African research in open repositories

There are several ways of finding which African organizations have digital repositories. They may be listed in databases such as Opendoar or Roar. Some may be found by simply putting “Dbase (and the name of an institution e.g. Copperbelt University)” into a Google search. and Dbase itself has a huge alphabetical list of organizations which have downloaded their software.

I have looked at some of the African universities from a medical/health point of view. A good proportion of them have health/medicine/nursing as a subset, and these I searched using malaria, pregnancy, treatment as search terms.  Many of the results were in the form of the citation and abstract only, but some institutional repositories included the full text – presumably where they were available.

  • I found one, Ifakara Health Institute in Tanzania, which both included full text and appeared to have a national focus rather than being restricted to an institution.
  • Subjects such as HIV/AIDS can appear under different subject categories (e.g. social and economics).
  • The Copperbelt University has a thesaurus of terms used and these entries were in the economics subset.

It would be great if African colleagues would take the lead in investigating or telling us how best to search either their own or other repositories for health related issues. This could enhance the visibility of African research which might otherwise get ‘lost’.

So this is a plea to those of you with institutional repositories to compile/ share guidelines to searching your repositories to let us know about them so that we can make them available to the global community.

Jean Shaw, Phi



About jgreigshaw

I work with Partnerships in Health Information which promotes partnership between libraries in Africa and the UK with an emphasis in African leadership. I have visited Kenya, Mali, Uganda and Zambia though Phi has contacts in many more African countries.
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