Factors influencing the behaviour of academics towards peer-reviewed electronic journals in Zimbabwean state universities

  • Takawira Machimbidza University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN)
  • Stephen Mutula University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN)
Keywords: Academics, facilitating conditions, peer-reviewed electronic journals, Zimbabwe State Universities, Zimbabwe University Libraries Consortium


This study investigated the factors influencing the behaviour of academics towards peer-reviewed electronic journals at three state universities in Zimbabwe. The study employed both quantitative and qualitative approaches using a survey research design. Quantitative data were collected through structured questionnaires that were administered to a sample of 363 academics. The response rate was 58.4%. Qualitative data were collected through interviews that were held with nine professional librarians. Results show that barriers and other mitigating factors that negatively affect the behaviour of academics towards peer-reviewed electronic journals include inadequate infrastructure to support access to electronic journals, inefficient and slow speed of internet connections, lack of skills to navigate the electronic journals environment, challenges with off-campus access, user-unfriendly library website interfaces, and difficult-to-use electronic journal interfaces. The study concluded that state universities in Zimbabwe have not done enough to address the challenges that affect usage of electronic journals. The study recommends that universities in Zimbabwe work to eliminate all forms of barriers that discourage use of peer-reviewed electronic journals. They can lobby government for tax exemptions when importing equipment for use in electronic journals access. The private sector can also be encouraged to play a part in supporting the building of electronic journals infrastructure. Training of new academic members of staff in the access of electronic journals should be made mandatory, and refresher training instituted for previously trained academics.

Author Biographies

Takawira Machimbidza, University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN)
Postdoctoral scholar in the Information Studies programme, University of KwaZulu-Natal
Stephen Mutula, University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN)
Dean & HoS: Social Sciences / Acting DVC: College of Humanities


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