Factors affecting institutional repository adoption among research scientists and related stakeholder for digital scholarship : roadmap towards research visibility and collaboration in Ghana
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This dissertation is a qualitative study of institutional repository (IR) adoption among research scientists (RS) in Ghana. In view of the importance of this platform, which is used to disseminate and promote scholarship in the digital age. This work aims at understanding the factors affecting its adoption, which could potentially create the baseline for developing a culturally appropriate IR for the Ghanaian research community. It has been argued that scientific research on the African continent is lagging behind other regions in the world, and in order to increase research visibility, more resources will have to be provided for research and dissemination. One such resource for disseminating scholarship is the IR. IRs are emerging digital platforms that showcase the research capability of universities and research organizations. IRs are increasing in visibility within academic circles around the globe, and they have potential to benefit Ghana. In the digital world, IRs are important for scholarship in order to ensure visibility of local content and to build a community of researchers. They also have potential to enable the research community to overcome access restrictions due to hikes in journal prices leading to inability of libraries to subscribe to them. In Ghana, acceptance and adoption of IR among RS is minimal, in spite of the potential benefits that come with such adoption. A critical review of the literature indicates that technology developers do not attend to users’ attitudes and behavioral factors pertaining to different environments to the same extent that they invest in the technology. As a consequence, new technologies sometimes fail to meet users’ expectations. Technology serves different purposes in diverse communities and the need to include the community user group at the outset of its development cannot be underestimated. This qualitative study aims at investigating the factors affecting IR adoption among research scientists in Ghana. Three qualitative methods were used, 1) document review, 2) observation, and 3) in-depth interviews with three groups of participants: the heads of institute research libraries (librarians), directors (administrators) of the institutes, and RS who constitute the main users of institute libraries. The multiple methods of data collection were supported by systematic data analysis, allowing themes to emerge which were consistent with how participants view IRs in the scholarship process. The themes that emerged from the data illuminated users’ perceptions and behavioral patterns affecting IR adoption among the research community in Ghana. The research findings generated seven general themes that reflected participants’ perception of IRs. The first four were common to all participant types and were thus classified as major themes: (education and sensitization, collaboration and visibility, uninterrupted electricity supply and incentives). The last three were classified as minor themes, as they were particular to the different participation groups (data security for research scientists, funding for administrators and technology for librarians). Based on the findings, this study lays out recommendations for developing a culturally appropriate IR for one of Ghana’s foremost research organization, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) researchers. Finally, this study recommends further investigation into IRs, which could lead to improved understanding of scholarly communication within the CSIR and also with possible extension to the entire research community in Ghana. In short, this study pieces together themes that lay out a possible roadmap for a culturally appropriate IR system, first for the CSIR scientific community and then for Ghana as a whole.