Open access: are we there yet? - the case of Stellenbosch University, South Africa

  • Reggie Raju Stellenbosch University, South Africa
  • Ina Smith Stellenbosch University, South Africa
  • Hilton Gibson Stellenbosch University, South Africa
  • Paulette Talliard Stellenbosch University, South Africa
Keywords: Developing countries, Institutional repositories, Open access, Open access information, Open access journals, Open Journal Systems (OJS)


It is often acknowledged that African and other developing countries have a desperate need for quality scholarly information to advance their research output and to make a contribution to the world of scholarly communication. In terms of Africa, South Africa is the most significant producer of research output in sub-Saharan Africa and has, therefore by default, become a beacon of hope for Africa in the area of research production. This case study focuses on the contribution of Stellenbosch University (SU) to the African research agenda through making its research output available via two different publishing models. The first model is the hosting and preservation of its research output via an institutional repository (the green route to open access). The second model is hosting and publishing open access journals, following one of two streams in the gold route. In this paper, the authors contextualize open access. The two publishing models in support of the Strategic Plan for the Environment of the Vice Rector (Research) are discussed as it applies to SU. The Librarys adoption of the role of publisher is also examined. In the case of SU, Open Journal Systems (OJS) is the software of choice for hosting open access online journals. The paper provides background on OJS, and also discusses the significance of OJS publishing for the University and its researchers. It concludes with the view that despite the perceived success of the Library and Information Service in making available research output in open access format, there are still many challenges that need to be overcome, and that this process is a continuous one and should remain so in order to continuously take advantage of opportunities offered by evolving technology.
Research Articles