and equal standards for productivity. Thus for the centres under study, the standard in use (FMOH-NIPRD, 2010) applies here. These are categorized according to ranks of staff which appear in seven categories as follows: Research Assistant--Nil; Junior Research Fellow--2 publications; Research Fellow II- 4 publications; Research Fellow I- 10 publications; Senior Research Fellow- 15 publications; Associate Research Professor/Deputy Director- 20 publications and Research Professor/Director- 30 publications.

In Nigeria, local standards for library resources are difficult to come by but the accreditation criteria for libraries in tertiary institutions were found helpful. Generally, the standard now (as used by the National Commission for Colleges of Education) is: 10 numbers of books per user (to cover all areas of subject), three (3) titles of periodicals per user and one percent (1%) of total print collections in place of the non-print materials. These standards apply in this work.

Statement of the problem

A good number of health researchers and health care administrators recognize the importance of information to excellent and value-added research results. It is assumed that technical information available in these resources would aid researchers through their research activities by providing information that would contribute positively on research initiatives and findings and as well enhance general productivity of both the researcher and the organizations.

But there is an unattended gap in library science research about identifying the relationship of library resources and research productivity in the research institutes in Nigeria. Thus, the problem being investigated is to examine the existing relationship between library resources and research productivity in the health research facilities presented above.

Purpose of the study

The purpose of this study is to determine the relationship existing between library resources and research productivity in five Nigerian health research facilities. Specific objectives are: To investigate the available library resources for health research activities in these facilities; To determine the extent of research productivity in these facilities; To discover the major predictor of productivity in these research facilities, and; To establish the relationship between library resources and research productivity in them.

Research questions

The following questions were framed to guide the study.

  1. What are the library resources in the...

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