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Opening Access to Knowledge in Southern African Universities

Abrahams, Luci; Burke, Mark; Gray, Eve; Rens, Andrew


The tipping point for African research and innovation will not be merely the ability to fully access and use the new abundance of global knowledge and ideas but to make an active and significant contribution to its creation. This study has identified key constraints in access to knowledge in universities in the SADC Region and builds on the findings from two earlier studies of SARUA, A Status Review of ICT in Universities in the SADC Region (2006), and Science and Technology: A Baseline Study on Science and Technology and Higher Education in the SADC Region (2007). Not only do the authors show that the presence of research from Africa in leading international peer reviewed journals is diminishing, but just as importantly it also highlights the obstacles that prevent the majority of Africa research from ever receiving an adequate profile or readership within African research communities, let alone internationally. Many of the restrictions on access to knowledge in Africa, but particularly in the Southern Africa Region, revolve around restrictive copyright practices and regulations, a lack of access to Internet-based technologies, out-dated paradigms for knowledge collection and dissemination, and the lack of creative and effective government supported enabling environments within higher education to match the vision of African leaders for knowledge and innovation in Africa in the 21st century.
The report offers a series of recommendations to address these challenges, both at a policy level and with regard to research and dissemination (e.g. an ‘open knowledge platform’ for the region). These are of sufficient magnitude that a paradigm shift is required in thinking, knowledge generation and dissemination. Sufficient critical and concerted action will be necessary in order to produce a series of ‘break throughs’.

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Document Title: Opening Access to Knowledge in Southern African Universities
City and Country: Johannesburg, South Africa

Document Type:Research Report (Not Peer Reviewed)
Subject Area:Research
Country:Southern Africa
Keywords:Research and Development R&D, Research Capacity, Knowledge Management, Knowledge Diffusion, Knowledge Management, Southern Africa, Southern African Development Community SADC

File Size:583 KB
Date Added:04 March 2011

Abrahams, Luci; Burke, Mark; Gray, Eve; Rens, Andrew (2008). Opening Access to Knowledge in Southern African Universities