The First National Open Access Conference In Uganda

Press Release | Consortium of Uganda University Libraries (CUUL), Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) | July 1, 2013

The Consortium of Uganda University Libraries (CUUL) in partnership with EIFL and the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) organised the first national conference on “Open access (OA), knowledge sharing and sustainable scholarly communication in Uganda” on May 21, 2013 at the Silver Springs Hotel, Kampala.

The objective of the conference was to bring together stakeholders from academic and research institutions to discuss and layout strategies for OA adoption, to address the challenges of maximizing the visibility of research output and improving the quality, impact and influence of research; publishing OA journals and books and developing OA repositories; promoting the adoption of OA policies.

87 research administrators (Research Directors, Deans and Head of Departments), lectures, academic journal editors and publishers, librarians and information managers,  journalists and reporters attended the event.

Presentations from the conference are available here.

Dr. J. C. Muyingo, Minister of State-Higher Education, was a chief guest speaker who opened the conference. Below are some highlights from his inspiring speech:

  • "No one can truly be an academician unless he/she adds value to the bank of existing knowledge through research."
  • "A lot of research has been undertaken over the years and many seeming breakthroughs arrived at, however these have not been disseminated and subsequently have not added value to the lives of Ugandans.
  • In the same vein, one of the biggest costs of higher education; especially at higher degree levels has been that of purchasing and/or subscribing to journals. This cost has curtailed access and quality of higher education.
  • I wish therefore to congratulate CUUL members that have been involved in advocacy for OA at their respective institutions and also for those institutions that are taking steps to adopt it.
  • Government welcomes these initiatives and will work with all stakeholders to make open education a high priority.
  • I wish to call upon the National Council for Higher Education [supporting research at public Universities] and Makerere University Library to put in place a system that ensures that all public funded research becomes part of open education resources.
  • Scholars have already proved this as the way to go and the Ugandan academia cannot afford to be left behind at all.
  • Government through the National Information and Technology Authority-NITA (U) is working hard to ensure that ICT infrastructure is in place so that the costs involved with it can come down so that OA can be more approachable.
  • I call upon all member institutions to consider the payment of the authors’ fees so as to enable them publish in OA journals, advocate and demystify OA and also to consider OA publications in promotion and tenure evaluation."

During the collaboration and way forward discussion participants discussed approaches to raise visibility and accessibility of research outputs in Uganda that combine awareness raising, policy work and practical training to promote and set up OA journals and OA repositories at institutions of higher learning.

Four institutional follow-up visits and OA awareness raising workshops took place on May 22-23 at Uganda Martyrs University, The Makerere University Business School, Uganda Christian University and Uganda Management Institute.

This was the first national event in Uganda within “OA: knowledge sharing and sustainable scholarly communication in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda” – a new EIFL regional project funded by Spider, the Swedish Program for ICT in Developing Regions DSV, Department of Computer and System Sciences, Stockholm University.  This project will run until June 2014 and is implemented in partnership with EIFL partner consortia: Kenya Library & Information Services Consortium (KLISC), Consortium for Tanzania Universities and Research Libraries (COTUL) and CUUL.