NWU LIS celebrates Open Access Week 2019

The LIS took part in the international Open Access Week from 21 – 26 October with the theme “Open for whom? Equity in Open Knowledge”. This is an annual global event which entered its tenth year with the aim of advocating and raising awareness of the benefits of open access. Sessions were held at all three campus libraries, and participants from the other campuses were able to connect remotely via Adobe Connect.

The launch of Open Access Week was at Potchefstroom.  The Chief Director: LIS, Dr Mathew Moyo did the welcoming address, where after Prof Nnenesi Kgabi, Director: Research Support, officially opened the Open Access week at NWU.  She elaborated on the state of Open Access in general and particularly at the NWU, and stressed the need for the development of an NWU Open Access Policy.

Launch of Open Access Week at Potchefstroom.  Prof Jako Olivier, Dr Mathew Moyo, Dr Pierre de Villiers, Ms Valencia Wagner and Prof Andries van Aarde.

Dr Piere de Viliers, Managing Director of AOSIS, paved the way for the speakers with a discussion of the current state of Open Access Scholarly Publishing and mentioned the progress and challenges being experienced.  Prof Andries van Aarde, Commissioning Editor: AOSIS Scholarly Books, is well known by NWU researchers who publish with AOSIS.  He discussed the value, opportunities and the role of peer review of Open Access in the Humanities.  Books are valued and recognized as modes of research dissemination in the Humanities, and generates three times more citations than journal articles.  Citations to books take longer to register, but have a longer active citation life.   In line with the theme of Open Access Week 2019 on the equity of open knowledge, the presentation of Prof Jako Olivier, UNESCO Chair on Multimodal Learning and Open Educational Resources at the NWU, was “Towards equity: the language of open knowledge”.  Prof Jako addressed the nature of language as a barrier for open access, including academic language and the hegemony of English in science.  He left us with some ideas on how to broaden the access to scientific information and research by promoting African languages and engage in the Plain Language Movement.  Mrs Valencia Wagner (SADiLaR) gave a live demonstration of CATMA (Computer Assisted Text Markup Analysis) which is a free open source application / tool used to do research on texts. It can be used by literary scholars and students of literary studies as well as by Linguists and Social scientists.

At Mafikeng Campus, the library had two speakers for the day:  Prof Mpine Makoe from UNISA, who is the Commonwealth of Learning Chair for Open Educational Resources (OER), and Prof Simeon Materechera from the NWU’s Centre for Indigenous Knowledge Systems. This was a platform for students, academic and support staff, and also researchers to engage on aspects related to OER and the benefits and challenges of open access for Indigenous Knowledge. Prof. Materechera advised that when it comes to open access to indigenous knowledge, we need to ensure that the knowledge benefits the indigenous communities. Prof Mpine Makoe pointed out that with the massification of higher education, universities have no choice but to embrace OERs for the benefit of the students. The presentations sparked interesting discussions amongst the audience, especially on issues relating to language, particularly within the academic landscape.

Prof. Materechera addressing the audience at Mafikeng Library

The event at Vanderbijlpark Library took place on 23 October 2019.  There were three expert speakers who shared their knowledge.    Prof Andries van Aarde from AOSIS had a discussion on Open Access in the Humanities, and Prof Verona Leendertz and Dr Clarise Mostert discussed how Open Education Resources (OER) are incorporated within a Business Management Module at NWU.  The event was well attended by researchers, postgraduate students and library colleagues, also from other campuses.

Prof Andries van Aarde (Commissioning Editor: AOSIS Scholarly Books)
Dr Clarise Mostert (NWU Economic and Management Sciences, Vanderbijlkpark)

NWU Open Access Week 2017


The NWU Library & Information Service and LIASA North-West celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Open Access Week.  In line with this year’s theme:  “Open in order to…”, the Libraries aimed to raise awareness and promote Open Access to the academic and research community.

The launch of Open Access Week was on Monday 23 October at Mahikeng Library with Dr Reggie Raju from UCT Libraries and Ms Denise Nicholson from WITS Library attending as guest speakers.  Dr Raju presented on the topic “Open in order to promote social justice”.  His presentation focused on how open access can be used to promote social justice in the African context.  His emphasis was on ensuring that research output from African public universities reach as many people as possible with no access or fee restrictions as part of these universities’ contribution to social justice.

Ms Denise Nicholson presented on the topic “Open access and copyright”.  As part of her presentation, Denise mentioned that currently there are discussions to amend the Copyright Act. The new act will introduce the concept of “fair use” which is meant to allow some level of copying of published documents for academic purposes.  Denise also touched on the predatory publishing which elicited a lot of engagement with the researchers attending the session.

Open Access launch
Hendra Pretorius, LIS Director Client Services welcomes guests at the launch of NWU Open Access Week.

