Date of this Version
Martin-Yeboah, E., Alemna, A.A., & Adjei, E. (2018). Marketing Open Access Institutional Repositories in Ghana: context and prospects. Library Philosophy and Practice (e-journal).
Efforts by African researchers to contribute to global share of intellectual productivity hardly yield the needed impact due to the limited avenues of scholarly communication. The emergence of institutional repositories has presented an alternative platform for the sharing of research data and other institutional documents of interest. However, most of these institutional repositories are often not sustainable, and in interrogating the causes of this high attrition rate, critical issues such as marketing and promotion of repositories are seldom considered. The study, using the comparative case study approach to interview thirty-seven respondents, seeks to analyse how institutional repositories in two private and two public universities are marketed and promoted to showcase and share the scholarly output. In doing this, it examines the repositories, the actors in the marketing and promotion, strategies for marketing the repositories as well as the challenges that hinder the smooth publicity of the repository. Results reveal that publicity of the repository is mainly limited to the immediate campus environment, and is done mainly through the word of mouth, use of fliers and notices as well as the use of the university websites and radio announcements. The outfit of the library spearheads the publicity of the repositories in all the institutions under study, with support from the public relations outfits. Key issues which confront the smooth marketing and promotion of the repositories include lack of policy frameworks, competing attention from other aspects of the repositories’ operations such as software and engineering protocols and difficulty in getting the buy-in of key university actors. These are in addition to indirect issues such as low rate of repository content population, and the issue of copyright laws which prevent the addition of materials to the collections. The study thus recommends for a comprehensive policy to guide marketing and promotion and any other significant issues. There is also the need to assemble a dedicated team to carry out the marketing and promotion of the repository to accommodate the diversities in academic institutions. Above all, it is instructive to blend traditional and contemporary platforms to reach out as many potential users as possible with the repository.