KANSANGA – After years of local digital content production and development effort, The Kampala International University (KIU) has taken a bold step into the field of digital humanities with the launch of its new open-access scholarly books platform.
The institutional respiratory will now give the university a chance to present an integrated discovery and delivery environment for its digital library.
The new platform, launched Friday, February 22, will give members a flexible source to access writing, monographs, and collections as it combines new open-access publications with digital versions of existing print titles that will be freely available to anyone.
Idd Basajjabalaba Memorial Library (IBML), an initiative of KIU, the institutional repository will feature some of the best collections as well as photos, maps, and even yearbooks in both print and digital format.
Unlike other sites, the resource combines new open-access publications with digital versions of existing print titles that will, for the first time, be freely available to and reusable by anyone.
In addition, the library takes a flexible approach to scholarly writing, publishing monographs and edited collections as well as innovative research in longer and shorter formats.
“The digital Library marks a new chapter in open access scholarly publishing,” explained Dr. Mouhamad Mpezamihigo, the Vice Chancellor. “For authors, it offers new opportunities to bring original research directly to readers in a range of publishing formats,” he added.
The Library’s launch comes a month after the Webometrics, a system for the World’s Universities based on the volume of the Web content and visibility and impact of their web publications ranked KIU the best private university in Uganda.
Dr. Mpezamihigo, said that KIU is taking advantage of the latest technologies to remain at the top of things but giving due respect to intellectual property rights of authors and that the new system will increase credibility and visibility of the university.
With the launch of a digital repository system, he said, KIU is making peer-reviewed scholarly research and literature freely available online to anyone interested in reading it.
“Researchers, scientists, economists out there will be able to access our respiratory and all the resources at no cost. Now the key issues here is to ensure that what is in the repository is quality and on this, we are working with the ICT people to ensure that we put security facilities that can also vet the quality of the information being uploaded on the system,” he explained.
Asked how prepared the university is to defend the intellectual property rights of authors as well as to curb plagiarism in their system, the vice chancellor said: “KIU has got the capacity to detect and protect.”
“We shall ensure that the intellectual property rights are respected,” he added.
Intellectual property rights help protect creations of the mind that include inventions, literary or artistic work, images, symbols, among others.
For example, if one creates a product, publish a book, or find a new drug, intellectual property rights ensure that you benefit from your work.
These rights protect your creation or work from unfair use by others.
KIU now joins the few Ugandan Universities to own institutional repository in Uganda after Makerere University, Uganda Martyrs University and Uganda Christian University (UCU) Mukono.
Dr. Prisca Tibenderana, the KIU Chief Librarian, also the brain behind the University digital library said the system is open to contributing scholars and writers at the university, and beyond and to partner organizations and learned societies wishing to publish new or existing works under open-access terms.
“Our system will showcase the breadth and depth of the School’s academic content as well as that of our publishing partners,” said Dr. Tibenderana.
She added; “We are delighted with it because the needs of researchers, librarians and authors will be at the heart of the digital library’s development, and that will continue as we strive to support the academic community through our digital publishing projects.”