On Wednesday 25 October at the Potchefstroom Library, Kabelo Kakole (Librarian Institutional Repository) gave a presentation on predatory publishing and warned that it can dent your credibility.   He gave advice on how to spot a predatory journal and illustrated the characteristics of good scholarly publishing vs predatory publishing. The extent of predatory publishing in South Africa is alarming.  Researchers need to take note of certain criteria when choosing a journal.  During a follow-up session Zine Sapula (Librarian Research Support) provided a hands-on session on how to create a data management plan for grant proposals.

The final sessions of Open Access Week at Vanderbijlpark Library on Friday 27 October, showed that eResearch is becoming a game changer in the pace and depth of research.  Prof Jaco Hoffman & Prof Vera Roos’s presentation was based on the we-DELIVER project from the Tirelo Bosha programme – this is a public service improvement programme and partnership between the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) and the Belgian Development Agency. The aim of the project is to:

  • involve staff and students across the three sites of the NWU
  • obtain information about older persons’ phone usage
  • determine their needs for services and resources in three pilot communities
  • develop an app and website (ICT) to promote access to information
  • develop a training manual for local government officials
  • involve NGOs and local governments in using ICT.

Prof Johann Tempelhoff presented: “As fluid as water! The South African Water History Archival Repository (SAWHAR)” and highlighted the digitisation of the Water Collection and their experiences on the project, working towards an open access water research platform. Solutions of the 1960s which are valuable in our current situation are often forgotten.  This unique selection has information on water research comprising of more than 30,000 documents.  Once the inventory is complete, the scanning process will commence.  Currently they only scan upon request and keep the soft copies for online storage.

Requests can be made via the website:
http://collections.nwu.ac.za/dbtw-wpd/textbases/sawhar/waterlit.html or through completing a request form and sending it via email to: waterlitcollection@gmail.com.

Open access requires active participation of library and information professionals.  NWU Libraries have taken steps to foster a culture of improved and open access to further advancement of the dynamic and ground-breaking research conducted by our academic staff.

Milestone @ NWU!

We are proud to announce that Boloka (the Open Access Institutional Repository of the NWU) is growing rapidly and this month we have reached a milestone with more than 20 000 items indexed. Thank you to everyone who contributed to Boloka’s success over the years and for making NWU scholarly output visible and searchable to the whole wide world through Open Access.


During the January 2017 “Ranking Web of Repositories”, Boloka was ranked 7th in Africa and 364th in the world.

Maximum exposure increases the impact and enhances the discovery of your research

  • Create an ORCiD, distinguish yourself and your work (NRF prescription)
  • Consider publishing in accredited journals  (Start here)
  • Publish your final accepted version as early as possible – post print (i.e. final draft post refereeing) Send these versions to your Faculty Librarians to be included in Boloka
    (NRF prescription)
  • Retain your self-archiving rights or
  • Check publishers’ policies on copyright and self-archiving
  • Share: Inform colleagues and engage in social networking communities
  • Create an online profile (Google Scholar Citations)  (see: NWU on GSC)
  • Remember to keep your datasets or post to platforms for storage

…early deposits of full text on Boloka enhance early discovery through Google…  


Communities in (Boloka) NWU-IR
Africana Collection [350]
Conference Papers [345]
Theses and Dissertations [8580]
Inaugural Lectures [292]
Research Output [7546]

Open Access Week: 24 – 28 October 2016

The Library Services recently took part in Open Access Week.  For the first time an NWU event was run as part of an international event that gave our students and staff one message over 3 campuses.

The programme has been put together by members from the NWU Library Services, Institutional IT department, eResearch Initiative, Technology Transfer and Innovation Support Office as well as the Research Support Office. International awareness was created that the NWU is engaging in Open Science activities.

Staff members from the Library Services gave on overview of the NWU Institutional Respository – the journey, how the IR contributes to Open Access, a future perspective and trends in self-archiving in Institutions of Higher Learning.  Mathew Buys from ORCID explained the advantages for researchers to have a persistent and unique identifier – ORCID iD and Wimpie de Klerk (IT Services) gave a demonstration of the NWU-ORCID integration.  Staff from the Law Faculty, Potchefstroom Campus shared the success story on their internationally accredited open access journal:  Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal.  Ina Smith from ASSAf did a presentation on how to increase the visibility, usage and impact of research, and Open access to NRF-funded research outputs, and how to deposit workflows for data and publications was highlighted by Lazarus Matizirofa from the NRF.  Benico van der Westhuizen (Engineer) shared on how to educate, empower and enrich yourself with Open Source software.  Raspberry Pi Hackathons were held over two days, these sessions were quite popular.  Link to the full programme as well as some papers: http://library.nwu.ac.za/open-access-week-2016


The presentations were shared over all three campuses via Adobe Connect.

You just have to browse around Google, listen to conversations within the DST, NRF, European Commission, and the rest of the world to realise Open Science is the only way in which academia is going to persist and continue to get access to local and international funding.

Article written by: Louise Vos and Anelda van der Walt