Webometrics recently released the first edition of its repository rankings for 2017, in which it ranked UPSpace as the best in Africa and within the top 100 worldwide. The aim of these rankings is not just to rank repositories, but also to promote open access initiatives and global access to academic knowledge.
Open access refers to the practice of providing unrestricted access to research articles in the digital environment. The open access movement started in the late 1990s as a response to social inequality. Institutions and individuals that cannot afford access to subscription-based journals are excluded from the research they contain, and even wealthy institutions are beginning to struggle to keep up with rising subscription and publication fees.
The University of Pretoria supports free access to research literature for all researchers worldwide and takes responsibility for the dissemination of its own research outputs. This is important because theses and dissertations are not formally published (grey matter) it is even more important that the University itself should provide access to them. There are currently 11 453 theses and dissertations, and 14 679 research articles available on UPSpace. Since 2011, 34 million searches and 46 million downloads have been conducted on the platform.
Institutional repositories such as UPSpace provide a wealth of research that is freely available for the public to access. The UPSpace team therefore see their ranking as a win not only for the institution, but also for the open access movement.
For further information, please contact Leti Kleyn ([email protected]) or Tlou Mathiba ([email protected]).