Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Antecedents for Actual Usage Intentions of Open Access Journals in Agricultural Research Institutions in Tanzania

Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Antecedents for Actual Usage Intentions of Open Access Journals in Agricultural Research Institutions in Tanzania

Article excerpt

Introduction

Open Access Journals (OAJs) development can be traced back to the 1980s when specialized press and scientific journals market collapsed due to increase in periodicals' price. The increase of price was attributed to rapid development of information and communications technologies (ICTs) which improved access to and efficiency of information dissemination globally; at the same time this increased the cost of subscription to commercial journals. Increased price affected subscription and purchasing of serials leading to uneven distribution of scientific publications. Research centers in less affluent countries were mostly hit by this decline in accessing scientific researches (Josh, Vatnal & Manjunath, 2012). In response to this challenge, the information society group innovated Open Access (OA) publishing.

Induction of Open Access Journals (OAJs) and Open Access Repository (OAR) was unavoidable since they were the main alternatives for enhancing accessibility, reputation, dissemination, possibility of citation impact and creation of knowledge-based society. Open Access Journals (OAJs) are scholarly journals that are available online to readers without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the Internet itself (Josh, Vatnal & Manjunath, 2012). OAJs are considered as important tools in enhancing visibility and impact of one's own work since Open Access articles are downloaded and cited more frequently than articles from nonAOJs (Pandita, 2013 & Kousha, 2009), and they reach broader audiences. Importantly, OAJs serve developing countries and small or specialized research institutions and corporations to have access to all Open Access articles (Ezema, 2011; Nwagwu, 2013).

Since its inception, usage of OAJs has become popular in universities and research institutes across the world including Africa, where the number of articles published in OAJs increased from 40,000 in 2004 to 260,000 in 2014 (Ware & Mobe, 2015). However, the global trend indicates unevenness in access to and usage of OAJs. Developed countries are leading in exploitation of OAJs compared to African countries, despite its existence of more than a decade. Most African countries exhibit a slow gain in usage of OAJs which hinders circulation of African publications (Nwagwu, 2013: Pandita, 2013). This paper thus examines antecedents that predict researchers' usage behavior of OAJs publishing platform for the enhancement of scholarly communication in agricultural research institutes.

Agricultural Research Institutes and OAJs in Tanzania

This study was conducted in Tanzania's Agricultural Research Institutes (ARIs) in recognition of their multiplier effects on other sectors (Ngaiza, 2012). In sub-saharan African (SSA) countries, the agriculture sector has continuously remained an engine for economic growth and the cornerstone of poverty reduction (Oyeniyi & Olaifa, 2013). It is approximated that about 65% of SSA population rely on agriculture as their primary source of livelihood, where 90% of them are categorized as small-scale farming production (Materu-Behitsa & Diyamett, 2010). In Tanzania, the agriculture sector contributes to 85% of employment, provides 85% of the country's export, 75% of foreign exchange and contributes 25.8% to the country's Growth Domestic Product (GDP) (Benard, Dulle & Ngalapa, 2014; Kapange, 2010; Ngaiza, 2012; United Republic of Tanzania, 2006).

Regarding the influence of the agricultural sector on economic growth, Tanzania government has continually increased budget for research and development (R&D) from 1.5% in 2010/2011 up to 2.5% in 2013/2014 (URT, 2014). In understanding the role of accessibility and dissemination of research findings to stakeholders, the Tanzanian government has increased ICT expenditure, waved tax for ICT facilities and its accessories (Materu-Behitsa & Diyametti, 2010; Lwezaura, 2011), increased training institutes for Information Technology (IT) (Lwezaura, 2011). …

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