Research Visibility in the Global South: Towards Increased Online Visibility of Scholarly Research Output in Zambia
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Scholarly research and publication form an integral part of the core functions of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). It is generally standard practice for HEIs to deposit scholarly output into publicly accessible Institutional Repositories (IRs). While Zambia has seen a rise in the number of HEIs, with a total of six Public HEIs and 60 Private HEIs, there is little online visibility of scholarly output generated by these HEIs. A bibliometric analysis, focused on electronic theses and dissertations (ETDs), was conducted by harvesting scholarly publications from HEIs IRs, in order to demonstrate the low online visibility of scholarly research output in Zambia. We also outline technological initiatives, by using case examples from The University of Zambia, that can be employed to potentially increase the online visibility of HEIs scholarly output. Specifically, we illustrate how subject repositories and downstream aggregate services can be utilised to increase the visibility of scholarly output. The study shows that only two HEIs have established IRs, with noticeably low scholarly publications by academic staff. Furthermore, there is a noticeably long delay between the publication date of the ETDs and the ingestion date into the IRs. In addition, while not comprehensive, the proposed initiatives demonstrate technological initiates that could be employed to increase the visibility of scholarly research output.