The challenges of advocating for open access through institutional repository building: Experiences from Makerere University, Uganda
This paper was perceived as a result of the slow response in populating an institutional repository at Makerere University, launched in 2006 under the umbrella name “Uganda Scholarly Digital Library (USDL)”. Having heard of the adage that goes “build it and they will come”, the calamities of being disappointed by waiting to see the repository growing at the researchers will were avoided. In response to this, awareness campaigns were launched, efforts to sensitise and collect content at unit and individual level were undertaken, and publicity done alongside the regular information literacy sessions conducted by Makerere University Library. To-date, the publications archived in USDL are less than 1,000 items. Given that USDL was initiated to ease accessibility to publications that were difficult to come by, open access was advocated for. However, there are challenges experienced so far and these include the status of institutional copyright policies, absence of tools to enforce or implement mandatory archiving, and the submission of electronic theses and dissertations, varying publisher copyright policies; difficulties in obtaining author versions of publications, doubts about the quality of open access research, plagiarism fears, and technical limitations.