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Evaluating electronic journal use and access among academic staff at the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Zimbabwe

Thembani Malapela (Library and Information Studies Centre, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa)
Karin de Jager (Library and Information Studies Centre, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa)

Performance Measurement and Metrics

ISSN: 1467-8047

Article publication date: 10 July 2017

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore issues around access and use of subscription electronic journals by African researchers and seeks to bring to the fore the issues academics and researchers face in accessing electronic databases.

Design/methodology/approach

Donor-funded electronic resources have greatly improved access to essential scientific scholarly information by researchers in developing countries. Yet in Sub-Saharan Africa, researchers and libraries still complain about lack of access to scientific information, and libraries are reported to be struggling to maintain up-to-date scientific information resources. An online survey of academics at the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Zimbabwe was carried out.

Findings

Results indicated that academics rely on approaches other than library facilities to locate electronic information. Google was the most common approach used in locating subscription electronic journals. Furthermore, there was a need for increased awareness of subscription and donated resources. Programmes such as Research4Life, journal schemes by Education Information for Libraries and the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications have made an impact on academics’ access to electronic journals. The study established that there was no direct link between access to electronic journals and increased publications.

Originality/value

Work of this kind has not been done in Africa before. The exploration of the complexities inherent in providing access to electronic journals in a developing country presents an opportunity for both librarians and developmental partners to reflect on the challenges as well as the opportunities that exist in current electronic journal access schemes.

Keywords

Citation

Malapela, T. and de Jager, K. (2017), "Evaluating electronic journal use and access among academic staff at the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Zimbabwe", Performance Measurement and Metrics, Vol. 18 No. 2, pp. 110-117. https://doi.org/10.1108/PMM-05-2017-0020

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited