Disseminating African Scholarship: A Report on the DATAD Workshop

In February the West African port city of Accra, Ghana was the site of an international convocation of scholars, librarians, university administrators, publication specialists, attorneys, and others, who gathered to discuss how best to develop a cooperative system for organizing and achieving wider dissemination of African scholarly documents and “gray literature.” Organized by the Association of African Universities (AAU) in collaboration with the Center for Research Libraries, the two-day workshop focused on “Intellectual Property, Governance, Dissemination, and Funding Strategies” and was designed to consolidate achievements and promote continuing development of the AAU’s Database of African Theses and Dissertations (DATAD) initiative.

The Center is working with the AAU to develop a sustainable plan for DATAD, and guidelines and policies for managing intellectual property in dissertations and theses produced by scholars at African universities. The ultimate goal is to make African research and scholarship available electronically. The workshop provided stakeholders with an opportunity to acknowledge DATAD’s progress to date and a forum to present and discuss important issues affecting the equitable management and sharing of unpublished knowledge. The discussions at the Accra workshop will shape the business model developed for DATAD, and the development of a sustainable economic model and intellectual property management regime for disseminating African theses, dissertations, and other forms of “gray literature.” It also enabled participants to begin building consensus around the structure developed to date, prospective practices and policies, and possible distribution models.

Mapping the Future

The workshop was attended by representatives and presenters from numerous African nations, India, and the U.S. In addition to copyright and intellectual property issues, DATAD and the Center are working to devise a business model that is scalable, distributed, and extensible, and a mission-driven governance system that is flexible, stable, and self-sustaining. Implementation of the DATAD project is made possible by a grant from the Carnegie-Ford-Rockefeller Partnership for Higher Education in Africa and the IDRC.

To learn more about the AAU and DATAD, visit the AAU Web site. Information on workshop presenters and access to presentation materials are available on the Center Web site.

Participating DATAD Institutions:

  • Addis Ababa University ~ Ethiopia
  • Ain Shams University ~ Egypt
  • Council for Social Science Research in Africa ~ Senegal
  • Eduardo Mondlane University ~ Mozambique
  • Kenyatta University ~ Kenya
  • Makerere University ~ Uganda
  • Obafemi Awolowo University ~Nigeria
  • Université Cheikh Anta Diop ~ Senegal
  • Université Yaounde I ~ Cameroon
  • University of Dar es Salaam ~ Tanzania
  • University of Ghana ~ Ghana
  • University of Jos ~ Nigeria
  • University of Zimbabwe ~ Zimbabwe