Adoption of institutional repositories for electronic theses and dissertations projects in Zimbabwe’s public academic libraries

Mass Masona Tapfuma, Ruth Geraldine Hoskins


Theses and dissertations (TDs) are an invaluable scholarly literature output of universities’ graduates contributing to the fulfilment of universities’ mandates to impact national development through research. Public universities in Zimbabwe have adopted Open access institutional repositories (IR) to run electronic theses and dissertations (ETD) programs. This study sought to determine the development levels of the ETD collections, establish the software platforms being used and, find out challenges being faced in developing ETD collections in the repositories. The Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology was adopted while a mixed methods approach was employed. From eight universities, data were collected from Library Directors, assistant/IR librarians, IRs, policy documents and OpenDoar through questionnaires, interviews and bibliometric analysis. Qualitative data was analysed thematically while SPSS was adopted to analyse quantitative data. Findings showed slow development of the ETD collections while DSpace is the software of choice across the universities. Faculty cooperation in depositing electronic theses and dissertations is negligent, thus affecting progress of the initiative. Mandating deposit of electronic copies of theses and dissertations would propagate population of the repositories and increase visibility of the research.


Electronic theses and dissertations; Institutional Repositories; Digital Repositories; Zimbabwe

Full Text:



Abrahams, L, Burke, M and Mouton, J (2010) Research productivity-visibility-accessibility and scholarly communication in Southern African universities. The African Journal of Information and Communication (10):20–36. Available at: 21 February 2015.

Abrahams, L, Burk, M, Gray, E and Rens, A (2008) Opening access to knowledge in Southern African universities. SARUA Study Series. Available at: 16 October 2014.

Adams, J, King, C and Hooks, D (2010) Global research report: Africa. Available at: 11 February 2015.

Association of African Universities (AAU) (2019) Database of African Theses and dissertations – Research (DATAD-R). Available at:

Bankier, JG and Perciali, I (2008) The Institutional Repository Rediscovered: What Can a University Do for Open Access Publishing? Serials Review, 34(1):21-26. Available at: Accessed 17 August 2016.

Chudnov, D (2001) DSpace: Durable Digital Documents. Serials 14(3):284-285. Available at: Accessed 22 September 2019.

Fox, EA (2001) Overview of a guide for electronic theses and dissertations. Alliance for Innovation in Scientific and Technology Information (AISTI), AISTI’s DSpace repository. Available at: Accessed 12 September 2019.

Fox, EA, MacMillan, G and Srinivasan, V (2012) Electronic theses and dissertations, progress, issues and prospects, In Luke, TW and Hunsinger, J (eds), Putting knowledge to work and letting information play. Blacksburg: Virginia Tech, pp. 95-110.

Harnad, S (2011) Open access to research. JeDEM 3(1):33-41. Available at: Accessed 25 March 2014.

Israel, GD (1992) Determining sample size. University of Florida fact sheet no. PEOD-6. Available at: 16 September 2015.

Kotecha P, Walwyn, D and Pinto, C (2011) Deepening research capacity and collaboration across universities in SADC: A Southern African regional universities research and development fund. Johannesburg: SARUA. Available at: Accessed 15 March 2014.

Lynch, C (2017) Updating the Agenda for Academic Libraries and Scholarly Communications. College and Research Libraries, 78(2):126-130. Available at: https:// Accessed 17 September 2019.

McCutcheon, S (2011) Basic, fuller, fullest: Treatment options for electronic theses and dissertations. Library Collections, Acquisitions and Technical Services 35(2-3):64-68. Available at: Accessed 18 September 2019.

Moxley, JM (2001), Universities should require electronic theses and dissertations. Educause Quarterly 3:61-3. Available at: Accessed 18 September 2019.

Nordling, L (2018) What is Africa’s real share of global science? Available at:

OpenDoar. n.d. About OpenDoar. Available at: Accessed 20 September 2019.

Oye, ND, A. Iahad, N and Ab Rahim, N (2012) Behavioural intention to accept and use ICT in public university: Integrating quantitative and qualitative data. Journal of Emerging Trends in Computing and Information Science 3(6). 28 February 2014.

Perrin, JM, Winkler, HM and Yang, L (2015) Digital preservation challenges with an ETD collection – A case study at Texas Tech University. Journal of Academic librarianship 42: 98-104. Available at:

Ramirez, ML, Dalton, JT, McMillan, G, et al. (2013). Do Open Access Electronic Theses and Dissertations Diminish Publishing Opportunities in the Social Sciences and Humanities? Findings from a 2011 Survey of Academic Publishers. College & Research Libraries, 74 (4): 368-380. Available at:

Ravikumar, MN and Ramanan T (2014) Comparison of Greenstone digital library and DSpace: experiences from digital library initiatives at Eastern University, Sri Lanka Journal of the University Librarians Association of Sri Lanka 18(2):76-90.

Schopfel, J and Rasuli, B. 2018. Are electronic theses and dissertations (still) grey literature in the digital age? A FAIR debate. The Electronic Library, 36 (2): 208-219 DOI 10.1108/EL-02-2017-0039.

Schöpfel, J (2010) Towards a Prague definition of grey literature, paper presented at the 12th International Conference on Grey Literature (GL12), 6-7 December, Prague.

Suleman, H and Fox, EA (2003) Leveraging OAI harvesting to disseminate theses. Library Hi Tech, 21(2):119-227. Available at: Emerald full text database.

Trotter, H, Kell, C, Willmers, M et al. (2014) Seeking impact and visibility: Scholarly Communication in Southern Africa. Cape Town: African Minds 357, Available at: 20 February 2015.

UNESCO (2001) The Guide for Electronic Theses and Dissertations, Available at:

Venkatesh, V, Morris, MG, Davis, GB et al. (2003) User acceptance of information technology: Toward a unified view. MIS Quarterly 27(3):425-478. 01 March 2014.

World Bank and Elsevier (2014) A decade of development in Sub-Saharan African science, technology, engineering & mathematics research. Available at: 17 February 2015.

Yiotis, K (2008) Electronic theses and dissertations (ETD) repositories. What are they? Where do they come from? How do they work? International digital library Perspectives 24 (2):101-115



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2021 Mass Masona Tapfuma, Ruth Geraldine Hoskins

ISSN 2304-8263 (online); ISSN 0256-8861 (print)
Powered by OJS and hosted by Stellenbosch University Library and Information Service since 2012.


This journal is hosted by the SU LIS on request of the journal owner/editor. The SU LIS takes no responsibility for the content published within this journal, and disclaim all liability arising out of the use of or inability to use the information contained herein. We assume no responsibility, and shall not be liable for any breaches of agreement with other publishers/hosts.

SUNJournals Help

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.