The status of the Electronic Thesis and Dissertations (ETDs) outputs amongst the institutional repositories in South African universities: Part 1 .

Thembani Malapela, Collence Chisita, Zanele C Hadebe


Electronic Thesis and Dissertations (ETD) have been around for more than a decade now and were initiated as a means of collecting, sharing, disseminating, and archiving research outputs from academic institutions. Even before ETDs, institutions of higher learning have been collecting and archiving this type of scholarly outputs manually. While most thesis remain unpublished, this knowledge produced is almost constant as it is (in most universities) a requirement when research students graduate. In sub-Saharan Africa, it has been established that there is low research output when compared to the rest of the world. Yet, there are many universities in Africa who produce post-graduate students who submit ETDs and these are not visible or most never turn into research papers. As in the rest of this world, African universities have established institutional repositories in academic libraries to help preserve the institution’s intellectual property and to increase the institution’s visibility (global rankings) and prestige. It is uncommon to have either a dedicated ETD collection in an institutional repository or a stand-alone ETD repository. This purpose of this study was to establish the research output and visibility of scholarly research produced by the higher education institutions in South Africa and specifically focus on the ETDs. This study has both qualitative and employs pre-dominantly the desk-study and intensive literature review. The study discovered that all 23 South African universities have ETD collections and three have dedicated ETD repositories. The rate of deposit does not match the graduation levels and the visibility of these ETD require an institutional priority. The paper concludes by proposing an in-depth survey to understand the emerging issues from this present study. This is the first part of the 2 part study, the second part interviews the ETD managers or repository managers to closely verify the issues raised or discovered in the first part.

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